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Plugin signature verification

Plugin signature verification (signing) is a security measure to make sure plugins haven’t been tampered with. Upon loading, Grafana checks to see if a plugin is signed or unsigned when inspecting and verifying its digital signature.

How it works

For Grafana to verify the digital signature of a plugin, the plugin must include a signed manifest file, MANIFEST.txt. The signed manifest file contains two sections:

  • Signed message - The signed message contains plugin metadata and plugin files with their respective checksums (SHA256).
  • Digital signature - The digital signature is created by encrypting the signed message using a private key. Grafana has a public key built-in that can be used to verify that the digital signature have been encrypted using expected private key.

Signed manifest example file

Hash: SHA512

  "plugin": "grafana-test-plugin",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "files": {
    "LICENSE": "cfc7749b96f63bd31c3c42b5c471bf756814053e847c10f3eb003417bc523d30",
    "": "5bfefcdce6eafce3388d1fb200f3b10954cfeac6c7a45fd7dec42687e01ac75d",
    "module.js": "3c07596a6a4796c65ef10ba2bc0805e7f3bc9e4e8fc9970a1307b97e29db1c0a",
    "module.js.LICENSE.txt": "fdbc28c10f3d21976b4bc16464ad7c630538c0c3101347b5fd44af9066f7022b",
    "": "c3ac1e8aa98d83c54fd13e43b65e1cf4182a924d2eb23a2f1a6fe40b7785a1bb",
    "plugin.json": "cf26a3afb7c10cd9ae40b5296d04172b5dac927d69a51082e6d085b34341ccc3"
  "time": 1589558058070,
  "keyId": "7e4d0c6a708866e7"
Version: OpenPGP.js v4.10.1


Plugin signatures

When Grafana starts, it discovers plugins to load. For each discovered plugin it verifies the authenticity of it, and then decides whether to load it or not based on the state of the plugin signature:

Plugin signatureDescription
internalCore plugin built into Grafana.
invalidDigital signature of MANIFEST.txt file is not valid.
modifiedManifest plugin id or version have been changed or files checksums doesn’t match.
unsignedPlugin don’t have a MANIFEST.txt file.
validIf any of the above descriptions is false.

The plugin signature state can be inspected for each plugin in the plugins listing page (Configuration -> Plugins).

Backend plugins

If a backend plugin is not signed, then Grafana will not load or start it. If you try to load a backend plugin with an invalid signature, then Grafana writes an error message to the server log:

EROR[06-01|16:45:59] Failed to load plugin   error=plugin <plugin id> is unsigned

Note: All Grafana Labs authored backend plugins, including Enterprise plugins, are signed.

Allow unsigned plugins

While you can allow unsigned plugins using a configuration setting, we strongly advise you not to. For more information on how to allow unsigned backend plugin, refer to Configuration. Allowing unsigned plugins will not skip verifying the authenticity of a plugin if plugin has a MANIFEST.txt file.

If you run an unsigned backend plugin, then Grafana writes a warning message to the server log:

WARN[06-01|16:45:59] Running an unsigned backend plugin   pluginID=<plugin id>

If you’re developing plugins and run Grafana from source, the development mode is enabled by default and also allow you to run unsigned backend plugins.