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Java Authentication and Authorization Service (JAAS) Provider

Spring Security provides a package to delegate authentication requests to the Java Authentication and Authorization Service (JAAS). This section discusses that package.

AbstractJaasAuthenticationProvider

The AbstractJaasAuthenticationProvider class is the basis for the provided JAAS AuthenticationProvider implementations. Subclasses must implement a method that creates the LoginContext. The AbstractJaasAuthenticationProvider has a number of dependencies that can be injected into it, as discussed in the remainder of this section.

JAAS CallbackHandler

Most JAAS LoginModule instances require a callback of some sort. These callbacks are usually used to obtain the username and password from the user.

In a Spring Security deployment, Spring Security is responsible for this user interaction (through the authentication mechanism). Thus, by the time the authentication request is delegated through to JAAS, Spring Security’s authentication mechanism has already fully populated an Authentication object that contains all the information required by the JAAS LoginModule.

Therefore, the JAAS package for Spring Security provides two default callback handlers: JaasNameCallbackHandler and JaasPasswordCallbackHandler. Each of these callback handlers implements JaasAuthenticationCallbackHandler. In most cases, these callback handlers can be used without understanding the internal mechanics.

For those needing full control over the callback behavior, AbstractJaasAuthenticationProvider internally wraps these JaasAuthenticationCallbackHandler instances with an InternalCallbackHandler. The InternalCallbackHandler is the class that actually implements the JAAS normal CallbackHandler interface. Any time that the JAAS LoginModule is used, it is passed a list of application contexts configured InternalCallbackHandler instances. If the LoginModule requests a callback against the InternalCallbackHandler instances, the callback is, in turn, passed to the JaasAuthenticationCallbackHandler instances being wrapped.

JAAS AuthorityGranter

JAAS works with principals. Even “roles” are represented as principals in JAAS. Spring Security, on the other hand, works with Authentication objects. Each Authentication object contains a single principal and multiple GrantedAuthority instances. To facilitate mapping between these different concepts, Spring Security’s JAAS package includes an AuthorityGranter interface.

An AuthorityGranter is responsible for inspecting a JAAS principal and returning a set of String objects that represent the authorities assigned to the principal. For each returned authority string, the AbstractJaasAuthenticationProvider creates a JaasGrantedAuthority (which implements Spring Security’s GrantedAuthority interface) that contains the authority string and the JAAS principal that the AuthorityGranter was passed. The AbstractJaasAuthenticationProvider obtains the JAAS principals by first successfully authenticating the user’s credentials by using the JAAS LoginModule and then accessing the LoginContext it returns. A call to LoginContext.getSubject().getPrincipals() is made, with each resulting principal passed to each AuthorityGranter defined against the AbstractJaasAuthenticationProvider.setAuthorityGranters(List) property.

Spring Security does not include any production AuthorityGranter instances, given that every JAAS principal has an implementation-specific meaning. However, there is a TestAuthorityGranter in the unit tests that demonstrates a simple AuthorityGranter implementation.

DefaultJaasAuthenticationProvider

The DefaultJaasAuthenticationProvider lets a JAAS Configuration object be injected into it as a dependency. It then creates a LoginContext by using the injected JAAS Configuration. This means that DefaultJaasAuthenticationProvider is not bound to any particular implementation of Configuration, as JaasAuthenticationProvider is.

InMemoryConfiguration

To make it easy to inject a Configuration into DefaultJaasAuthenticationProvider, a default in-memory implementation named InMemoryConfiguration is provided. The implementation constructor accepts a Map where each key represents a login configuration name, and the value represents an Array of AppConfigurationEntry instances. InMemoryConfiguration also supports a default Array of AppConfigurationEntry objects that is used if no mapping is found within the provided Map. For details, see the Javadoc of InMemoryConfiguration.

DefaultJaasAuthenticationProvider Example Configuration

While the Spring configuration for InMemoryConfiguration can be more verbose than the standard JAAS configuration files, using it in conjunction with DefaultJaasAuthenticationProvider is more flexible than JaasAuthenticationProvider, since it not dependent on the default Configuration implementation.

The next example provides a configuration of DefaultJaasAuthenticationProvider that uses InMemoryConfiguration. Note that custom implementations of Configuration can easily be injected into DefaultJaasAuthenticationProvider as well.

<bean id="jaasAuthProvider"
class="org.springframework.security.authentication.jaas.DefaultJaasAuthenticationProvider">
<property name="configuration">
<bean class="org.springframework.security.authentication.jaas.memory.InMemoryConfiguration">
<constructor-arg>
	<map>
	<!--
	SPRINGSECURITY is the default loginContextName
	for AbstractJaasAuthenticationProvider
	-->
	<entry key="SPRINGSECURITY">
	<array>
	<bean class="javax.security.auth.login.AppConfigurationEntry">
		<constructor-arg value="sample.SampleLoginModule" />
		<constructor-arg>
		<util:constant static-field=
			"javax.security.auth.login.AppConfigurationEntry$LoginModuleControlFlag.REQUIRED"/>
		</constructor-arg>
		<constructor-arg>
		<map></map>
		</constructor-arg>
		</bean>
	</array>
	</entry>
	</map>
	</constructor-arg>
</bean>
</property>
<property name="authorityGranters">
<list>
	<!-- You will need to write your own implementation of AuthorityGranter -->
	<bean class="org.springframework.security.authentication.jaas.TestAuthorityGranter"/>
</list>
</property>
</bean>

JaasAuthenticationProvider

The JaasAuthenticationProvider assumes that the default Configuration is an instance of ConfigFile. This assumption is made in order to try to update the Configuration. The JaasAuthenticationProvider then uses the default Configuration to create the LoginContext.

Assume that we have a JAAS login configuration file, /WEB-INF/login.conf, with the following contents:

JAASTest {
	sample.SampleLoginModule required;
};

Like all Spring Security beans, the JaasAuthenticationProvider is configured through the application context. The following definitions would correspond to the above JAAS login configuration file:

<bean id="jaasAuthenticationProvider"
class="org.springframework.security.authentication.jaas.JaasAuthenticationProvider">
<property name="loginConfig" value="/WEB-INF/login.conf"/>
<property name="loginContextName" value="JAASTest"/>
<property name="callbackHandlers">
<list>
<bean
	class="org.springframework.security.authentication.jaas.JaasNameCallbackHandler"/>
<bean
	class="org.springframework.security.authentication.jaas.JaasPasswordCallbackHandler"/>
</list>
</property>
<property name="authorityGranters">
	<list>
	<bean class="org.springframework.security.authentication.jaas.TestAuthorityGranter"/>
	</list>
</property>
</bean>

Running as a Subject

If configured, the JaasApiIntegrationFilter tries to run as the Subject on the JaasAuthenticationToken. This means that the Subject can be accessed using:

Subject subject = Subject.getSubject(AccessController.getContext());

You can configure this integration by using the jaas-api-provision attribute. This feature is useful when integrating with legacy or external API’s that rely on the JAAS Subject being populated.