Digest Authentication

This section provides details on how Spring Security provides support for Digest Authentication, which is provided DigestAuthenticationFilter.

You should not use Digest Authentication in modern applications, because it is not considered to be secure. The most obvious problem is that you must store your passwords in plaintext or an encrypted or MD5 format. All of these storage formats are considered insecure. Instead, you should store credentials by using a one way adaptive password hash (bCrypt, PBKDF2, SCrypt, and others), which is not supported by Digest Authentication.

Digest Authentication tries to solve many of the weaknesses of Basic authentication, specifically by ensuring credentials are never sent in clear text across the wire. Many browsers support Digest Authentication.

The standard governing HTTP Digest Authentication is defined by RFC 2617, which updates an earlier version of the Digest Authentication standard prescribed by RFC 2069. Most user agents implement RFC 2617. Spring Security’s Digest Authentication support is compatible with the “auth” quality of protection (qop) prescribed by RFC 2617, which also provides backward compatibility with RFC 2069. Digest Authentication was seen as a more attractive option if you need to use unencrypted HTTP (no TLS or HTTPS) and wish to maximize security of the authentication process. However, everyone should use HTTPS.

Central to Digest Authentication is a “nonce”. This is a value the server generates. Spring Security’s nonce adopts the following format:

Digest Syntax
base64(expirationTime + ":" + md5Hex(expirationTime + ":" + key))
expirationTime:   The date and time when the nonce expires, expressed in milliseconds
key:              A private key to prevent modification of the nonce token

You need to ensure that you configure insecure plain text Password Storage using NoOpPasswordEncoder. (See the NoOpPasswordEncoder class in the Javadoc.) The following provides an example of configuring Digest Authentication with Java Configuration:

Digest Authentication
  • Java

  • XML

UserDetailsService userDetailsService;

DigestAuthenticationEntryPoint entryPoint() {
	DigestAuthenticationEntryPoint result = new DigestAuthenticationEntryPoint();
	result.setRealmName("My App Realm");

DigestAuthenticationFilter digestAuthenticationFilter() {
	DigestAuthenticationFilter result = new DigestAuthenticationFilter();

public SecurityFilterChain filterChain(HttpSecurity http) throws Exception {
		// ...
		.exceptionHandling(e -> e.authenticationEntryPoint(authenticationEntryPoint()))
	return http.build();
<b:bean id="digestFilter"

<b:bean id="digestEntryPoint"
    p:realmName="My App Realm"

	<!-- ... -->
	<custom-filter ref="userFilter" position="DIGEST_AUTH_FILTER"/>