Security Namespace Configuration

3.1 Introduction

Namespace configuration has been available since version 2.0 of the Spring framework. It allows you to supplement the traditional Spring beans application context syntax with elements from additional XML schema. You can find more information in the Spring Reference Documentation. A namespace element can be used simply to allow a more concise way of configuring an individual bean or, more powerfully, to define an alternative configuration syntax which more closely matches the problem domain and hides the underlying complexity from the user. A simple element may conceal the fact that multiple beans and processing steps are being added to the application context. For example, adding the following element from the security namespace to an application context will start up an embedded LDAP server for testing use within the application:

  <security:ldap-server />

This is much simpler than wiring up the equivalent Apache Directory Server beans. The most common alternative configuration requirements are supported by attributes on the ldap-server element and the user is isolated from worrying about which beans they need to create and what the bean property names are. [1]. Use of a good XML editor while editing the application context file should provide information on the attributes and elements that are available. We would recommend that you try out the SpringSource Tool Suite as it has special features for working with standard Spring namespaces.

To start using the security namespace in your application context, you need to have the spring-security-config jar on your classpath. Then all you need to do is add the schema declaration to your application context file:

  
<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
  xmlns:security="http://www.springframework.org/schema/security"
  xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
  xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans
          http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans-3.0.xsd
          http://www.springframework.org/schema/security
          http://www.springframework.org/schema/security/spring-security-3.1.xsd">
    ...
</beans>
  

In many of the examples you will see (and in the sample) applications, we will often use "security" as the default namespace rather than "beans", which means we can omit the prefix on all the security namespace elements, making the content easier to read. You may also want to do this if you have your application context divided up into separate files and have most of your security configuration in one of them. Your security application context file would then start like this

<beans:beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/security"
  xmlns:beans="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
  xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
  xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans
           http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans-3.0.xsd
           http://www.springframework.org/schema/security
           http://www.springframework.org/schema/security/spring-security-3.1.xsd">
    ...
</beans:beans>

We'll assume this syntax is being used from now on in this chapter.

3.1.1 Design of the Namespace

The namespace is designed to capture the most common uses of the framework and provide a simplified and concise syntax for enabling them within an application. The design is based around the large-scale dependencies within the framework, and can be divided up into the following areas:

  • Web/HTTP Security - the most complex part. Sets up the filters and related service beans used to apply the framework authentication mechanisms, to secure URLs, render login and error pages and much more.

  • Business Object (Method) Security - options for securing the service layer.

  • AuthenticationManager - handles authentication requests from other parts of the framework.

  • AccessDecisionManager - provides access decisions for web and method security. A default one will be registered, but you can also choose to use a custom one, declared using normal Spring bean syntax.

  • AuthenticationProviders - mechanisms against which the authentication manager authenticates users. The namespace provides supports for several standard options and also a means of adding custom beans declared using a traditional syntax.

  • UserDetailsService - closely related to authentication providers, but often also required by other beans.

We'll see how to configure these in the following sections.

3.2 Getting Started with Security Namespace Configuration

In this section, we'll look at how you can build up a namespace configuration to use some of the main features of the framework. Let's assume you initially want to get up and running as quickly as possible and add authentication support and access control to an existing web application, with a few test logins. Then we'll look at how to change over to authenticating against a database or other security repository. In later sections we'll introduce more advanced namespace configuration options.

3.2.1 web.xml Configuration

The first thing you need to do is add the following filter declaration to your web.xml file:

<filter>
  <filter-name>springSecurityFilterChain</filter-name>
  <filter-class>org.springframework.web.filter.DelegatingFilterProxy</filter-class>
</filter>

<filter-mapping>
  <filter-name>springSecurityFilterChain</filter-name>
  <url-pattern>/*</url-pattern>
</filter-mapping>
      

This provides a hook into the Spring Security web infrastructure. DelegatingFilterProxy is a Spring Framework class which delegates to a filter implementation which is defined as a Spring bean in your application context. In this case, the bean is named springSecurityFilterChain, which is an internal infrastructure bean created by the namespace to handle web security. Note that you should not use this bean name yourself. Once you've added this to your web.xml, you're ready to start editing your application context file. Web security services are configured using the <http> element.

3.2.2 A Minimal <http> Configuration

All you need to enable web security to begin with is

  <http auto-config='true'>
    <intercept-url pattern="/**" access="ROLE_USER" />
  </http>
  

Which says that we want all URLs within our application to be secured, requiring the role ROLE_USER to access them. The <http> element is the parent for all web-related namespace functionality. The <intercept-url> element defines a pattern which is matched against the URLs of incoming requests using an ant path style syntax[2]. You can also use regular-expression matching as an alternative (see the namespace appendix for more details). The access attribute defines the access requirements for requests matching the given pattern. With the default configuration, this is typically a comma-separated list of roles, one of which a user must have to be allowed to make the request. The prefix ROLE_ is a marker which indicates that a simple comparison with the user's authorities should be made. In other words, a normal role-based check should be used. Access-control in Spring Security is not limited to the use of simple roles (hence the use of the prefix to differentiate between different types of security attributes). We'll see later how the interpretation can vary[3].

[Note]Note

You can use multiple <intercept-url> elements to define different access requirements for different sets of URLs, but they will be evaluated in the order listed and the first match will be used. So you must put the most specific matches at the top. You can also add a method attribute to limit the match to a particular HTTP method (GET, POST, PUT etc.). If a request matches multiple patterns, the method-specific match will take precedence regardless of ordering.

To add some users, you can define a set of test data directly in the namespace:

  <authentication-manager>
    <authentication-provider>
      <user-service>
        <user name="jimi" password="jimispassword" authorities="ROLE_USER, ROLE_ADMIN" />
        <user name="bob" password="bobspassword" authorities="ROLE_USER" />
      </user-service>
    </authentication-provider>
  </authentication-manager>
  
        

The configuration above defines two users, their passwords and their roles within the application (which will be used for access control). It is also possible to load user information from a standard properties file using the properties attribute on user-service. See the section on in-memory authentication for more details on the file format. Using the <authentication-provider> element means that the user information will be used by the authentication manager to process authentication requests. You can have multiple <authentication-provider> elements to define different authentication sources and each will be consulted in turn.

At this point you should be able to start up your application and you will be required to log in to proceed. Try it out, or try experimenting with the tutorial sample application that comes with the project. The above configuration actually adds quite a few services to the application because we have used the auto-config attribute. For example, form-based login processing is automatically enabled.

What does auto-config Include?

The auto-config attribute, as we have used it above, is just a shorthand syntax for:

  <http>
    <form-login />
    <http-basic />
    <logout />
  </http>
  

These other elements are responsible for setting up form-login, basic authentication and logout handling services respectively [4]. They each have attributes which can be used to alter their behaviour. In anything other than very basic scenarios, it is probably better to omit the auto-config attribute and configure what you require explicitly in the interest of clarity.

3.2.3 Form and Basic Login Options

You might be wondering where the login form came from when you were prompted to log in, since we made no mention of any HTML files or JSPs. In fact, since we didn't explicitly set a URL for the login page, Spring Security generates one automatically, based on the features that are enabled and using standard values for the URL which processes the submitted login, the default target URL the user will be sent to after loggin in and so on. However, the namespace offers plenty of support to allow you to customize these options. For example, if you want to supply your own login page, you could use:

  <http auto-config='true'>
    <intercept-url pattern="/login.jsp*" access="IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY"/>
    <intercept-url pattern="/**" access="ROLE_USER" />
    <form-login login-page='/login.jsp'/>
  </http>
  
    

Note that you can still use auto-config. The form-login element just overrides the default settings. Also note that we've added an extra intercept-url element to say that any requests for the login page should be available to anonymous users [5]. Otherwise the request would be matched by the pattern /** and it wouldn't be possible to access the login page itself! This is a common configuration error and will result in an infinite loop in the application. Spring Security will emit a warning in the log if your login page appears to be secured. It is also possible to have all requests matching a particular pattern bypass the security filter chain completely, by defining a separate http element for the pattern like this:

  <http pattern="/css/**" security="none"/>
  <http pattern="/login.jsp*" security="none"/>

  <http auto-config='true'>
    <intercept-url pattern="/**" access="ROLE_USER" />
    <form-login login-page='/login.jsp'/>
  </http>
  
                

From Spring Security 3.1 it is now possible to use multiple http elements to define separate security filter chain configurations for different request patterns. If the pattern attribute is omitted from an http element, it matches all requests. Creating an unsecured pattern is a simple example of this syntax, where the pattern is mapped to an empty filter chain [6]. We'll look at this new syntax in more detail in the chapter on the Security Filter Chain.

It's important to realise that these unsecured requests will be completely oblivious to any Spring Security web-related configuration or additional attributes such as requires-channel, so you will not be able to access information on the current user or call secured methods during the request. Use access='IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY' as an alternative if you still want the security filter chain to be applied.

If you want to use basic authentication instead of form login, then change the configuration to

  <http auto-config='true'>
    <intercept-url pattern="/**" access="ROLE_USER" />
    <http-basic />
  </http>
  
    

Basic authentication will then take precedence and will be used to prompt for a login when a user attempts to access a protected resource. Form login is still available in this configuration if you wish to use it, for example through a login form embedded in another web page.

Setting a Default Post-Login Destination

If a form login isn't prompted by an attempt to access a protected resource, the default-target-url option comes into play. This is the URL the user will be taken to after successfully logging in, and defaults to "/". You can also configure things so that the user always ends up at this page (regardless of whether the login was "on-demand" or they explicitly chose to log in) by setting the always-use-default-target attribute to "true". This is useful if your application always requires that the user starts at a "home" page, for example:

  <http pattern="/login.htm*" security="none"/>
  <http>
    <intercept-url pattern='/**' access='ROLE_USER' />
    <form-login login-page='/login.htm' default-target-url='/home.htm'
            always-use-default-target='true' />
  </http>
           

For even more control over the destination, you can use the authentication-success-handler-ref attribute as an alternative to default-target-url. The referenced bean should be an instance of AuthenticationSuccessHandler. You'll find more on this in the Core Filters chapter and also in the namespace appendix, as well as information on how to customize the flow when authentication fails.

3.2.4 Logout Handling

The logout element adds support for logging out by navigating to a particular URL. The default logout URL is /j_spring_security_logout, but you can set it to something else using the logout-url attribute. More information on other available attributes may be found in the namespace appendix.

3.2.5 Using other Authentication Providers

In practice you will need a more scalable source of user information than a few names added to the application context file. Most likely you will want to store your user information in something like a database or an LDAP server. LDAP namespace configuration is dealt with in the LDAP chapter, so we won't cover it here. If you have a custom implementation of Spring Security's UserDetailsService, called "myUserDetailsService" in your application context, then you can authenticate against this using

  <authentication-manager>
    <authentication-provider user-service-ref='myUserDetailsService'/>
  </authentication-manager>
  
        

If you want to use a database, then you can use

  <authentication-manager>
    <authentication-provider>
      <jdbc-user-service data-source-ref="securityDataSource"/>
    </authentication-provider>
  </authentication-manager>
  
        

Where securityDataSource is the name of a DataSource bean in the application context, pointing at a database containing the standard Spring Security user data tables. Alternatively, you could configure a Spring Security JdbcDaoImpl bean and point at that using the user-service-ref attribute:

  <authentication-manager>
    <authentication-provider user-service-ref='myUserDetailsService'/>
  </authentication-manager>

  <beans:bean id="myUserDetailsService"
      class="org.springframework.security.core.userdetails.jdbc.JdbcDaoImpl">
    <beans:property name="dataSource" ref="dataSource"/>
  </beans:bean>
  
        

You can also use standard AuthenticationProvider beans as follows

  <authentication-manager>
    <authentication-provider ref='myAuthenticationProvider'/>
  </authentication-manager>
  
        

where myAuthenticationProvider is the name of a bean in your application context which implements AuthenticationProvider. You can use multiple authentication-provider elements, in which case the providers will be queried in the order they are declared. See Section 3.6, “The Authentication Manager and the Namespace” for more on information on how the Spring Security AuthenticationManager is configured using the namespace.

Adding a Password Encoder

Often your password data will be encoded using a hashing algorithm. This is supported by the <password-encoder> element. With SHA encoded passwords, the original authentication provider configuration would look like this:

<authentication-manager>
  <authentication-provider>
    <password-encoder hash="sha"/>
    <user-service>
      <user name="jimi" password="d7e6351eaa13189a5a3641bab846c8e8c69ba39f"
            authorities="ROLE_USER, ROLE_ADMIN" />
      <user name="bob" password="4e7421b1b8765d8f9406d87e7cc6aa784c4ab97f"
            authorities="ROLE_USER" />
    </user-service>
  </authentication-provider>
</authentication-manager>
  
          

When using hashed passwords, it's also a good idea to use a salt value to protect against dictionary attacks and Spring Security supports this too. Ideally you would want to use a randomly generated salt value for each user, but you can use any property of the UserDetails object which is loaded by your UserDetailsService. For example, to use the username property, you would use

  <password-encoder hash="sha">
    <salt-source user-property="username"/>
  </password-encoder>
    

You can use a custom password encoder bean by using the ref attribute of password-encoder. This should contain the name of a bean in the application context which is an instance of Spring Security's PasswordEncoder interface.

3.3 Advanced Web Features

3.3.1 Remember-Me Authentication

See the separate Remember-Me chapter for information on remember-me namespace configuration.

3.3.2 Adding HTTP/HTTPS Channel Security

If your application supports both HTTP and HTTPS, and you require that particular URLs can only be accessed over HTTPS, then this is directly supported using the requires-channel attribute on <intercept-url>:

  <http>
    <intercept-url pattern="/secure/**" access="ROLE_USER" requires-channel="https"/>
    <intercept-url pattern="/**" access="ROLE_USER" requires-channel="any"/>
    ...
  </http>
        

With this configuration in place, if a user attempts to access anything matching the "/secure/**" pattern using HTTP, they will first be redirected to an HTTPS URL [7]. The available options are "http", "https" or "any". Using the value "any" means that either HTTP or HTTPS can be used.

If your application uses non-standard ports for HTTP and/or HTTPS, you can specify a list of port mappings as follows:

  <http>
    ...
    <port-mappings>
      <port-mapping http="9080" https="9443"/>
    </port-mappings>
  </http>
                

Note that in order to be truly secure, an application should not use HTTP at all or switch between HTTP and HTTPS. It should start in HTTPS (with the user entering an HTTPS URL) and use a secure connection throughout to avoid any possibility of man-in-the-middle attacks.

3.3.3 Session Management

Detecting Timeouts

You can configure Spring Security to detect the submission of an invalid session ID and redirect the user to an appropriate URL. This is achieved through the session-management element:

  <http>
    ...
    <session-management invalid-session-url="/invalidSession.htm" />
    </http>

Note that if you use this mechanism to detect session timeouts, it may falsely report an error if the user logs out and then logs back in without closing the browser. This is because the session cookie is not cleared when you invalidate the session and will be resubmitted even if the user has logged out. You may be able to explicitly delete the JSESSIONID cookie on logging out, for example by using the following syntax in the logout handler:

  <http>
    <logout delete-cookies="JSESSIONID" />
  </http>
  

Unfortunately this can't be guaranteed to work with every servlet container, so you will need to test it in your environment[8].

Concurrent Session Control

If you wish to place constraints on a single user's ability to log in to your application, Spring Security supports this out of the box with the following simple additions. First you need to add the following listener to your web.xml file to keep Spring Security updated about session lifecycle events:

  <listener>
    <listener-class>
      org.springframework.security.web.session.HttpSessionEventPublisher
    </listener-class>
  </listener>

Then add the following lines to your application context:

  <http>
    ...
    <session-management>
        <concurrency-control max-sessions="1" />
    </session-management>
  </http>
        

This will prevent a user from logging in multiple times - a second login will cause the first to be invalidated. Often you would prefer to prevent a second login, in which case you can use

  <http>
    ...
    <session-management>
        <concurrency-control max-sessions="1" error-if-maximum-exceeded="true" />
    </session-management>
  </http>
        

The second login will then be rejected. By rejected, we mean that the user will be sent to the authentication-failure-url if form-based login is being used. If the second authentication takes place through another non-interactive mechanism, such as remember-me, an unauthorized (402) error will be sent to the client. If instead you want to use an error page, you can add the attribute session-authentication-error-url to the session-management element.

If you are using a customized authentication filter for form-based login, then you have to configure concurrent session control support explicitly. More details can be found in the Session Management chapter.

Session Fixation Attack Protection

Session fixation attacks are a potential risk where it is possible for a malicious attacker to create a session by accessing a site, then persuade another user to log in with the same session (by sending them a link containing the session identifier as a parameter, for example). Spring Security protects against this automatically by creating a new session when a user logs in. If you don't require this protection, or it conflicts with some other requirement, you can control the behaviour using the session-fixation-protection attribute on <session-management>, which has three options

  • migrateSession - creates a new session and copies the existing session attributes to the new session. This is the default.

  • none - Don't do anything. The original session will be retained.

  • newSession - Create a new "clean" session, without copying the existing session data.

See the Session Management chapter for additional information.

3.3.4 OpenID Support

The namespace supports OpenID login either instead of, or in addition to normal form-based login, with a simple change:

  <http>
    <intercept-url pattern="/**" access="ROLE_USER" />
    <openid-login />
  </http>

You should then register yourself with an OpenID provider (such as myopenid.com), and add the user information to your in-memory <user-service> :

  <user name="http://jimi.hendrix.myopenid.com/" authorities="ROLE_USER" />

You should be able to login using the myopenid.com site to authenticate. It is also possible to select a specific UserDetailsService bean for use OpenID by setting the user-service-ref attribute on the openid-login element. See the previous section on authentication providers for more information. Note that we have omitted the password attribute from the above user configuration, since this set of user data is only being used to load the authorities for the user. A random password will be generate internally, preventing you from accidentally using this user data as an authentication source elsewhere in your configuration.

Attribute Exchange

Support for OpenID attribute exchange. As an example, the following configuration would attempt to retrieve the email and full name from the OpenID provider, for use by the application:

 <openid-login>
  <attribute-exchange>
    <openid-attribute name="email" type="http://axschema.org/contact/email" required="true"/>
    <openid-attribute name="name" type="http://axschema.org/namePerson"/>
  </attribute-exchange>
 </openid-login>

The type of each OpenID attribute is a URI, determined by a particular schema, in this case http://axschema.org/. If an attribute must be retrieved for successful authentication, the required attribute can be set. The exact schema and attributes supported will depend on your OpenID provider. The attribute values are returned as part of the authentication process and can be accessed afterwards using the following code:

OpenIDAuthenticationToken token =
    (OpenIDAuthenticationToken)SecurityContextHolder.getContext().getAuthentication();
List<OpenIDAttribute> attributes = token.getAttributes();

The OpenIDAttribute contains the attribute type and the retrieved value (or values in the case of multi-valued attributes). We'll see more about how the SecurityContextHolder class is used when we look at core Spring Security components in the technical overview chapter. Multiple attribute exchange configurations are also be supported, if you wish to use multiple identity providers. You can supply multiple attribute-exchange elements, using an identifier-matcher attribute on each. This contains a regular expression which will be matched against the OpenID identifier supplied by the user. See the OpenID sample application in the codebase for an example configuration, providing different attribute lists for the Google, Yahoo and MyOpenID providers.

3.3.5 Adding in Your Own Filters

If you've used Spring Security before, you'll know that the framework maintains a chain of filters in order to apply its services. You may want to add your own filters to the stack at particular locations or use a Spring Security filter for which there isn't currently a namespace configuration option (CAS, for example). Or you might want to use a customized version of a standard namespace filter, such as the UsernamePasswordAuthenticationFilter which is created by the <form-login> element, taking advantage of some of the extra configuration options which are available by using the bean explicitly. How can you do this with namespace configuration, since the filter chain is not directly exposed?

The order of the filters is always strictly enforced when using the namespace. When the application context is being created, the filter beans are sorted by the namespace handling code and the standard Spring Security filters each have an alias in the namespace and a well-known position.

[Note]Note

In previous versions, the sorting took place after the filter instances had been created, during post-processing of the application context. In version 3.0+ the sorting is now done at the bean metadata level, before the classes have been instantiated. This has implications for how you add your own filters to the stack as the entire filter list must be known during the parsing of the <http> element, so the syntax has changed slightly in 3.0.

The filters, aliases and namespace elements/attributes which create the filters are shown in Table 3.1, “Standard Filter Aliases and Ordering”. The filters are listed in the order in which they occur in the filter chain.

Table 3.1. Standard Filter Aliases and Ordering

AliasFilter ClassNamespace Element or Attribute
CHANNEL_FILTERChannelProcessingFilter[email protected]
CONCURRENT_SESSION_FILTERConcurrentSessionFilter session-management/concurrency-control
SECURITY_CONTEXT_FILTERSecurityContextPersistenceFilterhttp
LOGOUT_FILTER LogoutFilterhttp/logout
X509_FILTER X509AuthenticationFilterhttp/x509
PRE_AUTH_FILTER AstractPreAuthenticatedProcessingFilter SubclassesN/A
CAS_FILTER CasAuthenticationFilterN/A
FORM_LOGIN_FILTER UsernamePasswordAuthenticationFilterhttp/form-login
BASIC_AUTH_FILTER BasicAuthenticationFilterhttp/http-basic
SERVLET_API_SUPPORT_FILTERSecurityContextHolderAwareRequestFilter[email protected]
JAAS_API_SUPPORT_FILTERJaasApiIntegrationFilter[email protected]
REMEMBER_ME_FILTER RememberMeAuthenticationFilterhttp/remember-me
ANONYMOUS_FILTER AnonymousAuthenticationFilterhttp/anonymous
SESSION_MANAGEMENT_FILTERSessionManagementFiltersession-management
EXCEPTION_TRANSLATION_FILTER ExceptionTranslationFilterhttp
FILTER_SECURITY_INTERCEPTOR FilterSecurityInterceptorhttp
SWITCH_USER_FILTER SwitchUserFilterN/A


You can add your own filter to the stack, using the custom-filter element and one of these names to specify the position your filter should appear at:

  <http>
     <custom-filter position="FORM_LOGIN_FILTER" ref="myFilter" />
  </http>

  <beans:bean id="myFilter" class="com.mycompany.MySpecialAuthenticationFilter"/>
  
  

You can also use the after or before attributes if you want your filter to be inserted before or after another filter in the stack. The names "FIRST" and "LAST" can be used with the position attribute to indicate that you want your filter to appear before or after the entire stack, respectively.

[Tip]Avoiding filter position conflicts

If you are inserting a custom filter which may occupy the same position as one of the standard filters created by the namespace then it's important that you don't include the namespace versions by mistake. Avoid using the auto-config attribute and remove any elements which create filters whose functionality you want to replace.

Note that you can't replace filters which are created by the use of the <http> element itself - SecurityContextPersistenceFilter, ExceptionTranslationFilter or FilterSecurityInterceptor. Some other filters are added by default, but you can disable them. An AnonymousAuthenticationFilter is added by default and unless you have session-fixation protection disabled, a SessionManagementFilter will also be added to the filter chain.

If you're replacing a namespace filter which requires an authentication entry point (i.e. where the authentication process is triggered by an attempt by an unauthenticated user to access to a secured resource), you will need to add a custom entry point bean too.

Setting a Custom AuthenticationEntryPoint

If you aren't using form login, OpenID or basic authentication through the namespace, you may want to define an authentication filter and entry point using a traditional bean syntax and link them into the namespace, as we've just seen. The corresponding AuthenticationEntryPoint can be set using the entry-point-ref attribute on the <http> element.

The CAS sample application is a good example of the use of custom beans with the namespace, including this syntax. If you aren't familiar with authentication entry points, they are discussed in the technical overview chapter.

3.4 Method Security

From version 2.0 onwards Spring Security has improved support substantially for adding security to your service layer methods. It provides support for JSR-250 annotation security as well as the framework's original @Secured annotation. From 3.0 you can also make use of new expression-based annotations. You can apply security to a single bean, using the intercept-methods element to decorate the bean declaration, or you can secure multiple beans across the entire service layer using the AspectJ style pointcuts.

3.4.1 The <global-method-security> Element

This element is used to enable annotation-based security in your application (by setting the appropriate attributes on the element), and also to group together security pointcut declarations which will be applied across your entire application context. You should only declare one <global-method-security> element. The following declaration would enable support for Spring Security's @Secured:

  <global-method-security secured-annotations="enabled" />
  

Adding an annotation to a method (on an class or interface) would then limit the access to that method accordingly. Spring Security's native annotation support defines a set of attributes for the method. These will be passed to the AccessDecisionManager for it to make the actual decision:

  public interface BankService {

    @Secured("IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY")
    public Account readAccount(Long id);

    @Secured("IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY")
    public Account[] findAccounts();

    @Secured("ROLE_TELLER")
    public Account post(Account account, double amount);
  }

Support for JSR-250 annotations can be enabled using

  <global-method-security jsr250-annotations="enabled" />
  
        

These are standards-based and allow simple role-based constraints to be applied but do not have the power Spring Security's native annotations. To use the new expression-based syntax, you would use

  <global-method-security pre-post-annotations="enabled" />
  

and the equivalent Java code would be

   public interface BankService {

     @PreAuthorize("isAnonymous()")
     public Account readAccount(Long id);

     @PreAuthorize("isAnonymous()")
     public Account[] findAccounts();

     @PreAuthorize("hasAuthority('ROLE_TELLER')")
     public Account post(Account account, double amount);
   }
        

Expression-based annotations are a good choice if you need to define simple rules that go beyond checking the role names against the user's list of authorities.

[Note]Note

The annotated methods will only be secured for instances which are defined as Spring beans (in the same application context in which method-security is enabled). If you want to secure instances which are not created by Spring (using the new operator, for example) then you need to use AspectJ.

[Note]Note

You can enable more than one type of annotation in the same application, but only one type should be used for any interface or class as the behaviour will not be well-defined otherwise. If two annotations are found which apply to a particular method, then only one of them will be applied.

Adding Security Pointcuts using protect-pointcut

The use of protect-pointcut is particularly powerful, as it allows you to apply security to many beans with only a simple declaration. Consider the following example:

  <global-method-security>
    <protect-pointcut expression="execution(* com.mycompany.*Service.*(..))"
         access="ROLE_USER"/>
  </global-method-security>

          

This will protect all methods on beans declared in the application context whose classes are in the com.mycompany package and whose class names end in "Service". Only users with the ROLE_USER role will be able to invoke these methods. As with URL matching, the most specific matches must come first in the list of pointcuts, as the first matching expression will be used. Security annotations take precedence over pointcuts.

3.5 The Default AccessDecisionManager

This section assumes you have some knowledge of the underlying architecture for access-control within Spring Security. If you don't you can skip it and come back to it later, as this section is only really relevant for people who need to do some customization in order to use more than simple role-based security.

When you use a namespace configuration, a default instance of AccessDecisionManager is automatically registered for you and will be used for making access decisions for method invocations and web URL access, based on the access attributes you specify in your intercept-url and protect-pointcut declarations (and in annotations if you are using annotation secured methods).

The default strategy is to use an AffirmativeBased AccessDecisionManager with a RoleVoter and an AuthenticatedVoter. You can find out more about these in the chapter on authorization.

3.5.1 Customizing the AccessDecisionManager

If you need to use a more complicated access control strategy then it is easy to set an alternative for both method and web security.

For method security, you do this by setting the access-decision-manager-ref attribute on global-method-security to the id of the appropriate AccessDecisionManager bean in the application context:

  <global-method-security access-decision-manager-ref="myAccessDecisionManagerBean">
    ...
  </global-method-security>
  

The syntax for web security is the same, but on the http element:

  <http access-decision-manager-ref="myAccessDecisionManagerBean">
    ...
  </http>
  

3.6 The Authentication Manager and the Namespace

The main interface which provides authentication services in Spring Security is the AuthenticationManager. This is usually an instance of Spring Security's ProviderManager class, which you may already be familiar with if you've used the framework before. If not, it will be covered later, in the technical overview chapter. The bean instance is registered using the authentication-manager namespace element. You can't use a custom AuthenticationManager if you are using either HTTP or method security through the namespace, but this should not be a problem as you have full control over the AuthenticationProviders that are used.

You may want to register additional AuthenticationProvider beans with the ProviderManager and you can do this using the <authentication-provider> element with the ref attribute, where the value of the attribute is the name of the provider bean you want to add. For example:

  <authentication-manager>
    <authentication-provider ref="casAuthenticationProvider"/>
  </authentication-manager>

  <bean id="casAuthenticationProvider"
      class="org.springframework.security.cas.authentication.CasAuthenticationProvider">
    ...
  </bean>
  

Another common requirement is that another bean in the context may require a reference to the AuthenticationManager. You can easily register an alias for the AuthenticationManager and use this name elsewhere in your application context.

  <security:authentication-manager alias="authenticationManager">
     ...
  </security:authentication-manager>

  <bean id="customizedFormLoginFilter"
        class="com.somecompany.security.web.CustomFormLoginFilter">
     <property name="authenticationManager" ref="authenticationManager"/>
     ...
  </bean>
  


[1] You can find out more about the use of the ldap-server element in the chapter on LDAP.

[2] See the section on Request Matching in the Web Application Infrastructure chapter for more details on how matches are actually performed.

[3] The interpretation of the comma-separated values in the access attribute depends on the implementation of the AccessDecisionManager which is used. In Spring Security 3.0, the attribute can also be populated with an EL expression.

[4] In versions prior to 3.0, this list also included remember-me functionality. This could cause some confusing errors with some configurations and was removed in 3.0. In 3.0, the addition of an AnonymousAuthenticationFilter is part of the default <http> configuration, so the <anonymous /> element is added regardless of whether auto-config is enabled.

[5] See the chapter on anonymous authentication and also the AuthenticatedVoter class for more details on how the value IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY is processed.

[6] The use of multiple <http> elements is an important feature, allowing the namespace to simultaneously support both stateful and stateless paths within the same application, for example. The previous syntax, using the attribute filters="none" on an intercept-url element is incompatible with this change and is no longer supported in 3.1.

[7] For more details on how channel-processing is implemented, see the Javadoc for ChannelProcessingFilter and related classes.

[8] If you are running your application behind a proxy, you may also be able to remove the session cookie by configuring the proxy server. For example, using Apache HTTPD's mod_headers, the following directive would delete the JSESSIONID cookie by expiring it in the response to a logout request (assuming the application is deployed under the path /tutorial):

 <LocationMatch "/tutorial/j_spring_security_logout">
  Header always set Set-Cookie "JSESSIONID=;Path=/tutorial;Expires=Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 GMT"
 </LocationMatch>