A Quick Spring Security Lock-Down

My new shiny web application is fantastically useful, but only to a certain group of people (i.e. my team), and should only be accessible by them.

So, before being able to put it into real production, I needed a security framework around it.

A legacy JAAS component of ours exists, but given my application was making use of the Spring framework, I compared Spring's offering to the JAAS infrastructure.

Popular opinion seems to be that JAAS was build for J2SE, not J2EE, and is designed for things at a much 'lower level' than web applications, such as client-side applets rather than server-side applications.

Maven

First things first: Maven dependencies.

I'm using spring-webmvc 2.5.6, so I'd like to get security working with the application as it stands now - the latest pre-3.0 release of spring-security is 2.0.6-RELEASE:

<dependency>
  <groupId>org.springframework</groupId>
  <artifactId>spring-aspects</artifactId>
  <version>2.5.6</version>
</dependency>
<dependency>
  <groupId>org.springframework.security</groupId>
  <artifactId>spring-security-core</artifactId>
  <version>2.0.6.RELEASE</version>
</dependency>

Web Context

The web context requires two things:

  1. Context location
    <context-param>
      <param-name>contextConfigLocation</param-name>
      <param-value>
    /WEB-INF/applicationContext.xml 
    /WEB-INF/applicationContext-security.xml 
      </param-value>
    </context-param>
    (we'll create the security context in the next step)
  2. Filter definition
    <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>
    The url-pattern will mean all requests pass through the filter (which will have more explicit criteria).

Security Context

Now we get to the real meat of the security layer!

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<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-2.0.xsd
    http://www.springframework.org/schema/security
    http://www.springframework.org/schema/security/spring-security-2.0.1.xsd">

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

    <authentication-provider>
        <password-encoder hash="md5"/>
        <user-service>
            <user name="user"
            password="aabbccddeeff001122334455667788ff"
            authorities="ROLE_USER" />
        </user-service>
    </authentication-provider>
</beans:beans>

Here we can see the configuration for http requests. The 'auto-config' sets the defaults (refer to the doco in the references), which are overridden by the contents of the tag. We'll let in one user for now with the role 'ROLE_USER', defined in the authentication-provider section.

Including http-basic just puts the preference on using the basic HTTP prompt, but removing that line would use Spring's default login page (with user/pass and 'remember me' checkbox).

And its done! Deploying the application and loading the page demands a login before progressing.

Next

Future improvements might involve setting up a styled login page, hooking up an LDAP connection (but with restrictions). Oh, and Selenium tests..!

References

  1. Spring Source, Spring Security Reference Documentation http://static.springsource.org/spring-security/site/docs/2.0.x/reference/ns-config.htm
  2. Peter Mularien, 5 Minute Guide to Spring Security http://www.mularien.com/blog/2008/07/07/5-minute-guide-to-spring-security/