(Quick Reference)

Spring Security Core Plugin - Reference Documentation

Authors: Burt Beckwith, Beverley Talbott

Version: 2.0-RC2

Table of Contents

1 Introduction to the Spring Security Plugin

The Spring Security plugin simplifies the integration of Spring Security (formerly Acegi Security) into Grails applications. The plugin provides sensible defaults with many configuration options for customization. Nearly everything is configurable or replaceable in the plugin and in Spring Security itself, which makes extensive use of interfaces.

This guide documents configuration defaults and describes how to configure and extend the Spring Security plugin for Grails applications.

Release History and Acknowledgment

This plugin is based on work done for the Acegi plugin by Tsuyoshi Yamamoto.

1.1 Configuration Settings Now in Config.groovy

The Spring Security plugin maintains its configuration in the standard Config.groovy file. Default values are in the plugin's grails-app/conf/DefaultSecurityConfig.groovy file, and you add application-specific values to the grails-app/conf/Config.groovy file. The two configurations will be merged, with application values overriding the defaults.

This structure enables environment-specific configuration such as, for example, fewer structure-restrictive security rules during development than in production. Like any environment-specific configuration parameters, you wrap them in an environments block.

The plugin's configuration values all start with grails.plugin.springsecurity to distinguish them from similarly named options in Grails and from other plugins. You must specify all property overrides with the grails.plugin.springsecurity suffix. For example, you specify the attribute password.algorithm as:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.password.algorithm='bcrypt'

in Config.groovy

1.2 Getting Started

If you will be migrating from the Acegi to the Spring Security plugin, see Migrating from the Acegi Plugin.

Once you install the plugin, you simply run the initialization script, s2-quickstart, and make any required configuration changes in Config.groovy. The plugin registers filters in web.xml, and also configures the Spring beans in the application context that implement various pieces of functionality. Ivy determines which jar files to use.

To get started using the Spring Security plugin with your Grails application, see Tutorials.

You do not need to know much about Spring Security to use the plugin, but it can be helpful to understand the underlying implementation. See the Spring Security documentation.

2 What's New in Version 2.0

There are many changes in the 2.x versions of the plugin from the older approaches in 1.x.

Package changes

All classes are now in the grails.plugin.springsecurity package or a subpackage. The names tend to correspond to the analagous Spring Security classes where appropriate, for example MutableLogoutFilter is in the grails.plugin.springsecurity.web.authentication.logout package to correspond with the org.springframework.security.web.authentication.logout package.

Some of the changes were more subtle though, for example all classes in the old grails.plugins.springsecurity packages and subpackages are now in grails.plugin.springsecurity, only one character different. This will result in a non-trivial upgrade process for your applications, but that is a benefit as it will hopefully point you at other important changes you might have otherwise missed.

Configuration prefix changes

The prefix used in Config.groovy for the plugin's configuration settings has changed from grails.plugins.springsecurity to grails.plugin.springsecurity.

More aggressively secure by default

In 1.x it was assumed that defaulting pages to not be secured, and configuring guarded URLs as needed, was a more pragmatic approach. Now however, all URLs are blocked unless there is a request mapping rule. The assumption behind this change is that if you forget to guard a new URL, it can take a long time to discover that users had access, whereas if you forget when using the "pessimistic" approach, nobody can access the URL and the error will be quickly discovered. This approach is more work, but much safer.

This is described in more detail here.

Logout POST only

By default only POST requests are allowed to trigger a logout. To allow GET access, add this

grails.plugin.springsecurity.logout.postOnly = false

bcrypt by default

The default password hashing algorithm is now bcrypt since it is a very robust hashing approach. PBKDF2 is similar and is also supported. You can still use any message digest algorithm that is supported in your JDK; see this Java page for the available algorithms.

Session Fixation Prevention by default

Session Fixation Prevention is now enabled by default, but can be disabled with

grails.plugin.springsecurity.useSessionFixationPrevention = false

@Secured annotation

As of Grails 2.0, controller actions can be defined as closures or methods, with methods being preferred. The @Secured annotation no longer supports being defined on controller action closures, so you will need to convert them to real methods.

You can also specify the HTTP method that an annotation is defined for (e.g. when using REST). When doing this you must explicitly name the value attribute, e.g.

@Secured(value=["hasRole('ROLE_ADMIN')"], httpMethod='POST')
def someMethod() {
   …
}

In addition, you can define a closure in the annotation which will be called during access checking. The closure must return true or false and has all of the methods and properties that are available when using SpEL expressions, since the closure's delegate is set to a subclass of WebSecurityExpressionRoot, and also the Spring ApplicationContext as the ctx property:

@Secured(closure = {
   assert request
   assert ctx
   authentication.name == 'admin1'
})
def someMethod() {
   …
}

Anonymous authentication

In standard Spring Security and older versions of the plugin, there is support for an "anonymous" authentication. This is implemented by a filter that registers a simple Authentication in the SecurityContext to remove the need for null checks, since there will always be an Authentication available. This approach is still problematic though because the Principal of the anonymous authentication is a String, whereas it is a UserDetails instance when there is a non-anonymous authentication.

Since you still have to be careful to differentiate between anonymous and non-anonymous authentications, the plugin now creates an anonymous Authentication which will be an instance of grails.plugin.springsecurity.authentication. GrailsAnonymousAuthenticationToken with a standard org.springframework.security.core.userdetails.User instance as its Principal. The authentication will have a single granted role, ROLE_ANONYMOUS.

No HQL

Some parts of the code used HQL queries, for example in the generated UserRole class and in SpringSecurityService.findRequestmapsByRole. These have been replaced by "where" queries to make data access more portable across GORM implementatioins.

Changes in generated classes

The enabled property in the generated User class now defaults to true. This will make creating instances a bit more DRY:

def u = new User(username: 'me', password: 'itsasecret').save()

If you prefer the old approach, change your generated class.

Also, the plugin includes the grails.plugin.springsecurity.LoginController.groovy and grails.plugin.springsecurity.LogoutController.groovy controllers, and grails-app/views/auth.gsp and grails-app/views/denied.gsp GSPs. If you had no need previously to change these you can delete your files and the plugins' files will be used instead. If you do want to change them, copy each as needed to your application and make the required changes, and yours will be used instead.

One small change is that there is no longer a default value for the domain class name properties (userLookup.userDomainClassName, authority.className, requestMap.className, rememberMe.persistentToken.domainClassName). This was of little use and tended to cause confusing error messages when there was a misconfiguration.

SecurityContextHolder strategy

You can now define the SecurityContextHolder strategy. By default it is stored in a ThreadLocal, but you can also configure it to use an InheritableThreadLocal to maintain the context in new threads, or a custom class that implements the org.springframework.security.core.context.SecurityContextHolderStrategy interface. To change the strategy, set the grails.plugin.springsecurity.sch.strategyName config property to "MODE_THREADLOCAL" (the default) to use a ThreadLocal, "MODE_INHERITABLETHREADLOCAL" to use an InheritableThreadLocal, or the name of a class that implements SecurityContextHolderStrategy.

Debug filter

You can enable a "debug" filter based on the org.springframework.security.config.debug.DebugFilter class. It will log security information at the "info" level and can help when debugging configuration issues. This should only be enabled in development mode so consider adding the property that enables it inside an environments block in Config.groovy

environments {
   development {
      grails.logging.jul.usebridge = true
      grails.plugin.springsecurity.debug.useFilter = true
   }
   production {
      grails.logging.jul.usebridge = false
   }
}

Also add the implementation class name in your Log4j configuration:

info 'grails.plugin.springsecurity.web.filter.DebugFilter'

Storing usernames in the session

In Spring Security 3.0 and earlier, the username was stored in the HTTP session under the key "SPRING_SECURITY_LAST_USERNAME". This no longer done, but the plugin will use the old behavior if the grails.plugin.springsecurity.apf.storeLastUsername setting is set to true (the default is false ). Further, the name is no longer escaped before storing, it is stored exactly as entered by the user, so you must escape it when redisplaying to avoid XSS attacks.

@Authorities annotation

You can use the new @Authorities annotation to make your annotations more DRY. See this blog post for a description about the motivation and implementation details. Note that the package for the annotation in the plugin is grails.plugin.springsecurity.annotation, not grails.plugins.springsecurity.annotation as described in the blog post.

Miscellaneous changes

AuthenticationDetailsSource

Previously you could configure the details class that was constructed by the authenticationDetailsSource bean by setting the authenticationDetails.authClass property. In Spring Security 3.2 this isn't possible because WebAuthenticationDetailsSource always returns a WebAuthenticationDetails. But you can still customize the details class by creating a class that implements the AuthenticationDetailsSource interface, e.g.:

package com.mycompany;

import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;

import org.springframework.security.authentication.AuthenticationDetailsSource;

public class MyAuthenticationDetailsSource implements AuthenticationDetailsSource<HttpServletRequest, MyWebAuthenticationDetails> {

public MyWebAuthenticationDetails buildDetails(HttpServletRequest context) { // build a MyWebAuthenticationDetails } }

and registering that as the authenticationDetailsSource bean in resources.groovy

import com.mycompany.MyAuthenticationDetailsSource

beans = { authenticationDetailsSource(MyAuthenticationDetailsSource) { // any required properties } }

3 Required and Optional Domain Classes

By default the plugin uses regular Grails domain classes to access its required data. It's easy to create your own user lookup code though, which can access the database or any other source to retrieve user and authority data. See Custom UserDetailsService for how to implement this.

To use the standard user lookup you'll need at a minimum a 'person' and an 'authority' domain class. In addition, if you want to store URL<->Role mappings in the database (this is one of multiple approaches for defining the mappings) you need a 'requestmap' domain class. If you use the recommended approach for mapping the many-to-many relationship between 'person' and 'authority,' you also need a domain class to map the join table.

The s2-quickstart script creates initial domain classes for you. You specify the package and class names, and it creates the corresponding domain classes. After that you can customize them as you like. You can add unlimited fields, methods, and so on, as long as the core security-related functionality remains.

3.1 Person Class

Spring Security uses an Authentication object to determine whether the current user has the right to perform a secured action, such as accessing a URL, manipulating a secured domain object, accessing a secured method, and so on. This object is created during login. Typically overlap occurs between the need for authentication data and the need to represent a user in the application in ways that are unrelated to security. The mechanism for populating the authentication is completely pluggable in Spring Security; you only need to provide an implementation of UserDetailsService and implement its one method, loadUserByUsername().

By default the plugin uses a Grails 'person' domain class to manage this data. username, enabled, password are the default names of the core required properties. You can easily plug in your own implementation, and rename the class, package, and fields. In addition, you should define an authorities property to retrieve roles; this can be a public field or a getAuthorities() method, and it can be defined through a traditional GORM many-to-many or a custom mapping.

Assuming you choose com.mycompany.myapp as your package, and User as your class name, you'll generate this class:

package com.mycompany.myapp

class User {

transient springSecurityService

String username String password boolean enabled = true boolean accountExpired boolean accountLocked boolean passwordExpired

static transients = ['springSecurityService']

static constraints = { username blank: false, unique: true password blank: false }

static mapping = { password column: '`password`' }

Set<Role> getAuthorities() { UserRole.findAllByUser(this).collect { it.role } as Set }

def beforeInsert() { encodePassword() }

def beforeUpdate() { if (isDirty('password')) { encodePassword() } }

protected void encodePassword() { password = springSecurityService.encodePassword(password) } }

Optionally, add other properties such as email, firstName, lastName, and convenience methods, and so on:

package com.mycompany.myapp

class User {

transient springSecurityService

String username String password boolean enabled = true String email String firstName String lastName boolean accountExpired boolean accountLocked boolean passwordExpired

static transients = ['springSecurityService']

static constraints = { username blank: false, unique: true password blank: false }

static mapping = { password column: '`password`' }

Set<Role> getAuthorities() { UserRole.findAllByUser(this).collect { it.role } as Set }

def someMethod { … }

def beforeInsert() { encodePassword() }

def beforeUpdate() { if (isDirty('password')) { encodePassword() } }

protected void encodePassword() { password = springSecurityService.encodePassword(password) } }

The getAuthorities() method is analagous to defining static hasMany = [authorities: Authority] in a traditional many-to-many mapping. This way GormUserDetailsService can call user.authorities during login to retrieve the roles without the overhead of a bidirectional many-to-many mapping.

The class and property names are configurable using these configuration attributes:

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
userLookup.userDomainClassNamenoneUser class name
userLookup.usernamePropertyName'username'User class username field
userLookup.passwordPropertyName'password'User class password field
userLookup.authoritiesPropertyName'authorities'User class role collection field
userLookup.enabledPropertyName'enabled'User class enabled field
userLookup.accountExpiredPropertyName'accountExpired'User class account expired field
userLookup.accountLockedPropertyName'accountLocked'User class account locked field
userLookup.passwordExpiredPropertyName'passwordExpired'User class password expired field
userLookup.authorityJoinClassName'PersonAuthority'User/Role many-many join class name

3.2 Authority Class

The Spring Security plugin also requires an 'authority' class to represent a user's role(s) in the application. In general this class restricts URLs to users who have been assigned the required access rights. A user can have multiple roles to indicate various access rights in the application, and should have at least one. A basic user who can access only non-restricted resources but can still authenticate is a bit unusual. Spring Security usually functions fine if a user has no granted authorities, but fails in a few places that assume one or more. So if a user authenticates successfully but has no granted roles, the plugin grants the user a 'virtual' role, ROLE_NO_ROLES. Thus the user satisfies Spring Security's requirements but cannot access secure resources, as you would not associate any secure resources with this role.

Like the 'person' class, the 'authority' class has a default name, Authority, and a default name for its one required property, authority. If you want to use another existing domain class, it simply has to have a property for name. As with the name of the class, the names of the properties can be whatever you want - they're specified in grails-app/conf/Config.groovy.

Assuming you choose com.mycompany.myapp as your package, and Role as your class name, you'll generate this class:

package com.mycompany.myapp

class Role {

String authority

static mapping = { cache true }

static constraints = { authority blank: false, unique: true } }

The class and property names are configurable using these configuration attributes:

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
authority.classNamenoneRole class name
authority.nameField'authority'Role class role name field

Note that role names must start with "ROLE_". This is configurable in Spring Security, but not in the plugin. It would be possible to allow different prefixes, but it's important that the prefix not be blank as the prefix is used to differentiate between role names and tokens such as IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY/IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY/etc., and SpEL expressions.

The role names should be primarily an internal implementation detail; if you want to display friendlier names in a UI, it's simple to remove the prefix first.

3.3 PersonAuthority Class

The typical approach to mapping the relationship between 'person' and 'authority' is a many-to-many. Users have multiple roles, and roles are shared by multiple users. This approach can be problematic in Grails, because a popular role, for example, ROLE_USER, will be granted to many users in your application. GORM uses collections to manage adding and removing related instances and maps many-to-many relationships bidirectionally. Granting a role to a user requires loading all existing users who have that role because the collection is a Set. So even though no uniqueness concerns may exist, Hibernate loads them all to enforce uniqueness. The recommended approach in the plugin is to map a domain class to the join table that manages the many-to-many, and using that to grant and revoke roles to users.

Like the other domain classes, this class is generated for you, so you don't need to deal with the details of mapping it. Assuming you choose com.mycompany.myapp as your package, and User and Role as your class names, you'll generate this class:

package com.testapp

import org.apache.commons.lang.builder.HashCodeBuilder

class UserRole implements Serializable {

private static final long serialVersionUID = 1

User user Role role

boolean equals(other) { if (!(other instanceof UserRole)) { return false }

other.user?.id == user?.id && other.role?.id == role?.id }

int hashCode() { def builder = new HashCodeBuilder() if (user) builder.append(user.id) if (role) builder.append(role.id) builder.toHashCode() }

static UserRole get(long userId, long roleId) { UserRole.where { user == User.load(userId) && role == Role.load(roleId) }.get() }

static UserRole create(User user, Role role, boolean flush = false) { new UserRole(user: user, role: role).save(flush: flush, insert: true) }

static boolean remove(User u, Role r, boolean flush = false) { int rowCount = UserRole.where { user == User.load(u.id) && role == Role.load(r.id) }.deleteAll()

rowCount > 0 }

static void removeAll(User u) { UserRole.where { user == User.load(u.id) }.deleteAll() }

static void removeAll(Role r) { UserRole.where { role == Role.load(r.id) }.deleteAll() }

static mapping = { id composite: ['role', 'user'] version false } }

The helper methods make it easy to grant or revoke roles. Assuming you have already loaded a user and a role, you grant the role to the user as follows:

User user = …
Role role = …
UserRole.create user, role

Or by using the 3-parameter version to trigger a flush:

User user = …
Role role = …
UserRole.create user, role, true

Revoking a role is similar:

User user = …
Role role = …
UserRole.remove user, role

Or:

User user = …
Role role = …
UserRole.remove user, role, true

The class name is the only configurable attribute:

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
userLookup.authorityJoinClassName'PersonAuthority'User/Role many-many join class name

3.4 Requestmap Class

Optionally, use this class to store request mapping entries in the database instead of defining them with annotations or in Config.groovy. This option makes the class configurable at runtime; you can add, remove and edit rules without restarting your application.

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
requestMap.classNamenonerequestmap class name
requestMap.urlField'url'URL pattern field name
requestMap.configAttributeField'configAttribute'authority pattern field name
requestMap.httpMethodField'httpMethod'HTTP method field name (optional, does not have to exist in the class if you don't require URL/method security)

Assuming you choose com.mycompany.myapp as your package, and Requestmap as your class name, you'll generate this class:

package com.testapp

import org.springframework.http.HttpMethod

class Requestmap {

String url String configAttribute HttpMethod httpMethod

static mapping = { cache true }

static constraints = { url blank: false, unique: 'httpMethod' configAttribute blank: false httpMethod nullable: true } }

To use Requestmap entries to guard URLs, see Requestmap Instances Stored in the Database.

4 Configuring Request Mappings to Secure URLs

You can choose among the following approaches to configuring request mappings for secure application URLs. The goal is to map URL patterns to the roles required to access those URLs.

You can only use one method at a time. You configure it with the securityConfigType attribute; the value has to be an SecurityConfigType enum value or the name of the enum as a String.

Pessimistic Lockdown

Many applications are mostly public, with some pages only accessible to authenticated users with various roles. In this case, it might make sense to leave URLs open by default and restrict access on a case-by-case basis. However, if your application is primarily secure, you can use a pessimistic lockdown approach to deny access to all URLs that do not have an applicable URL-Role request mapping. But the pessimistic approach is safer; if you forget to restrict access to a URL using the optimistic approach, it might take a while to discover that unauthorized users can access the URL, but if you forget when using the pessimistic approach, no user can access it and the error should be quickly discovered.

The pessimistic approach is the default, and there are two configuration options that apply. If rejectIfNoRule is true (the default) then any URL that has no request mappings (an annotation, entry in controllerAnnotations.staticRules or interceptUrlMap, or a Requestmap instance) will be denied to all users. The other option is fii.rejectPublicInvocations and if it is true (the default) then un-mapped URLs will trigger an IllegalArgumentException and will show the error page. This is uglier, but more useful because it's very clear that there is a misconfiguration. When fii.rejectPublicInvocations is false but rejectIfNoRule is true you just see the "Sorry, you're not authorized to view this page." error 403 message.

Note that the two settings are mutually exclusive. If rejectIfNoRule is true then fii.rejectPublicInvocations is ignored because the request will transition to the login page or the error 403 page. If you want the more obvious error page, set fii.rejectPublicInvocations to true and rejectIfNoRule to false to allow that check to occur.

To reject un-mapped URLs with a 403 error code, use these settings (or none since rejectIfNoRule defaults to true )

grails.plugin.springsecurity.rejectIfNoRule = true
grails.plugin.springsecurity.fii.rejectPublicInvocations = false

and to reject with the error 500 page, use these (optionally omit rejectPublicInvocations since it defaults to true ):

grails.plugin.springsecurity.rejectIfNoRule = false
grails.plugin.springsecurity.fii.rejectPublicInvocations = true

Note that if you set rejectIfNoRule or rejectPublicInvocations to true you'll need to configure the staticRules map to include URLs that can't otherwise be guarded:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.controllerAnnotations.staticRules = [
   '/':               ['permitAll'],
   '/index':          ['permitAll'],
   '/index.gsp':      ['permitAll'],
   '/**/js/**':       ['permitAll'],
   '/**/css/**':      ['permitAll'],
   '/**/images/**':   ['permitAll'],
   '/**/favicon.ico': ['permitAll']
]

This is needed when using annotations; if you use the grails.plugin.springsecurity.interceptUrlMap map in Config.groovy you'll need to add these URLs too, and likewise when using Requestmap instances. If you don't use annotations, you must add rules for the login and logout controllers also. You can add Requestmaps manually, or in BootStrap.groovy, for example:

for (String url in [
      '/', '/index', '/index.gsp', '/**/favicon.ico',
      '/**/js/**', '/**/css/**', '/**/images/**',
      '/login', '/login.*', '/login/*',
      '/logout', '/logout.*', '/logout/*']) {
   new Requestmap(url: url, configAttribute: 'permitAll').save()
}

The analogous interceptUrlMap settings would be:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.interceptUrlMap = [
   '/':                  ['permitAll'],
   '/index':             ['permitAll'],
   '/index.gsp':         ['permitAll'],
   '/**/js/**':          ['permitAll'],
   '/**/css/**':         ['permitAll'],
   '/**/images/**':      ['permitAll'],
   '/**/favicon.ico':    ['permitAll'],
   '/login/**':          ['permitAll'],
   '/logout/**':         ['permitAll']
]

In addition, when you enable the switch-user feature, you'll have to specify access rules for the associated URLs, e.g.

'/j_spring_security_switch_user': ['ROLE_ADMIN'],
'/j_spring_security_exit_user':   ['permitAll']

URLs and Authorities

In each approach you configure a mapping for a URL pattern to the role(s) that are required to access those URLs, for example, /admin/user/** requires ROLE_ADMIN. In addition, you can combine the role(s) with tokens such as IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY, IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBERED, and IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY. One or more Voters will process any tokens and enforce a rule based on them:

  • IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY
    • signifies that anyone can access this URL. By default the AnonymousAuthenticationFilter ensures an 'anonymous' Authentication with no roles so that every user has an authentication. The token accepts any authentication, even anonymous.
  • IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBERED
    • requires the user to be authenticated through a remember-me cookie or an explicit login.
  • IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY
    • requires the user to be fully authenticated with an explicit login.

With IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY you can implement a security scheme whereby users can check a remember-me checkbox during login and be auto-authenticated each time they return to your site, but must still log in with a password for some parts of the site. For example, allow regular browsing and adding items to a shopping cart with only a cookie, but require an explicit login to check out or view purchase history.

For more information on IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY, IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBERED, and IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY, see the Javadoc for AuthenticatedVoter

The plugin isn't compatible with Grails <g:actionSubmit> tags. These are used in the autogenerated GSPs that are created for you, and they enable having multiple submit buttons, each with its own action, inside a single form. The problem from the security perspective is that the form posts to the default action of the controller, and Grails figures out the handler action to use based on the action attribute of the actionSubmit tag. So for example you can guard the /person/delete with a restrictive role, but given this typical edit form:

<g:form>
   …
   <g:actionSubmit class="save" action="update"
                   value='Update' />

<g:actionSubmit class="delete" action="delete" value="'Delete' /> </g:form>

both actions will be allowed if the user has permission to access the /person/index url, which would often be the case.

The workaround is to create separate forms without using actionSubmit and explicitly set the action on the <g:form> tags, which will result in form submissions to the expected urls and properly guarded urls.

Comparing the Approaches

Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. Annotations and the Config.groovy Map are less flexible because they are configured once in the code and you can update them only by restarting the application (in prod mode anyway). In practice this limitation is minor, because security mappings for most applications are unlikely to change at runtime.

On the other hand, storing Requestmap entries enables runtime-configurability. This approach gives you a core set of rules populated at application startup that you can edit, add to, and delete as needed. However, it separates the security rules from the application code, which is less convenient than having the rules defined in grails-app/conf/Config.groovy or in the applicable controllers using annotations.

URLs must be mapped in lowercase if you use the Requestmap or grails-app/conf/Config.groovy map approaches. For example, if you have a FooBarController, its urls will be of the form /fooBar/list, /fooBar/create, and so on, but these must be mapped as /foobar/, /foobar/list, /foobar/create. This mapping is handled automatically for you if you use annotations.

4.1 Defining Secured Annotations

You can use an @Secured annotation (either the standard org.springframework.security.access.annotation.Secured or the plugin's grails.plugin.springsecurity.annotation.Secured which also works on controller closure actions) in your controllers to configure which roles are required for which actions. To use annotations, specify securityConfigType="Annotation", or leave it unspecified because it's the default:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.securityConfigType = "Annotation"

You can define the annotation at the class level, meaning that the specified roles are required for all actions, or at the action level, or both. If the class and an action are annotated then the action annotation values will be used since they're more specific.

For example, given this controller:

package com.mycompany.myapp

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.annotation.Secured

class SecureAnnotatedController {

@Secured(['ROLE_ADMIN']) def index() { render 'you have ROLE_ADMIN' }

@Secured(['ROLE_ADMIN', 'ROLE_SUPERUSER']) def adminEither() { render 'you have ROLE_ADMIN or SUPERUSER' }

def anybody() { render 'anyone can see this' } }

you must be authenticated and have ROLE_ADMIN to see /myapp/secureAnnotated (or /myapp/secureAnnotated/index) and be authenticated and have ROLE_ADMIN or ROLE_SUPERUSER to see /myapp/secureAnnotated/adminEither. Any user can access /myapp/secureAnnotated/anybody.

Often most actions in a controller require similar access rules, so you can also define annotations at the class level:

package com.mycompany.myapp

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.annotation.Secured

@Secured(['ROLE_ADMIN']) class SecureClassAnnotatedController {

def index() { render 'index: you have ROLE_ADMIN' }

def otherAction() { render 'otherAction: you have ROLE_ADMIN' }

@Secured(['ROLE_SUPERUSER']) def super() { render 'super: you have ROLE_SUPERUSER' } }

Here you need to be authenticated and have ROLE_ADMIN to see /myapp/secureClassAnnotated (or /myapp/secureClassAnnotated/index) or /myapp/secureClassAnnotated/otherAction. However, you must have ROLE_SUPERUSER to access /myapp/secureClassAnnotated/super. The action-scope annotation overrides the class-scope annotation.

controllerAnnotations.staticRules

You can also define 'static' mappings that cannot be expressed in the controllers, such as '/**' or for JavaScript, CSS, or image URLs. Use the controllerAnnotations.staticRules property, for example:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.controllerAnnotations.staticRules = [
   '/js/admin/**': ['ROLE_ADMIN'],
   '/someplugin/**': ['ROLE_ADMIN']
]

This example maps all URLs associated with SomePluginController, which has URLs of the form /somePlugin/..., to ROLE_ADMIN; annotations are not an option here because you would not edit plugin code for a change like this.

When mapping URLs for controllers that are mapped in UrlMappings.groovy, you need to secure the un-url-mapped URLs. For example if you have a FooBarController that you map to /foo/bar/$action, you must register that in controllerAnnotations.staticRules as /foobar/**. This is different than the mapping you would use for the other two approaches and is necessary because controllerAnnotations.staticRules entries are treated as if they were annotations on the corresponding controller.

4.2 Simple Map in Config.groovy

To use the Config.groovy Map to secure URLs, first specify securityConfigType="InterceptUrlMap":

grails.plugin.springsecurity.securityConfigType = "InterceptUrlMap"

Define a Map in Config.groovy:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.interceptUrlMap = [
   '/':                  ['permitAll'],
   '/index':             ['permitAll'],
   '/index.gsp':         ['permitAll'],
   '/**/js/**':          ['permitAll'],
   '/**/css/**':         ['permitAll'],
   '/**/images/**':      ['permitAll'],
   '/**/favicon.ico':    ['permitAll'],
   '/login/**':          ['permitAll'],
   '/logout/**':         ['permitAll'],
   '/secure/**':         ['ROLE_ADMIN'],
   '/finance/**':        ['ROLE_FINANCE', 'isFullyAuthenticated()'],
]

When using this approach, make sure that you order the rules correctly. The first applicable rule is used, so for example if you have a controller that has one set of rules but an action that has stricter access rules, e.g.

'/secure/**':              ['ROLE_ADMIN', 'ROLE_SUPERUSER'],
'/secure/reallysecure/**': ['ROLE_SUPERUSER']

then this would fail - it wouldn't restrict access to /secure/reallysecure/list to a user with ROLE_SUPERUSER since the first URL pattern matches, so the second would be ignored. The correct mapping would be

'/secure/reallysecure/**': ['ROLE_SUPERUSER']
'/secure/**':              ['ROLE_ADMIN', 'ROLE_SUPERUSER'],

4.3 Requestmap Instances Stored in the Database

With this approach you use the Requestmap domain class to store mapping entries in the database. Requestmap has a url property that contains the secured URL pattern and a configAttribute property containing a comma-delimited list of required roles and/or tokens such as IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY, IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBERED, and IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY.

To use Requestmap entries, specify securityConfigType="Requestmap":

grails.plugin.springsecurity.securityConfigType = "Requestmap"

You create Requestmap entries as you create entries in any Grails domain class:

for (String url in [
      '/', '/index', '/index.gsp', '/**/favicon.ico',
      '/**/js/**', '/**/css/**', '/**/images/**',
      '/login', '/login.*', '/login/*',
      '/logout', '/logout.*', '/logout/*']) {
   new Requestmap(url: url, configAttribute: 'permitAll').save()
}

new Requestmap(url: '/profile/**', configAttribute: 'ROLE_USER').save() new Requestmap(url: '/admin/**', configAttribute: 'ROLE_ADMIN').save() new Requestmap(url: '/admin/role/**', configAttribute: 'ROLE_SUPERVISOR').save() new Requestmap(url: '/admin/user/**', configAttribute: 'ROLE_ADMIN,ROLE_SUPERVISOR').save() new Requestmap(url: '/j_spring_security_switch_user', configAttribute: 'ROLE_SWITCH_USER,isFullyAuthenticated()').save()

The configAttribute value can have a single value or have multiple comma-delimited values. In this example only users with ROLE_ADMIN or ROLE_SUPERVISOR can access /admin/user/** urls, and only users with ROLE_SWITCH_USER can access the switch-user url (/j_spring_security_switch_user) and in addition must be authenticated fully, i.e. not using a remember-me cookie. Note that when specifying multiple roles, the user must have at least one of them, but when combining IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY, IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBERED, or IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY (or their corresponding SpEL expressions) with one or more roles means the user must have one of the roles and satisty the IS_AUTHENTICATED rule.

Unlike the Config.groovy Map approach, you do not need to revise the Requestmap entry order because the plugin calculates the most specific rule that applies to the current request.

Requestmap Cache

Requestmap entries are cached for performance, but caching affects runtime configurability. If you create, edit, or delete an instance, the cache must be flushed and repopulated to be consistent with the database. You can call springSecurityService.clearCachedRequestmaps() to do this. For example, if you create a RequestmapController the save action should look like this (and the update and delete actions should similarly call clearCachedRequestmaps()):

class RequestmapController {

def springSecurityService

...

def save() { def requestmapInstance = new Requestmap(params) if (!requestmapInstance.save(flush: true)) { render view: 'create', model: [requestmapInstance: requestmapInstance] return }

springSecurityService.clearCachedRequestmaps()

flash.message = "${message(code: 'default.created.message', args: [message(code: 'requestmap.label', default: 'Requestmap'), requestmapInstance.id])}" redirect action: 'show', id: requestmapInstance.id } }

4.4 Using Expressions to Create Descriptive, Fine-Grained Rules

Spring Security uses the Spring Expression Language (SpEL), which allows you to declare the rules for guarding URLs more descriptively than does the traditional approach, and also allows much more fine-grained rules. Where you traditionally would specify a list of role names and/or special tokens (for example, IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY), with Spring Security's expression support, you can instead use the embedded scripting language to define simple or complex access rules.

You can use expressions with any of the previously described approaches to securing application URLs. For example, consider this annotated controller:

package com.yourcompany.yourapp

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.annotation.Secured

class SecureController {

@Secured(["hasRole('ROLE_ADMIN')"]) def someAction() { … }

@Secured(["authentication.name == 'ralph'"]) def someOtherAction() { … } }

In this example, someAction requires ROLE_ADMIN, and someOtherAction requires that the user be logged in with username 'ralph'.

The corresponding Requestmap URLs would be

new Requestmap(url: "/secure/someAction",
               configAttribute: "hasRole('ROLE_ADMIN')").save()

new Requestmap(url: "/secure/someOtherAction", configAttribute: "authentication.name == 'ralph'").save()

and the corresponding static mappings would be

grails.plugin.springsecurity.interceptUrlMap = [
   '/secure/someAction':      ["hasRole('ROLE_ADMIN')"],
   '/secure/someOtherAction': ["authentication.name == 'ralph'"]
]

The Spring Security docs have a table listing the standard expressions, which is copied here for reference:

ExpressionDescription
hasRole(role)Returns true if the current principal has the specified role.
hasAnyRole([role1,role2])Returns true if the current principal has any of the supplied roles (given as a comma-separated list of strings)
principalAllows direct access to the principal object representing the current user
authenticationAllows direct access to the current Authentication object obtained from the SecurityContext
permitAllAlways evaluates to true
denyAllAlways evaluates to false
isAnonymous()Returns true if the current principal is an anonymous user
isRememberMe()Returns true if the current principal is a remember-me user
isAuthenticated()Returns true if the user is not anonymous
isFullyAuthenticated()Returns true if the user is not an anonymous or a remember-me user
requestthe HTTP request, allowing expressions such as "isFullyAuthenticated() or request.getMethod().equals('OPTIONS')"

In addition, you can use a web-specific expression hasIpAddress. However, you may find it more convenient to separate IP restrictions from role restrictions by using the IP address filter.

To help you migrate traditional configurations to expressions, this table compares various configurations and their corresponding expressions:

Traditional ConfigExpression
ROLE_ADMINhasRole('ROLE_ADMIN')
ROLE_USER,ROLE_ADMINhasAnyRole('ROLE_USER','ROLE_ADMIN')
ROLE_ADMIN,IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLYhasRole('ROLE_ADMIN') and isFullyAuthenticated()
IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLYpermitAll
IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBEREDisAuthenticated() or isRememberMe()
IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLYisFullyAuthenticated()

5 Helper Classes

Use the plugin helper classes in your application to avoid dealing with some lower-level details of Spring Security.

5.1 SecurityTagLib

The plugin includes GSP tags to support conditional display based on whether the user is authenticated, and/or has the required role to perform a particular action. These tags are in the sec namespace and are implemented in grails.plugin.springsecurity.SecurityTagLib.

ifLoggedIn

Displays the inner body content if the user is authenticated.

Example:

<sec:ifLoggedIn>
Welcome Back!
</sec:ifLoggedIn>

ifNotLoggedIn

Displays the inner body content if the user is not authenticated.

Example:

<sec:ifNotLoggedIn>
<g:link controller='login' action='auth'>Login</g:link>
</sec:ifNotLoggedIn>

ifAllGranted

Displays the inner body content only if all of the listed roles are granted.

Example:

<sec:ifAllGranted roles="ROLE_ADMIN,ROLE_SUPERVISOR">secure stuff here</sec:ifAllGranted>

ifAnyGranted

Displays the inner body content if at least one of the listed roles are granted.

Example:

<sec:ifAnyGranted roles="ROLE_ADMIN,ROLE_SUPERVISOR">secure stuff here</sec:ifAnyGranted>

ifNotGranted

Displays the inner body content if none of the listed roles are granted.

Example:

<sec:ifNotGranted roles="ROLE_USER">non-user stuff here</sec:ifNotGranted>

loggedInUserInfo

Displays the value of the specified authentication field if logged in. For example, to show the username property:

<sec:loggedInUserInfo field="username"/>

If you have customized the authentication to add a fullName property, you access it as follows:

Welcome Back <sec:loggedInUserInfo field="fullName"/>

username

Displays the value of the authentication username field if logged in.

<sec:ifLoggedIn>
Welcome Back <sec:username/>!
</sec:ifLoggedIn>
<sec:ifNotLoggedIn>
<g:link controller='login' action='auth'>Login</g:link>
</sec:ifNotLoggedIn>

ifSwitched

Displays the inner body content only if the current user switched from another user. (See also Switch User.)

<sec:ifLoggedIn>
Logged in as <sec:username/>
</sec:ifLoggedIn>

<sec:ifSwitched> <a href='${request.contextPath}/j_spring_security_exit_user'> Resume as <sec:switchedUserOriginalUsername/> </a> </sec:ifSwitched>

<sec:ifNotSwitched>

<sec:ifAllGranted roles='ROLE_SWITCH_USER'>

<form action='${request.contextPath}/j_spring_security_switch_user' method='POST'>

Switch to user: <input type='text' name='j_username'/><br/>

<input type='submit' value='Switch'/> </form>

</sec:ifAllGranted>

</sec:ifNotSwitched>

ifNotSwitched

Displays the inner body content only if the current user has not switched from another user.

switchedUserOriginalUsername

Renders the original user's username if the current user switched from another user.

<sec:ifSwitched>
<a href='${request.contextPath}/j_spring_security_exit_user'>
   Resume as <sec:switchedUserOriginalUsername/>
</a>
</sec:ifSwitched>

access

Renders the body if the specified expression evaluates to true or specified URL is allowed.

<sec:access expression="hasRole('ROLE_USER')">

You're a user

</sec:access>

<sec:access url="/admin/user">

<g:link controller='admin' action='user'>Manage Users</g:link>

</sec:access>

You can also guard access to links generated from controller and action names or named URL mappings instead of hard-coding the values, for example

<sec:access controller='admin' action='user'>

<g:link controller='admin' action='user'>Manage Users</g:link>

</sec:access>

or if you have a named URL mapping you can refer to that:

<sec:access mapping='manageUsers'>

<g:link mapping='manageUsers'>Manage Users</g:link>

</sec:access>

For even more control of the generated URL (still avoiding hard-coding) you can use createLink to build the URL, for example

<sec:access url='${createLink(controller: 'admin', action: 'user', base: "/")}'>

<g:link controller='admin' action='user'>Manage Users</g:link>

</sec:access>

Be sure to include the base: "/" attribute in this case to avoid appending the context name to the URL.

noAccess

Renders the body if the specified expression evaluates to false or URL isn't allowed.

<sec:noAccess expression="hasRole('ROLE_USER')">

You're not a user

</sec:noAccess>

5.2 SpringSecurityService

grails.plugin.springsecurity.SpringSecurityService provides security utility functions. It is a regular Grails service, so you use dependency injection to inject it into a controller, service, taglib, and so on:

def springSecurityService

getCurrentUser()

Retrieves a domain class instance for the currently authenticated user. During authentication a user/person domain class instance is loaded to get the user's password, roles, etc. and the id of the instance is saved. This method uses the id and the domain class to re-load the instance.

Example:

class SomeController {

def springSecurityService

def someAction() { def user = springSecurityService.currentUser … } }

isLoggedIn()

Checks whether there is a currently logged-in user.

Example:

class SomeController {

def springSecurityService

def someAction() { if (springSecurityService.isLoggedIn()) { … } else { … } } }

getAuthentication()

Retrieves the current user's Authentication. If authenticated, this will typically be a UsernamePasswordAuthenticationToken.

If not authenticated and the AnonymousAuthenticationFilter is active (true by default) then the anonymous user's authentication will be returned. This will be an instance of grails.plugin.springsecurity.authentication. GrailsAnonymousAuthenticationToken with a standard org.springframework.security.core.userdetails.User instance as its Principal. The authentication will have a single granted role, ROLE_ANONYMOUS.

Example:

class SomeController {

def springSecurityService

def someAction() { def auth = springSecurityService.authentication String username = auth.username def authorities = auth.authorities // a Collection of GrantedAuthority boolean authenticated = auth.authenticated … } }

getPrincipal()

Retrieves the currently logged in user's Principal. If authenticated, the principal will be a grails.plugin.springsecurity.userdetails.GrailsUser, unless you have created a custom UserDetailsService, in which case it will be whatever implementation of UserDetails you use there.

If not authenticated and the AnonymousAuthenticationFilter is active (true by default) then a standard org.springframework.security.core.userdetails.User is used.

Example:

class SomeController {

def springSecurityService

def someAction() { def principal = springSecurityService.principal String username = principal.username def authorities = principal.authorities // a Collection of GrantedAuthority boolean enabled = principal.enabled … } }

encodePassword()

Hashes a password with the configured hashing scheme. By default the plugin uses bcrypt, but you can configure the scheme with the grails.plugin.springsecurity.password.algorithm attribute in Config.groovy. The supported values are 'bcrypt' to use bcrypt, 'pbkdf2' to use PBKDF2, or any message digest algorithm that is supported in your JDK; see this Java page for the available algorithms.
You are strongly discouraged from using MD5 or SHA-1 algorithms because of their well-known vulnerabilities. You should also use a salt for your passwords, which greatly increases the computational complexity of decrypting passwords if your database gets compromised. See Salted Passwords.

Example:

class PersonController {

def springSecurityService

def updateAction() { def person = Person.get(params.id)

params.salt = person.salt if (person.password != params.password) { params.password = springSecurityService.encodePassword(password, salt) def salt = … // e.g. randomly generated using some utility method params.salt = salt } person.properties = params if (!person.save(flush: true)) { render view: 'edit', model: [person: person] return } redirect action: 'show', id: person.id } }

If you are hashing the password in the User domain class (using beforeInsert and encodePassword) then don't call springSecurityService.encodePassword() in your controller since you'll double-hash the password and users won't be able to log in. It's best to encapsulate the password handling logic in the domain class.

updateRole()

Updates a role and, if you use Requestmap instances to secure URLs, updates the role name in all affected Requestmap definitions if the name was changed.

Example:

class RoleController {

def springSecurityService

def update() { def roleInstance = Role.get(params.id) if (!springSecurityService.updateRole(roleInstance, params)) { render view: 'edit', model: [roleInstance: roleInstance] return }

flash.message = "The role was updated" redirect action: show, id: roleInstance.id } }

deleteRole()

Deletes a role and, if you use Requestmap instances to secure URLs, removes the role from all affected Requestmap definitions. If a Requestmap's config attribute is only the role name (for example, "/foo/bar/**=ROLE_FOO"), it is deleted.

Example:

class RoleController {

def springSecurityService

def delete() { def roleInstance = Role.get(params.id) try { springSecurityService.deleteRole (roleInstance flash.message = "The role was deleted" redirect action: list } catch (DataIntegrityViolationException e) { flash.message = "Unable to delete the role" redirect action: show, id: params.id } } }

clearCachedRequestmaps()

Flushes the Requestmaps cache and triggers a complete reload. If you use Requestmap instances to secure URLs, the plugin loads and caches all Requestmap instances as a performance optimization. This action saves database activity because the requestmaps are checked for each request. Do not allow the cache to become stale. When you create, edit or delete a Requestmap, flush the cache. Both updateRole() and deleteRole() call clearCachedRequestmaps()for you. Call this method when you create a new Requestmap or do other Requestmap work that affects the cache.

Example:

class RequestmapController {

def springSecurityService

def save() { def requestmapInstance = new Requestmap(params) if (!requestmapInstance.save(flush: true)) { render view: 'create', model: [requestmapInstance: requestmapInstance] return }

springSecurityService.clearCachedRequestmaps() flash.message = "Requestmap created" redirect action: show, id: requestmapInstance.id } }

reauthenticate()

Rebuilds an Authentication for the given username and registers it in the security context. You typically use this method after updating a user's authorities or other data that is cached in the Authentication or Principal. It also removes the user from the user cache to force a refresh at next login.

Example:

class UserController {

def springSecurityService

def update() { def userInstance = User.get(params.id)

params.salt = person.salt if (params.password) { params.password = springSecurityService.encodePassword(params.password, salt) def salt = … // e.g. randomly generated using some utility method params.salt = salt } userInstance.properties = params if (!userInstance.save(flush: true)) { render view: 'edit', model: [userInstance: userInstance] return }

if (springSecurityService.loggedIn && springSecurityService.principal.username == userInstance.username) { springSecurityService.reauthenticate userInstance.username }

flash.message = "The user was updated" redirect action: show, id: userInstance.id } }

5.3 SpringSecurityUtils

grails.plugin.springsecurity.SpringSecurityUtils is a utility class with static methods that you can call directly without using dependency injection. It is primarily an internal class but can be called from application code.

authoritiesToRoles()

Extracts role names from an array or Collection of GrantedAuthority.

getPrincipalAuthorities()

Retrieves the currently logged-in user's authorities. It is empty (but never null) if the user is not logged in.

parseAuthoritiesString()

Splits a comma-delimited String containing role names into a List of GrantedAuthority.

ifAllGranted()

Checks whether the current user has all specified roles (a comma-delimited String of role names). Primarily used by SecurityTagLib.ifAllGranted.

ifNotGranted()

Checks whether the current user has none of the specified roles (a comma-delimited String of role names). Primarily used by SecurityTagLib.ifNotGranted.

ifAnyGranted()

Checks whether the current user has any of the specified roles (a comma-delimited String of role names). Primarily used by SecurityTagLib.ifAnyGranted.

getSecurityConfig()

Retrieves the security part of the Configuration (from grails-app/conf/Config.groovy).

loadSecondaryConfig()

Used by dependent plugins to add configuration attributes.

reloadSecurityConfig()

Forces a reload of the security configuration.

isAjax()

Checks whether the request was triggered by an Ajax call. The standard way is to determine whether X-Requested-With request header is set and has the value XMLHttpRequest. In addition, you can configure the name of the header with the grails.plugin.springsecurity.ajaxHeader configuration attribute, but this is not recommended because all major JavaScript toolkits use the standard name. Further, you can register a closure in Config.groovy with the name ajaxCheckClosure that will be used to check if a request is an Ajax request. It is passed the request as its single argument, e.g.

grails.plugin.springsecurity.ajaxCheckClosure = { request ->
   // return true or false
}

You can also force the request to be treated as Ajax by appending &ajax=true to your request query string.

registerProvider()

Used by dependent plugins to register an AuthenticationProvider bean name.

registerFilter()

Used by dependent plugins to register a filter bean name in a specified position in the filter chain.

isSwitched()

Checks whether the current user switched from another user.

getSwitchedUserOriginalUsername()

Gets the original user's username if the current user switched from another user.

doWithAuth()

Executes a Closure with the current authentication. The one-parameter version which takes just a Closure assumes that there's an authentication in the HTTP Session and that the Closure is running in a separate thread from the web request, so the SecurityContext and Authentication aren't available to the standard ThreadLocal. This is primarily of use when you explicitly launch a new thread from a controller action or service called in request scope, not from a Quartz job which isn't associated with an authentication in any thread.

The two-parameter version takes a username and a Closure to authenticate as. This is will authenticate as the specified user and execute the closure with that authentication. It restores the authentication to the one that was active if it exists, or clears the context otherwise. This is similar to run-as and switch-user but is only local to the Closure.

6 Events

Spring Security fires application events after various security-related actions such as successful login, unsuccessful login, and so on. Spring Security uses two main event classes, AbstractAuthenticationEvent and AbstractAuthorizationEvent.

6.1 Event Notification

You can set up event notifications in two ways. The sections that follow describe each approach in more detail.
  • Register an event listener, ignoring events that do not interest you. Spring allows only partial event subscription; you use generics to register the class of events that interest you, and you are notified of that class and all subclasses.
  • Register one or more callback closures in grails-app/conf/Config.groovy that take advantage of the plugin's grails.plugin.springsecurity. SecurityEventListener. The listener does the filtering for you.

AuthenticationEventPublisher

Spring Security publishes events using an AuthenticationEventPublisher which in turn fire events using the ApplicationEventPublisher. By default no events are fired since the AuthenticationEventPublisher instance registered is a grails.plugin.springsecurity.authentication. NullAuthenticationEventPublisher. But you can enable event publishing by setting grails.plugin.springsecurity.useSecurityEventListener = true in grails-app/conf/Config.groovy.

You can use the useSecurityEventListener setting to temporarily disable and enable the callbacks, or enable them per-environment.

UsernameNotFoundException

Most authentication exceptions trigger an event with a similar name as described in this table:

ExceptionEvent
AccountExpiredExceptionAuthenticationFailureExpiredEvent
AuthenticationServiceExceptionAuthenticationFailureServiceExceptionEvent
LockedExceptionAuthenticationFailureLockedEvent
CredentialsExpiredExceptionAuthenticationFailureCredentialsExpiredEvent
DisabledExceptionAuthenticationFailureDisabledEvent
BadCredentialsExceptionAuthenticationFailureBadCredentialsEvent
UsernameNotFoundExceptionAuthenticationFailureBadCredentialsEvent
ProviderNotFoundExceptionAuthenticationFailureProviderNotFoundEvent

This holds for all exceptions except UsernameNotFoundException which triggers an AuthenticationFailureBadCredentialsEvent just like a BadCredentialsException. This is a good idea since it doesn't expose extra information - there's no differentiation between a bad password and a missing user. In addition, by default a missing user will trigger a BadCredentialsException for the same reasons. You can configure Spring Security to re-throw the original UsernameNotFoundException instead of converting it to a BadCredentialsException by setting grails.plugin.springsecurity.dao. hideUserNotFoundExceptions = false in grails-app/conf/Config.groovy.

Fortunately all subclasses of AbstractAuthenticationFailureEvent have a getException() method that gives you access to the exception that triggered the event, so you can use that to differentiate between a bad password and a missing user (if hideUserNotFoundExceptions=false).

6.2 Registering an Event Listener

Enable events with grails.plugin.springsecurity.useSecurityEventListener = true and create one or more Groovy or Java classes, for example:

package com.foo.bar

import org.springframework.context.ApplicationListener import org.springframework.security.authentication.event. AuthenticationSuccessEvent

class MySecurityEventListener implements ApplicationListener<AuthenticationSuccessEvent> {

void onApplicationEvent(AuthenticationSuccessEvent event) { // handle the event } }

Register the class in grails-app/conf/spring/resources.groovy:

import com.foo.bar.MySecurityEventListener

beans = { mySecurityEventListener(MySecurityEventListener) }

6.3 Registering Callback Closures

Alternatively, enable events with grails.plugin.springsecurity.useSecurityEventListener = true and register one or more callback closure(s) in grails-app/conf/Config.groovy and let SecurityEventListener do the filtering.

Implement the event handlers that you need, for example:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.useSecurityEventListener = true

grails.plugin.springsecurity. onInteractiveAuthenticationSuccessEvent = { e, appCtx -> // handle InteractiveAuthenticationSuccessEvent }

grails.plugin.springsecurity. onAbstractAuthenticationFailureEvent = { e, appCtx -> // handle AbstractAuthenticationFailureEvent }

grails.plugin.springsecurity. onAuthenticationSuccessEvent = { e, appCtx -> // handle AuthenticationSuccessEvent }

grails.plugin.springsecurity. onAuthenticationSwitchUserEvent = { e, appCtx -> // handle AuthenticationSwitchUserEvent }

grails.plugin.springsecurity. onAuthorizationEvent = { e, appCtx -> // handle AuthorizationEvent }

None of these closures are required; if none are configured, nothing will be called. Just implement the event handlers that you need.

Note: When a user authenticates, Spring Security initially fires an AuthenticationSuccessEvent. This event fires before the Authentication is registered in the SecurityContextHolder, which means that the springSecurityService methods that access the logged-in user will not work. Later in the processing a second event is fired, an InteractiveAuthenticationSuccessEvent, and when this happens the SecurityContextHolder will have the Authentication. Depending on your needs, you can implement a callback for either or both events.

7 User, Authority (Role), and Requestmap Properties

Properties you are most likely to be override are the User and Authority (and Requestmap if you use the database to store mappings) class and field names.

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
userLookup.userDomainClassName'Person'User class name.
userLookup.usernamePropertyName'username'User class username field.
userLookup.passwordPropertyName'password'User class password field.
userLookup.authoritiesPropertyName'authorities'User class role collection field.
userLookup.enabledPropertyName'enabled'User class enabled field.
userLookup.accountExpiredPropertyName'accountExpired'User class account expired field.
userLookup.accountLockedPropertyName'accountLocked'User class account locked field.
userLookup.passwordExpiredPropertyName'passwordExpired'User class password expired field.
userLookup.authorityJoinClassName'PersonAuthority'User/Role many-many join class name.
authority.className'Authority'Role class name.
authority.nameField'authority'Role class role name field.
requestMap.className'Requestmap'Requestmap class name.
requestMap.urlField'url'Requestmap class URL pattern field.
requestMap.configAttributeField'configAttribute'Requestmap class role/token field.

8 Authentication

The Spring Security plugin supports several approaches to authentication.

The default approach stores users and roles in your database, and uses an HTML login form which prompts the user for a username and password. The plugin also supports other approaches as described in the sections below, as well as add-on plugins that provide external authentication providers such as OpenID, LDAP, and single sign-on using CAS

8.1 Basic and Digest Authentication

To use HTTP Basic Authentication in your application, set the useBasicAuth attribute to true. Also change the basic.realmName default value to one that suits your application, for example:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.useBasicAuth = true
grails.plugin.springsecurity.basic.realmName = "Ralph's Bait and Tackle"

PropertyDefaultDescription
useBasicAuthfalseWhether to use basic authentication.
basic.realmName'Grails Realm'Realm name displayed in the browser authentication popup.
basic. credentialsCharset'UTF-8'The character set used to decode Base64-encoded data

With this authentication in place, users are prompted with the standard browser login dialog instead of being redirected to a login page.

If you don't want all of your URLs guarded by Basic Auth, you can partition the URL patterns and apply Basic Auth to some, but regular form login to others. For example, if you have a web service that uses Basic Auth for /webservice/** URLs, you would configure that using the chainMap config attribute:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.filterChain.chainMap = [
   '/webservice/**': 'JOINED_FILTERS,-exceptionTranslationFilter',
   '/**': 'JOINED_FILTERS,-basicAuthenticationFilter,-basicExceptionTranslationFilter'
]

In this example we're using the JOINED_FILTERS keyword instead of explicitly listing the filter names. Specifying JOINED_FILTERS means to use all of the filters that were configured using the various config options. In each case we also specify that we want to exclude one or more filters by prefixing their names with -.

For the /webservice/** URLs, we want all filters except for the standard ExceptionTranslationFilter since we want to use just the one configured for Basic Auth. And for the /** URLs (everything else) we want everything except for the Basic Auth filter and its configured ExceptionTranslationFilter.

Digest Authentication is similar to Basic but is more secure because it does not send your password in obfuscated cleartext. Digest resembles Basic in practice - you get the same browser popup dialog when you authenticate. But because the credential transfer is genuinely hashed (instead of just Base64-encoded as with Basic authentication) you do not need SSL to guard your logins.

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
useDigestAuthfalseWhether to use Digest authentication.
digest.realmName'Grails Realm'Realm name displayed in the browser popup
digest.key'changeme'Key used to build the nonce for authentication; it should be changed but that's not required.
digest. nonceValiditySeconds300How long a nonce stays valid.
digest. passwordAlreadyEncodedfalseWhether you are managing the password hashing yourself.
digest. createAuthenticatedTokenfalseIf true, creates an authenticated UsernamePasswordAuthenticationToken to avoid loading the user from the database twice. However, this process skips the isAccountNonExpired(), isAccountNonLocked(), isCredentialsNonExpired(), isEnabled() checks, so it is not advised.
digest. useCleartextPasswordsfalseIf true, a cleartext password encoder is used (not recommended). If false, passwords hashed by DigestAuthPasswordEncoder are stored in the database.

Digest authentication has a problem in that by default you store cleartext passwords in your database. This is because the browser hashes your password along with the username and Realm name, and this is compared to the password hashed using the same algorithm during authentication. The browser does not know about your MessageDigest algorithm or salt source, so to hash them the same way you need to load a cleartext password from the database.

The plugin does provide an alternative, although it has no configuration options (in particular the digest algorithm cannot be changed). If digest.useCleartextPasswords is false (the default), then the passwordEncoder bean is replaced with an instance of grails.plugin.springsecurity.authentication.encoding. DigestAuthPasswordEncoder. This encoder uses the same approach as the browser, that is, it combines your password along with your username and Realm name essentially as a salt, and hashes with MD5. MD5 is not recommended in general, but given the typical size of the salt it is reasonably safe to use.

The only required attribute is useDigestAuth, which you must set to true, but you probably also want to change the realm name:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.useDigestAuth = true
grails.plugin.springsecurity.digest.realmName = "Ralph's Bait and Tackle"

Digest authentication cannot be applied to a subset of URLs like Basic authentication can. This is due to the password encoding issues. So you cannot use the chainMap attribute here - all URLs will be guarded.

Note that since the Digest auth password encoder is different from the typical encoders you must to pass the username as the "salt" value. The generated User class uses springSecurityService which assumes you're not using a salt value. If you use the generated code in the User class to encode your password, change the dependency injection for springSecurityService with one for the passwordEncoder bean instead:
transient passwordEncoder

and change the code in encodePassword() from

password = springSecurityService.encodePassword(password)

to

password = passwordEncoder.encodePassword(password, username)

8.2 Certificate (X509) Login Authentication

Another authentication mechanism supported by Spring Security is certificate-based, or "mutual authentication". It requires HTTPS, and you must configure the server to require a client certificate (ordinarily only the server provides a certificate). Your username is extracted from the client certificate if it is valid, and you are "pre-authenticated". As long as a corresponding username exists in the database, your authentication succeeds and you are not asked for a password. Your Authentication contains the authorities associated with your username.

The table describes available configuration options.

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
useX509falseWhether to support certificate-based logins
x509.continueFilterChainOn UnsuccessfulAuthenticationtrueWhether to proceed when an authentication attempt fails to allow other authentication mechanisms to process the request.
x509.subjectDnRegex'CN=(.*?)(?:,|$)'Regular expression (regex) for extracting the username from the certificate's subject name.
x509.checkForPrincipalChangesfalseWhether to re-extract the username from the certificate and check that it's still the current user when a valid Authentication already exists.
x509.invalidateSessionOn PrincipalChangetrueWhether to invalidate the session if the principal changed (based on a checkForPrincipalChanges check).
x509.subjectDnClosurenoneIf set, the plugin's ClosureX509PrincipalExtractor class is used to extract information from the X.509 certificate using the specified closure
x509. throwException WhenTokenRejectedfalseIf true thrown a BadCredentialsException

The details of configuring your server for SSL and configuring browser certificates are beyond the scope of this document. If you use Tomcat, see its SSL documentation. To get a test environment working, see the instructions in this discussion at Stack Overflow.

8.3 Remember-Me Cookie

Spring Security supports creating a remember-me cookie so that users are not required to log in with a username and password for each session. This is optional and is usually implemented as a checkbox on the login form; the default auth.gsp supplied by the plugin has this feature.

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
rememberMe.cookieName'grails_remember_me'remember-me cookie name; should be unique per application.
rememberMe. alwaysRememberfalseIf true, create a remember-me cookie even if no checkbox is on the form.
rememberMe. tokenValiditySeconds1209600 (14 days)Max age of the cookie in seconds.
rememberMe.parameter'_spring_security_remember_me'Login form remember-me checkbox name.
rememberMe.key'grailsRocks'Value used to encode cookies; should be unique per application.
rememberMe.useSecureCookienoneWhether to use a secure cookie or not; if true a secure cookie is created, if false a non-secure cookie is created, and if not set, a secure cookie is created if the request used HTTPS
rememberMe. createSessionOnSuccesstrueWhether to create a session of one doesn't exist to ensure that the Authentication is stored for future requests
rememberMe.persistentfalseIf true, stores persistent login information in the database.
rememberMe.persistentToken. domainClassNamenoneDomain class used to manage persistent logins.
rememberMe.persistentToken. seriesLength16Number of characters in the cookie's series attribute.
rememberMe.persistentToken. tokenLength16Number of characters in the cookie's token attribute.
atr.rememberMeClassRememberMeAuthenticationTokenremember-me authentication class.

You are most likely to change these attributes:

  • rememberMe.cookieName. Purely aesthetic as most users will not look at their cookies, but you probably want the display name to be application-specific rather than "grails_remember_me".
  • rememberMe.key. Part of a salt when the cookie is encrypted. Changing the default makes it harder to execute brute-force attacks.
  • rememberMe.tokenValiditySeconds. Default is two weeks; set it to what makes sense for your application.

Persistent Logins

The remember-me cookie is very secure, but for an even stronger solution you can use persistent logins that store the username in the database. See the Spring Security docs for a description of the implementation.

Persistent login is also useful for authentication schemes like OpenID and Facebook, where you do not manage passwords in your database, but most of the other user information is stored locally. Without a password you cannot use the standard cookie format, so persistent logins enable remember-me cookies in these scenarios.

To use this feature, run the s2-create-persistent-token script. This will create the domain class, and register its name in grails-app/conf/Config.groovy. It will also enable persistent logins by setting rememberMe.persistent to true.

8.4 Ajax Authentication

The typical pattern of using web site authentication to access restricted pages involves intercepting access requests for secure pages, redirecting to a login page (possibly off-site, for example when using OpenID or a Single Sign-on implementation such as CAS), and redirecting back to the originally-requested page after a successful login. Each page can also have a login link to allow explicit logins at any time.

Another option is to also have a login link on each page and to use Ajax and DHTML to present a login form within the current page in a popup. The form submits the authentication request through Ajax and displays success or error messages as appropriate.

The plugin supports Ajax logins, but you need to create your own GSP code. There are only a few necessary changes, and of course the sample code here is pretty basic so you should enhance it for your needs.

The approach here involves editing your template page(s) to show "You're logged in as ..." text if logged in and a login link if not, along with a hidden login form that is shown using DHTML.

Here's the updated grails-app/views/layouts/main.gsp:

<html>

<head> <title><g:layoutTitle default="Grails" /></title> <link rel="stylesheet" href="${resource(dir:'css',file:'main.css')}" /> <link rel="shortcut icon" type="image/x-icon" href="${resource(dir:'images',file:'favicon.ico')}" /> <g:layoutHead /> </head>

<body>

<div id="spinner" class="spinner" style="display:none;"> <img src="${resource(dir:'images',file:'spinner.gif')}" alt="Spinner" /> </div>

<div id="grailsLogo" class="logo"> <a href="http://grails.org"> <img src="${resource(dir:'images',file:'grails_logo.png')}" alt="Grails" border="0" /> </a>

<span id='loginLink' style='position: relative; margin-right: 30px; float: right'> <sec:ifLoggedIn> Logged in as <sec:username/> (<g:link controller='logout'>Logout</g:link>) </sec:ifLoggedIn> <sec:ifNotLoggedIn> <a href='#' onclick='showLogin(); return false;'>Login</a> </sec:ifNotLoggedIn> </span>

</div>

<g:javascript src='application.js' /> <g:javascript library='prototype' /> <g:javascript src='prototype/scriptaculous.js?load=effects' />

<g:render template='/includes/ajaxLogin'/>

<g:layoutBody />

</body> </html>

Note these changes:

  • The prototype and scriptaculous libraries are included for Ajax support and to hide and show the login form.
  • There is an include of the template /includes/ajaxLogin (see the code below).
  • There is a <span> positioned in the top-right that shows the username and a logout link when logged in, and a login link otherwise.

Here is the content of the login form template (grails-app/views/includes/_ajaxLogin.gsp). The CSS and Javascript are shown inline, but you should extract them to their own static files.

<style>
#ajaxLogin {
   margin: 15px 0px; padding: 0px;
   text-align: center;
   display: none;
   position: absolute;
}
#ajaxLogin .inner {
   width: 260px;
   margin:0px auto;
   text-align:left;
   padding:10px;
   border-top:1px dashed #499ede;
   border-bottom:1px dashed #499ede;
   background-color:#EEF;
}
#ajaxLogin .inner .fheader {
   padding:4px;margin:3px 0px 3px 0;color:#2e3741;font-size:14px;font-weight:bold;
}
#ajaxLogin .inner .cssform p {
   clear: left;
   margin: 0;
   padding: 5px 0 8px 0;
   padding-left: 105px;
   border-top: 1px dashed gray;
   margin-bottom: 10px;
   height: 1%;
}
#ajaxLogin .inner .cssform input[type='text'] {
   width: 120px;
}
#ajaxLogin .inner .cssform label{
   font-weight: bold;
   float: left;
   margin-left: -105px;
   width: 100px;
}
#ajaxLogin .inner .login_message {color:red;}
#ajaxLogin .inner .text_ {width:120px;}
#ajaxLogin .inner .chk {height:12px;}
.errorMessage { color: red; }
</style>

<div id='ajaxLogin'> <div class='inner'> <div class='fheader'>Please Login..</div> <form action='${request.contextPath}/j_spring_security_check' method='POST' id='ajaxLoginForm' name='ajaxLoginForm' class='cssform'> <p> <label for='username'>Login ID</label> <input type='text' class='text_' name='j_username' id='username' /> </p> <p> <label for='password'>Password</label> <input type='password' class='text_' name='j_password' id='password' /> </p> <p> <label for='remember_me'>Remember me</label> <input type='checkbox' class='chk' id='remember_me' name='_spring_security_remember_me'/> </p> <p> <a href='javascript:void(0)' onclick='authAjax(); return false;'>Login</a> <a href='javascript:void(0)' onclick='cancelLogin(); return false;'>Cancel</a> </p> </form> <div style='display: none; text-align: left;' id='loginMessage'></div> </div> </div>

<script type='text/javascript'>

// center the form Event.observe(window, 'load', function() { var ajaxLogin = $('ajaxLogin'); $('ajaxLogin').style.left = ((document.body.getDimensions().width - ajaxLogin.getDimensions().width) / 2) + 'px'; $('ajaxLogin').style.top = ((document.body.getDimensions().height - ajaxLogin.getDimensions().height) / 2) + 'px'; });

function showLogin() { $('ajaxLogin').style.display = 'block'; }

function cancelLogin() { Form.enable(document.ajaxLoginForm); Element.hide('ajaxLogin'); }

function authAjax() { Form.enable(document.ajaxLoginForm); Element.update('loginMessage', 'Sending request ...'); Element.show('loginMessage');

var form = document.ajaxLoginForm; var params = Form.serialize(form); Form.disable(form); new Ajax.Request(form.action, { method: 'POST', postBody: params, onSuccess: function(response) { Form.enable(document.ajaxLoginForm); var responseText = response.responseText || '[]'; var json = responseText.evalJSON(); if (json.success) { Element.hide('ajaxLogin'); $('loginLink').update('Logged in as ' + json.username + ' (<%=link(controller: 'logout') { 'Logout' }%>)'); } else if (json.error) { Element.update('loginMessage', "<span class='errorMessage'>" + json.error + '</error>'); } else { Element.update('loginMessage', responseText); } } }); } </script>

The important aspects of this code are:

  • The form posts to the same URL as the regular form, j_spring_security_check. In fact, the form is identical, including the remember-me checkbox, except that the submit button is replaced with a hyperlink.
  • Error messages are displayed within the popup <div>.
  • Because there is no page redirect after successful login, the Javascript replaces the login link to give a visual indication that the user is logged in.
  • Details of logout are not shown; you do this by redirecting the user to /j_spring_security_logout.

How Does Ajax login Work?

Most Ajax libraries (Prototype, JQuery, and Dojo as of v2.1) include an X-Requested-With header that indicates that the request was made by XMLHttpRequest instead of being triggered by clicking a regular hyperlink or form submit button. The plugin uses this header to detect Ajax login requests, and uses subclasses of some of Spring Security's classes to use different redirect urls for Ajax requests than regular requests. Instead of showing full pages, LoginController has JSON-generating methods ajaxSuccess(), ajaxDenied(), and authfail() that generate JSON that the login Javascript code can use to appropriately display success or error messages.

You can see the Ajax-aware actions in LoginController, specifically ajaxSuccess and ajaxDenied, which send JSON responses that can be used by client JavaScript code. Also authfail will check whether the authentication request used Ajax and will render a JSON error response if it did.

To summarize, the typical flow would be

  • click the link to display the login form
  • enter authentication details and click login
  • the form is submitted using an Ajax request
  • if the authentication succeeds:
    • a redirect to /login/ajaxSuccess occurs (this URL is configurable)
    • the rendered response is JSON and it contains two values, a boolean value success with the value true and a string value username with the authenticated user's login name
    • the client determines that the login was successful and updates the page to indicate the the user is logged in; this is necessary since there's no page redirect like there would be for a non-Ajax login
  • if the authentication fails:
    • a redirect to /login/authfail?ajax=true occurs (this URL is configurable)
    • the rendered response is JSON and it contains one value, a string value error with the displayable error message; this will be different depending on why the login was unsuccessful (bad username or password, account locked, etc.)
    • the client determines that the login was not successful and displays the error message
  • note that both a successful and an unsuccessful login will trigger the onSuccess Ajax callback; the onError callback will only be triggered if there's an exception or network issue

Triggering an Ajax login

So far we've discussed explicit Ajax logins where the user can view some of the site's pages but you've added a link to an in-page login form. An attempt to load a secure page will trigger a redirect to the standard login page. But if you're using Ajax in your pages you should handle the case where the request is secure and requires being logged in. This will also handle session timeouts where the user doesn't have a remember-me cookie; you can pop up a login dialog in the page.

For example consider this Ajax form:

<g:form action="ajaxAdd">
   <g:textArea id='postContent' name="content"
               rows="3" cols="50" onkeydown="updateCounter()" />
   <br/>
   <g:submitToRemote value="Post"
      url="[controller: 'post', action: 'addPostAjax']"
      update="[success: 'firstPost']"
      onSuccess="clearPost(e)"
      onLoading="showSpinner(true)"
      onComplete="showSpinner(false)"
      on401="showLogin();"/>
      <img id="spinner" style="display: none"
           src="<g:createLinkTo dir='/images' file='spinner.gif'/>"
   />
</g:form>

Most of the attributes are typical, but the on401 attribute is the key to making Ajax logins work. As long as the LoginController sends a 401 error code the need to authenticate can be easily handled.

Note that depending on the version of the plugin that you're using, you may need to add the authAjax method to your LoginController:

def authAjax() {
   response.setHeader 'Location', SpringSecurityUtils.securityConfig.auth.ajaxLoginFormUrl
   response.sendError HttpServletResponse.SC_UNAUTHORIZED
}

and this requires an import for javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse.

9 Authentication Providers

The plugin registers authentication providers that perform authentication by implementing the AuthenticationProvider interface.

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
providerNames['daoAuthenticationProvider', 'anonymousAuthenticationProvider', 'rememberMeAuthenticationProvider']Bean names of authentication providers.

Use daoAuthenticationProvider to authenticate using the User and Role database tables, rememberMeAuthenticationProvider to log in with a rememberMe cookie, and anonymousAuthenticationProvider to create an 'anonymous' authentication if no other provider authenticates.

To customize this list, you define a providerNames attribute with a list of bean names. The beans must be declared either by the plugin, or yourself in resources.groovy or resources.xml. Suppose you have a custom MyAuthenticationProvider in resources.groovy:

beans = {
   myAuthenticationProvider(com.foo.MyAuthenticationProvider) {
      // attributes
   }
}

You register the provider in grails-app/conf/Config.groovy as:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.providerNames = [
   'myAuthenticationProvider',
   'anonymousAuthenticationProvider',
   'rememberMeAuthenticationProvider']

10 Custom UserDetailsService

When you authenticate users from a database using DaoAuthenticationProvider (the default mode in the plugin if you have not enabled OpenID, LDAP, and so on), an implementation of UserDetailsService is required. This class is responsible for returning a concrete implementation of UserDetails. The plugin provides grails.plugin.springsecurity.userdetails. GormUserDetailsService as its UserDetailsService implementation and grails.plugin.springsecurity.userdetails. GrailsUser (which extends Spring Security's User) as its UserDetails implementation.

You can extend or replace GormUserDetailsService with your own implementation by defining a bean in grails-app/conf/spring/resources.groovy (or resources.xml) with the same bean name, userDetailsService. This works because application beans are configured after plugin beans and there can only be one bean for each name. The plugin uses an extension of UserDetailsService, grails.plugin.springsecurity.userdetails. GrailsUserDetailsService, which adds the method UserDetails loadUserByUsername(String username, boolean loadRoles) to support use cases like in LDAP where you often infer all roles from LDAP but might keep application-specific user details in the database.

In the following example, the UserDetails and GrailsUserDetailsService implementation adds the full name of the user domain class in addition to the standard information. If you extract extra data from your domain class, you are less likely to need to reload the user from the database. Most of your common data can be kept along with your security credentials.

This example adds in a fullName field. Keeping the full name cached avoids hitting the database just for that lookup. GrailsUser already adds the id value from the domain class to so we can do a more efficient database load of the user. If all you have is the username, then you need to call User.findByUsername(principal.username), but if you have the id you can call User.get(principal.id). Even if you have a unique index on the username database column, loading by primary key is usually more efficient because it takes advantage of Hibernate's first-level and second-level caches.

There is not much to implement other than your application-specific lookup code:

package com.mycompany.myapp

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.userdetails.GrailsUser

import org.springframework.security.core.GrantedAuthority import org.springframework.security.core.userdetails.User

class MyUserDetails extends GrailsUser {

final String fullName

MyUserDetails(String username, String password, boolean enabled, boolean accountNonExpired, boolean credentialsNonExpired, boolean accountNonLocked, Collection<GrantedAuthority> authorities, long id, String fullName) { super(username, password, enabled, accountNonExpired, credentialsNonExpired, accountNonLocked, authorities, id)

this.fullName = fullName } }

package com.mycompany.myapp

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.SpringSecurityUtils import grails.plugin.springsecurity.userdetails.GrailsUser import grails.plugin.springsecurity.userdetails.GrailsUserDetailsService import org.springframework.security.core.authority.GrantedAuthorityImpl import org.springframework.security.core.userdetails.UserDetails import org.springframework.security.core.userdetails.UsernameNotFoundException

class MyUserDetailsService implements GrailsUserDetailsService {

/** * Some Spring Security classes (e.g. RoleHierarchyVoter) expect at least * one role, so we give a user with no granted roles this one which gets * past that restriction but doesn't grant anything. */ static final List NO_ROLES = [new GrantedAuthorityImpl(SpringSecurityUtils.NO_ROLE)]

UserDetails loadUserByUsername(String username, boolean loadRoles) throws UsernameNotFoundException { return loadUserByUsername(username) }

UserDetails loadUserByUsername(String username) throws UsernameNotFoundException {

User.withTransaction { status ->

User user = User.findByUsername(username) if (!user) throw new UsernameNotFoundException( 'User not found', username)

def authorities = user.authorities.collect { new GrantedAuthorityImpl(it.authority) }

return new MyUserDetails(user.username, user.password, user.enabled, !user.accountExpired, !user.passwordExpired, !user.accountLocked, authorities ?: NO_ROLES, user.id, user.firstName + " " + user.lastName) } } }

The lookup code is wrapped in a withTransaction block to avoid lazy loading exceptions when accessing the authorities collection. There are obviously no database updates here but this is a convenient way to keep the Hibernate Session open to enable accessing the roles.

To use your implementation, register it in grails-app/conf/spring/resources.groovy like this:

beans = {
   userDetailsService(com.mycompany.myapp.MyUserDetailsService)
}

Another option for loading users and roles from the database is to subclass grails.plugin.springsecurity.userdetails. GormUserDetailsService - the methods are all protected so you can override as needed.

This approach works with all beans defined in SpringSecurityCoreGrailsPlugin.doWithSpring() - you can replace or subclass any of the Spring beans to provide your own functionality when the standard extension mechanisms are insufficient.

Flushing the Cached Authentication

If you store mutable data in your custom UserDetails implementation (such as full name in the preceding example), be sure to rebuild the Authentication if it changes. springSecurityService has a reauthenticate method that does this for you:

class MyController {

def springSecurityService

def someAction() { def user = … // update user data user.save() springSecurityService.reauthenticate user.username … } }

11 Password and Account Protection

The sections that follow discuss approaches to protecting passwords and user accounts.

11.1 Password Hashing

By default the plugin uses the bcrypt algorithm to hash passwords. You can customize this with the grails.plugin.springsecurity.password.algorithm attribute as described below. In addition you can increase the security of your passwords by adding a salt, which can be a field of the UserDetails instance, a global static value, or any custom value you want.

bcrypt is a much more secure alternative to the message digest approaches since it supports a customizable work level which when increased takes more computation time to hash the users' passwords, but also dramatically increases the cost of brute force attacks. Given how easy it is to use GPUs to crack passwords, you should definitely consider using bcrypt for new projects and switching to it for existing projects. Note that due to the approach used by bcrypt, you cannot add an additional salt like you can with the message digest algorithms.

Enable bcrypt by using the 'bcrypt' value for the algorithm config attribute:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.password.algorithm = 'bcrypt'

and optionally changing the number of rekeying rounds (which will affect the time it takes to hash passwords), e.g.

grails.plugin.springsecurity.password.bcrypt.logrounds = 15

Note that the number of rounds must be between 4 and 31.

PBKDF2 is also supported.

The table shows configurable password hashing attributes.

If you want to use a message digest hashing algorithm, see this Java page for the available algorithms.

PropertyDefaultDescription
password.algorithm'bcrypt'passwordEncoder algorithm; 'bcrypt' to use bcrypt, 'pbkdf2' to use PBKDF2, or any message digest algorithm that is supported in your JDK
password.encodeHashAsBase64falseIf true, Base64-encode the hashed password.
password.bcrypt.logrounds10the number of rekeying rounds to use when using bcrypt
password.hash.iterations10000the number of iterations which will be executed on the hashed password/salt.

11.2 Salted Passwords

The Spring Security plugin uses hashed passwords and a digest algorithm that you specify. For enhanced protection against dictionary attacks, you should use a salt in addition to digest hashing.

There are two approaches to using salted passwords in the plugin - defining a field in the UserDetails class to access by reflection, or by directly implementing SaltSource yourself.

dao.reflectionSaltSourceProperty

Set the dao.reflectionSaltSourceProperty configuration property:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.dao.reflectionSaltSourceProperty = 'username'

This property belongs to the UserDetails class. By default it is an instance of grails.plugin.springsecurity.userdetails.GrailsUser, which extends the standard Spring Security User class and not your 'person' domain class. This limits the available fields unless you use a custom UserDetailsService.

As long as the username does not change, this approach works well for the salt. If you choose a property that the user can change, the user cannot log in again after changing it unless you re-hash the password with the new value. So it's best to use a property that doesn't change.

Another option is to generate a random salt when creating users and store this in the database by adding a new field to the 'person' class. This approach requires a custom UserDetailsService because you need a custom UserDetails implementation that also has a 'salt' property, but this is more flexible and works in cases where users can change their username.

SystemWideSaltSource and Custom SaltSource

Spring Security supplies a simple SaltSource implementation, SystemWideSaltSource, which uses the same salt for each user. It's less robust than using a different value for each user but still better than no salt at all.

An example override of the salt source bean using SystemWideSaltSource would look like this:

import org.springframework.security.authentication.dao.SystemWideSaltSource
beans = {
   saltSource(SystemWideSaltSource) {
      systemWideSalt = 'the_salt_value'
   }
}

To have full control over the process, you can implement the SaltSource interface and replace the plugin's implementation with your own by defining a bean in grails-app/conf/spring/resources.groovy with the name saltSource:

beans = {
   saltSource(com.foo.bar.MySaltSource) {
      // set properties
   }
}

Hashing Passwords

Regardless of the implementation, you need to be aware of what value to use for a salt when creating or updating users, for example, in a UserController's save or update action. When hashing the password, you use the two-parameter version of springSecurityService.encodePassword():

class UserController {

def springSecurityService

def save() { def userInstance = new User(params) userInstance.password = springSecurityService.encodePassword( params.password, userInstance.username) if (!userInstance.save(flush: true)) { render view: 'create', model: [userInstance: userInstance] return }

flash.message = "The user was created" redirect action: show, id: userInstance.id }

def update() { def userInstance = User.get(params.id)

if (params.password) { params.password = springSecurityService.encodePassword( params.password, userInstance.username) } userInstance.properties = params if (!userInstance.save(flush: true)) { render view: 'edit', model: [userInstance: userInstance] return }

if (springSecurityService.loggedIn && springSecurityService.principal.username == userInstance.username) { springSecurityService.reauthenticate userInstance.username }

flash.message = "The user was updated" redirect action: show, id: userInstance.id } }

If you are encoding the password in the User domain class (using beforeInsert and encodePassword) then don't call springSecurityService.encodePassword() in your controller since you'll double-hash the password and users won't be able to log in. It's best to encapsulate the password handling logic in the domain class. In newer versions of the plugin (version 1.2 and higher) code is auto-generated in the user class so you'll need to adjust that password hashing for your salt approach.

11.3 Account Locking and Forcing Password Change

Spring Security supports four ways of disabling a user account. When you attempt to log in, the UserDetailsService implementation creates an instance of UserDetails that uses these accessor methods:
  • isAccountNonExpired()
  • isAccountNonLocked()
  • isCredentialsNonExpired()
  • isEnabled()

If you use the s2-quickstart script to create a user domain class, it creates a class with corresponding properties to manage this state.

When an accessor returns true for accountExpired, accountLocked, or passwordExpired or returns false for enabled, a corresponding exception is thrown:

AccessorPropertyException
isAccountNonExpired()accountExpiredAccountExpiredException
isAccountNonLocked()accountLockedLockedException
isCredentialsNonExpired()passwordExpiredCredentialsExpiredException
isEnabled()enabledDisabledException

You can configure an exception mapping in Config.groovy to associate a URL to any or all of these exceptions to determine where to redirect after a failure, for example:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.failureHandler.exceptionMappings = [
   'org.springframework.security.authentication.LockedException':             '/user/accountLocked',
   'org.springframework.security.authentication.DisabledException':           '/user/accountDisabled',
   'org.springframework.security.authentication.AccountExpiredException':     '/user/accountExpired',
   'org.springframework.security.authentication.CredentialsExpiredException': '/user/passwordExpired'
]

Without a mapping for a particular exception, the user is redirected to the standard login fail page (by default /login/authfail), which displays an error message from this table:

PropertyDefault
errors.login.disabled"Sorry, your account is disabled."
errors.login.expired"Sorry, your account has expired."
errors.login.passwordExpired"Sorry, your password has expired."
errors.login.locked"Sorry, your account is locked."
errors.login.fail"Sorry, we were not able to find a user with that username and password."

You can customize these messages by setting the corresponding property in Config.groovy, for example:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.errors.login.locked = "None shall pass."

You can use this functionality to manually lock a user's account or expire the password, but you can automate the process. For example, use the Quartz plugin to periodically expire everyone's password and force them to go to a page where they update it. Keep track of the date when users change their passwords and use a Quartz job to expire their passwords once the password is older than a fixed max age.

Here's an example for a password expired workflow. You'd need a simple action to display a password reset form (similar to the login form):

def passwordExpired() {
   [username: session['SPRING_SECURITY_LAST_USERNAME']]
}

and the form would look something like this:

<div id='login'>
   <div class='inner'>
      <g:if test='${flash.message}'>
      <div class='login_message'>${flash.message}</div>
      </g:if>
      <div class='fheader'>Please update your password..</div>
      <g:form action='updatePassword' id='passwordResetForm' class='cssform' autocomplete='off'>
         <p>
            <label for='username'>Username</label>
            <span class='text_'>${username}</span>
         </p>
         <p>
            <label for='password'>Current Password</label>
            <g:passwordField name='password' class='text_' />
         </p>
         <p>
            <label for='password'>New Password</label>
            <g:passwordField name='password_new' class='text_' />
         </p>
         <p>
            <label for='password'>New Password (again)</label>
            <g:passwordField name='password_new_2' class='text_' />
         </p>
         <p>
            <input type='submit' value='Reset' />
         </p>
      </g:form>
   </div>
</div>

It's important that you not allow the user to specify the username (it's available in the HTTP session) but that you require the current password, otherwise it would be simple to forge a password reset.

The GSP form would submit to an action like this one:

def updatePassword() {
   String username = session['SPRING_SECURITY_LAST_USERNAME']
   if (!username) {
      flash.message = 'Sorry, an error has occurred'
      redirect controller: 'login', action: 'auth'
      return
   }

String password = params.password String newPassword = params.password_new String newPassword2 = params.password_new_2 if (!password || !newPassword || !newPassword2 || newPassword != newPassword2) { flash.message = 'Please enter your current password and a valid new password' render view: 'passwordExpired', model: [username: session['SPRING_SECURITY_LAST_USERNAME']] return }

User user = User.findByUsername(username) if (!passwordEncoder.isPasswordValid(user.password, password, null /*salt*/)) { flash.message = 'Current password is incorrect' render view: 'passwordExpired', model: [username: session['SPRING_SECURITY_LAST_USERNAME']] return }

if (passwordEncoder.isPasswordValid(user.password, newPassword, null /*salt*/)) { flash.message = 'Please choose a different password from your current one' render view: 'passwordExpired', model: [username: session['SPRING_SECURITY_LAST_USERNAME']] return }

user.password = newPassword user.passwordExpired = false user.save() // if you have password constraints check them here

redirect controller: 'login', action: 'auth' }

User Cache

If the cacheUsers configuration property is set to true, Spring Security caches UserDetails instances to save trips to the database. (The default is false.) This optimization is minor, because typically only two small queries occur during login -- one to load the user, and one to load the authorities.

If you enable this feature, you must remove any cached instances after making a change that affects login. If you do not remove cached instances, even though a user's account is locked or disabled, logins succeed because the database is bypassed. By removing the cached data, you force at trip to the database to retrieve the latest updates.

Here is a sample Quartz job that demonstrates how to find and disable users with passwords that are too old:

package com.mycompany.myapp

class ExpirePasswordsJob {

static triggers = { cron name: 'myTrigger', cronExpression: '0 0 0 * * ?' // midnight daily }

def userCache

void execute() {

def users = User.executeQuery( 'from User u where u.passwordChangeDate <= :cutoffDate', [cutoffDate: new Date() - 180])

for (user in users) { // flush each separately so one failure doesn't rollback all of the others try { user.passwordExpired = true user.save(flush: true) userCache.removeUserFromCache user.username } catch (e) { log.error "problem expiring password for user $user.username : $e.message", e } } } }

12 URL Properties

The table shows configurable URL-related properties.

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
apf.filterProcessesUrl'/j_spring_security_check'Login form post URL, intercepted by Spring Security filter.
apf.usernameParameter'j_username'Login form username parameter.
apf.passwordParameter'j_password'Login form password parameter.
apf.allowSessionCreationtrueWhether to allow authentication to create an HTTP session.
apf.postOnlytrueWhether to allow only POST login requests.
apf.continueChainBefore SuccessfulAuthenticationfalsewhether to continue calling subsequent filters in the filter chain
apf.storeLastUsernamefalseWhether to store the login username in the HTTP session
failureHandler. defaultFailureUrl'/login/authfail?login_error=1'Redirect URL for failed logins.
failureHandler. ajaxAuthFailUrl'/login/authfail?ajax=true'Redirect URL for failed Ajax logins.
failureHandler. exceptionMappingsnoneMap of exception class name (subclass of AuthenticationException) to which the URL will redirect for that exception type after authentication failure.
failureHandler. useForwardfalseWhether to render the error page (true) or redirect (false).
failureHandler. allowSessionCreationtrueWhether to enable session creation to store the authentication failure exception
successHandler. defaultTargetUrl'/'Default post-login URL if there is no saved request that triggered the login.
successHandler. alwaysUseDefaultfalseIf true, always redirects to the value of successHandler. defaultTargetUrl after successful authentication; otherwise redirects to to originally-requested page.
successHandler. targetUrlParameter'spring-security-redirect'Name of optional login form parameter that specifies destination after successful login.
successHandler. useRefererfalseWhether to use the HTTP Referer header to determine post-login destination.
successHandler. ajaxSuccessUrl'/login/ajaxSuccess'URL for redirect after successful Ajax login.
auth.loginFormUrl'/login/auth'URL of login page.
auth.forceHttpsfalseIf true, redirects login page requests to HTTPS.
auth.ajaxLoginFormUrl'/login/authAjax'URL of Ajax login page.
auth.useForwardfalseWhether to render the login page (true) or redirect (false).
logout.afterLogoutUrl'/'URL for redirect after logout.
logout.filterProcessesUrl'/j_spring_security_logout'Logout URL, intercepted by Spring Security filter.
logout.handlerNames['rememberMeServices', 'securityContextLogoutHandler']Logout handler bean names. See Logout Handlers
logout.clearAuthenticationtrueIf true removes the Authentication from the SecurityContext to prevent issues with concurrent requests
logout.invalidateHttpSessiontrueWhether to invalidate the HTTP session when logging out
logout.targetUrlParameternonethe querystring parameter name for the post-logout URL
logout. alwaysUseDefaultTargetUrlfalsewhether to always use the afterLogoutUrl as the post-logout URL
logout.redirectToRefererfalsewhether to use the Referer header value as the post-logout URL
logout.postOnlytrueIf true only POST requests will be allowed to logout
adh.errorPage'/login/denied'Location of the 403 error page (or set to null to send a 403 error and not render a page).
adh.ajaxErrorPage'/login/ajaxDenied'Location of the 403 error page for Ajax requests.
adh.useForwardtrueIf true a forward will be used to render the error page, otherwise a redirect is used
ajaxHeader'X-Requested-With'Header name sent by Ajax library, used to detect Ajax.
ajaxCheckClosurenoneAn optional closure that can determine if a request is Ajax
redirectStrategy. contextRelativefalseIf true, the redirect URL will be the value after the request context path. This results in the loss of protocol information (HTTP or HTTPS), so causes problems if a redirect is being performed to change from HTTP to HTTPS or vice versa.
switchUser URLs See Switch User, under Customizing URLs.
fii.alwaysReauthenticatefalseIf true, re-authenticates when there is a Authentication in the SecurityContext
fii.rejectPublicInvocationstrueDisallow URL access when there is no request mapping
fii.validateConfigAttributestrueWhether to check that all ConfigAttribute instances are valid at startup
fii.publishAuthorizationSuccessfalseWhether to publish an AuthorizedEvent after successful access check
fii.observeOncePerRequesttrueIf false allow checks to happen multiple times, for example when JSP forwards are being used and filter security is desired on each included fragment of the HTTP request

13 Hierarchical Roles

Hierarchical roles are a convenient way to reduce clutter in your request mappings.

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
roleHierarchynoneHierarchical role definition.

For example, if you have several types of 'admin' roles that can be used to access a URL pattern and you do not use hierarchical roles, you need to specify all the admin roles:

package com.mycompany.myapp

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.annotation.Secured

class SomeController {

@Secured(['ROLE_ADMIN', 'ROLE_FINANCE_ADMIN', 'ROLE_SUPERADMIN']) def someAction() { … } }

However, if you have a business rule that says ROLE_FINANCE_ADMIN implies being granted ROLE_ADMIN, and that ROLE_SUPERADMIN implies being granted ROLE_FINANCE_ADMIN, you can express that hierarchy as:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.roleHierarchy = '''
   ROLE_SUPERADMIN > ROLE_FINANCE_ADMIN
   ROLE_FINANCE_ADMIN > ROLE_ADMIN
'''

Then you can simplify your mappings by specifying only the roles that are required:

package com.mycompany.myapp

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.annotation.Secured

class SomeController {

@Secured(['ROLE_ADMIN']) def someAction() { … } }

You can also reduce the number of granted roles in the database. Where previously you had to grant ROLE_SUPERADMIN, ROLE_FINANCE_ADMIN, and ROLE_ADMIN, now you only need to grant ROLE_SUPERADMIN.

14 Switch User

To enable a user to switch from the current Authentication to another user's, set the useSwitchUserFilter attribute to true. This feature is similar to the 'su' command in Unix. It enables, for example, an admin to act as a regular user to perform some actions, and then switch back.

This feature is very powerful; it allows full access to everything the switched-to user can access without requiring the user's password. Limit who can use this feature by guarding the user switch URL with a role, for example, ROLE_SWITCH_USER, ROLE_ADMIN, and so on.

Switching to Another User

To switch to another user, typically you create a form that submits to /j_spring_security_switch_user:

<sec:ifAllGranted roles='ROLE_SWITCH_USER'>

<form action='/j_spring_security_switch_user' method='POST'> Switch to user: <input type='text' name='j_username'/> <br/> <input type='submit' value='Switch'/> </form>

</sec:ifAllGranted>

Here the form is guarded by a check that the logged-in user has ROLE_SWITCH_USER and is not shown otherwise. You also need to guard the user switch URL, and the approach depends on your mapping scheme. If you use annotations, add a rule to the controllerAnnotations.staticRules attribute:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.controllerAnnotations.staticRules = [
   …
   '/j_spring_security_switch_user': ['ROLE_SWITCH_USER', 'isFullyAuthenticated()']
]

If you use Requestmaps, create a rule like this (for example, in BootStrap):

new Requestmap(url: '/j_spring_security_switch_user',
               configAttribute: 'ROLE_SWITCH_USER,isFullyAuthenticated()').save(flush: true)

If you use the Config.groovy map, add the rule there:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.interceptUrlMap = [
   …
   '/j_spring_security_switch_user': ['ROLE_SWITCH_USER', 'isFullyAuthenticated()']
]

Switching Back to Original User

To resume as the original user, navigate to /j_spring_security_exit_user.

<sec:ifSwitched>
<a href='${request.contextPath}/j_spring_security_exit_user'>
   Resume as <sec:switchedUserOriginalUsername/>
</a>
</sec:ifSwitched>

Customizing URLs

You can customize the URLs that are used for this feature, although it is rarely necessary:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.switchUser.switchUserUrl = …
grails.plugin.springsecurity.switchUser.exitUserUrl = …
grails.plugin.springsecurity.switchUser.targetUrl = …
grails.plugin.springsecurity.switchUser.switchFailureUrl = ...

PropertyDefaultMeaning
useSwitchUserFilterfalseWhether to use the switch user filter.
switchUser. switchUserUrl'/j_spring_security_switch_user'URL to access (via GET or POST) to switch to another user.
switchUser. exitUserUrl'/j_spring_security_exit_user'URL to access to switch to another user.
switchUser. targetUrlSame as successHandler.defaultTargetUrlURL for redirect after switching.
switchUser. switchFailureUrlSame as failureHandler.defaultFailureUrlURL for redirect after an error during an attempt to switch.
switchUser. usernameParameterSwitchUserFilter. SPRING_SECURITY_SWITCH_USERNAME_KEYThe username request parameter name

GSP Code

One approach to supporting the switch user feature is to add code to one or more of your GSP templates. In this example the current username is displayed, and if the user has switched from another (using the sec:ifSwitched tag) then a 'resume' link is displayed. If not, and the user has the required role, a form is displayed to allow input of the username to switch to:

<sec:ifLoggedIn>
Logged in as <sec:username/>
</sec:ifLoggedIn>

<sec:ifSwitched> <a href='${request.contextPath}/j_spring_security_exit_user'> Resume as <sec:switchedUserOriginalUsername/> </a> </sec:ifSwitched>

<sec:ifNotSwitched> <sec:ifAllGranted roles='ROLE_SWITCH_USER'>

<form action='${request.contextPath}/j_spring_security_switch_user' method='POST'> Switch to user: <input type='text' name='j_username'/><br/> <input type='submit' value='Switch'/> </form>

</sec:ifAllGranted> </sec:ifNotSwitched>

15 Filters

There are a few different approaches to configuring filter chain(s).

Default Approach to Configuring Filter Chains

The default is to use configuration attributes to determine which extra filters to use (for example, Basic Auth, Switch User, etc.) and add these to the 'core' filters. For example, setting grails.plugin.springsecurity.useSwitchUserFilter = true adds switchUserProcessingFilter to the filter chain (and in the correct order). The filter chain built here is applied to all URLs. If you need more flexibility, you can use filterChain.chainMap as discussed in chainMap below.

filterNames

To define custom filters, to remove a core filter from the chain (not recommended), or to otherwise have control over the filter chain, you can specify the filterNames property as a list of strings. As with the default approach, the filter chain built here is applied to all URLs.

For example:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.filterChain.filterNames = [
   'securityContextPersistenceFilter', 'logoutFilter',
   'authenticationProcessingFilter', 'myCustomProcessingFilter',
   'rememberMeAuthenticationFilter', 'anonymousAuthenticationFilter',
   'exceptionTranslationFilter', 'filterInvocationInterceptor'
]

This example creates a filter chain corresponding to the Spring beans with the specified names.

chainMap

Use the filterChain.chainMap attribute to define which filters are applied to different URL patterns. You define a Map that specifies one or more lists of filter bean names, each with a corresponding URL pattern.

grails.plugin.springsecurity.filterChain.chainMap = [
   '/urlpattern1/**': 'filter1,filter2,filter3,filter4',
   '/urlpattern2/**': 'filter1,filter3,filter5',
   '/**': 'JOINED_FILTERS',
]

In this example, four filters are applied to URLs matching /urlpattern1/** and three different filters are applied to URLs matching /urlpattern2/**. In addition the special token JOINED_FILTERS is applied to all URLs. This is a conventient way to specify that all defined filters (configured either with configuration rules like useSwitchUserFilter or explicitly using filterNames) should apply to this pattern.

The order of the mappings is important. Each URL will be tested in order from top to bottom to find the first matching one. So you need a /** catch-all rule at the end for URLs that do not match one of the earlier rules.

There's also a filter negation syntax that can be very convenient. Rather than specifying all of the filter names (and risking forgetting one or putting them in the wrong order), you can use the JOINED_FILTERS keyword and one or more filter names prefixed with a -. This means to use all configured filters except for the excluded ones. For example, if you had a web service that uses Basic Auth for /webservice/** URLs, you would configure that using:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.filterChain.chainMap = [
'/webservice/**': 'JOINED_FILTERS,-exceptionTranslationFilter',
'/**': 'JOINED_FILTERS,-basicAuthenticationFilter,-basicExceptionTranslationFilter'
]

For the /webservice/** URLs, we want all filters except for the standard ExceptionTranslationFilter since we want to use just the one configured for Basic Auth. And for the /** URLs (everything else) we want everything except for the Basic Auth filter and its configured ExceptionTranslationFilter.

clientRegisterFilter

An alternative to setting the filterNames property is grails.plugin.springsecurity. SpringSecurityUtils.clientRegisterFilter(). This property allows you to add a custom filter to the chain at a specified position. Each standard filter has a corresponding position in the chain (see grails.plugin.springsecurity. SecurityFilterPosition for details). So if you have created an application-specific filter, register it in grails-app/conf/spring/resources.groovy:

beans = {
   myFilter(com.mycompany.myapp.MyFilter) {
      // properties
   }
}

and then register it in grails-app/conf/BootStrap.groovy:

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.SecurityFilterPosition
import grails.plugin.springsecurity.SpringSecurityUtils

class BootStrap {

def init = { servletContext -> SpringSecurityUtils.clientRegisterFilter( 'myFilter', SecurityFilterPosition.OPENID_FILTER.order + 10) } }

This bootstrap code registers your filter just after the Open ID filter (if it's configured). You cannot register a filter in the same position as another, so it's a good idea to add a small delta to its position to put it after or before a filter that it should be next to in the chain. The Open ID filter position is just an example - add your filter in the position that makes sense.

16 Channel Security

Use channel security to configure which URLs require HTTP and which require HTTPS.

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
portMapper.httpPort8080HTTP port your application uses.
portMapper.httpsPort8443HTTPS port your application uses.
secureChannel.definitionnoneMap of URL pattern to channel rule

Build a Map under the secureChannel.definition key, where the keys are URL patterns, and the values are one of REQUIRES_SECURE_CHANNEL, REQUIRES_INSECURE_CHANNEL, or ANY_CHANNEL:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.secureChannel.definition = [
   '/login/**':         'REQUIRES_SECURE_CHANNEL',
   '/maps/**':          'REQUIRES_INSECURE_CHANNEL',
   '/images/login/**':  'REQUIRES_SECURE_CHANNEL',
   '/images/**':        'ANY_CHANNEL'
]

URLs are checked in order, so be sure to put more specific rules before less specific. In the preceding example, /images/login/** is more specific than /images/**, so it appears first in the configuration.

Header checking

The default implementation of channel security is fairly simple; if you're using HTTP but HTTPS is required, you get redirected to the corresponding SSL URL and vice versa. But when using a load balancer such as an F5 BIG-IP it's not possible to just check secure/insecure. In that case you can configure the load balancer to set a request header indicating the current state. To use this approach, set the useHeaderCheckChannelSecurity configuration property to true and optionally change the header names or values:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.secureChannel.useHeaderCheckChannelSecurity = true

By default the header name is "X-Forwarded-Proto" and the secure header value is "http" (i.e. if you're not secure, redirect to secure) and the insecure header value is "https" (i.e. if you're secure, redirect to insecure). You can change any or all of these default values though:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.secureChannel.secureHeaderName = '...'
grails.plugin.springsecurity.secureChannel.secureHeaderValue = '...'
grails.plugin.springsecurity.secureChannel.insecureHeaderName = '...'
grails.plugin.springsecurity.secureChannel.insecureHeaderValue = '...'

17 IP Address Restrictions

Ordinarily you can guard URLs sufficiently with roles, but the plugin provides an extra layer of security with its ability to restrict by IP address.

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
ipRestrictionsnoneMap of URL patterns to IP address patterns.

For example, make an admin-only part of your site accessible only from IP addresses of the local LAN or VPN, such as 192.168.1.xxx or 10.xxx.xxx.xxx. You can also set this up at your firewall and/or routers, but it is convenient to encapsulate it within your application.

To use this feature, specify an ipRestrictions configuration map, where the keys are URL patterns, and the values are IP address patterns that can access those URLs. The IP patterns can be single-value strings, or multi-value lists of strings. They can use CIDR masks, and can specify either IPv4 or IPv6 patterns. For example, given this configuration:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.ipRestrictions = [
   '/pattern1/**': '123.234.345.456',
   '/pattern2/**': '10.0.0.0/8',
   '/pattern3/**': ['10.10.200.42', '10.10.200.63']
]

pattern1 URLs can be accessed only from the external address 123.234.345.456, pattern2 URLs can be accessed only from a 10.xxx.xxx.xxx intranet address, and pattern3 URLs can be accessed only from 10.10.200.42 or 10.10.200.63. All other URL patterns are accessible from any IP address.

All addresses can always be accessed from localhost regardless of IP pattern, primarily to support local development mode.

You cannot compare IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, so if your server supports both, you need to specify the IP patterns using the address format that is actually being used. Otherwise the filter throws exceptions. One option is to set the java.net.preferIPv4Stack system property, for example, by adding it to JAVA_OPTS or GRAILS_OPTS as -Djava.net.preferIPv4Stack=true.

18 Session Fixation Prevention

To guard against session-fixation attacks set the useSessionFixationPrevention attribute to true:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.useSessionFixationPrevention = true

Upon successful authentication a new HTTP session is created and the previous session's attributes are copied into it. If you start your session by clicking a link that was generated by someone trying to hack your account, which contained an active session id, you are no longer sharing the previous session after login. You have your own session.

Session fixation is less of a problem now that Grails by default does not include jsessionid in URLs (see this JIRA issue), but it's still a good idea to use this feature.

Note that there is an issue when using the cookie-session plugin; see this issue for more details.

The table shows configuration options for session fixation.

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
useSessionFixationPreventiontrueWhether to use session fixation prevention.
sessionFixationPrevention.migratetrueWhether to copy the session attributes of the existing session to the new session after login.
sessionFixationPrevention.alwaysCreateSessionfalseWhether to always create a session even if one did not exist at the start of the request.

19 Logout Handlers

You register a list of logout handlers by implementing the LogoutHandler interface. The list is called when a user explicitly logs out.

By default, a securityContextLogoutHandler bean is registered to clear the SecurityContextHolder. Also, unless you are using Facebook or OpenID, rememberMeServices bean is registered to reset your cookie. (Facebook and OpenID authenticate externally so we don't have access to the password to create a remember-me cookie.) If you are using Facebook, a facebookLogoutHandler is registered to reset its session cookies.

To customize this list, you define a logout.handlerNames attribute with a list of bean names.

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
logout.handlerNames['rememberMeServices', 'securityContextLogoutHandler']Logout handler bean names.

The beans must be declared either by the plugin or by you in resources.groovy or resources.xml. For example, suppose you have a custom MyLogoutHandler in resources.groovy:

beans = {
   myLogoutHandler(com.foo.MyLogoutHandler) {
      // attributes
   }
}

You register it in grails-app/conf/Config.groovy as:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.logout.handlerNames = [
   'rememberMeServices', 'securityContextLogoutHandler', 'myLogoutHandler'
]

20 Voters

You can register a list of voters by implementing the AccessDecisionVoter interface. The list confirms whether a successful authentication is applicable for the current request.

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
voterNames['authenticatedVoter', 'roleVoter', 'webExpressionVoter']Bean names of voters.

By default a roleVoter bean is registered to ensure users have the required roles for the request, and an authenticatedVoter bean is registered to support IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY, IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBERED, and IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY tokens.

To customize this list, you define a voterNames attribute with a list of bean names. The beans must be declared either by the plugin, or yourself in resources.groovy or resources.xml. Suppose you have a custom MyAccessDecisionVoter in resources.groovy:

beans = {
   myAccessDecisionVoter(com.foo.MyAccessDecisionVoter) {
      // attributes
   }
}

You register it in grails-app/conf/Config.groovy as:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.voterNames = [
   'authenticatedVoter', 'roleVoter',
   'webExpressionVoter', 'myAccessDecisionVoter'
]

21 Miscellaneous Properties

PropertyDefault ValueMeaning
activetrueWhether the plugin is enabled.
printStatusMessagestrueWhether to print status messages such as "Configuring Spring Security Core ..."
rejectIfNoRuletrue'strict' mode where a request mapping is required for all resources; if true make sure to allow IS_AUTHENTICATED_ ANONYMOUSLY for '/', '/js/**', '/css/**', '/images/**', '/login/**', '/logout/**', and so on.
anon. key'foo'anonymousProcessingFilter key.
atr. anonymousClassgrails.plugin.springsecurity. authentication. GrailsAnonymous AuthenticationTokenAnonymous token class.
useHttpSession EventPublisherfalseIf true, an HttpSession EventPublisher will be configured.
cacheUsersfalseIf true, logins are cached using an EhCache. See Account Locking and Forcing Password Change, under User Cache.
useSecurity EventListenerfalseIf true, configure SecurityEventListener. See Events.
dao. reflectionSalt SourcePropertynoneWhich property to use for the reflection-based salt source. See Salted Passwords
dao. hideUserNot FoundExceptionstrueif true, throws a new BadCredentialsException if a username is not found or the password is incorrect, but if false re-throws the UsernameNot FoundException thrown by UserDetailsService (considered less secure than throwing BadCredentialsException for both exceptions)
requestCache. createSessiontrueWhether caching SavedRequest can trigger the creation of a session.
roleHierarchynoneHierarchical role definition. See Hierarchical Role Definition.
voterNames['authenticatedVoter', 'roleVoter', 'closureVoter']Bean names of voters. See Voters.
providerNames['daoAuthenticationProvider', 'anonymousAuthenticationProvider', 'rememberMeAuthenticationProvider']Bean names of authentication providers. See Authentication Providers.
securityConfigType'Annotation'Type of request mapping to use, one of "Annotation", "Requestmap", or "InterceptUrlMap" (or the corresponding enum value from SecurityConfigType). See Configuring Request Mappings to Secure URLs.
controllerAnnotations. lowercasetrueWhether to do URL comparisons using lowercase.
controllerAnnotations. staticRulesnoneExtra rules that cannot be mapped using annotations.
interceptUrlMapnoneRequest mapping definition when using "InterceptUrlMap". See Simple Map in Config.groovy.
registerLoggerListenerfalseIf true, registers a LoggerListener that logs interceptor-related application events.
scr. allowSessionCreationtrueWhether to allow creating a session in the securityContextRepository bean
scr. disableUrlRewritingtrueWhether to disable URL rewriting (and the jsessionid attribute)
scr. springSecurity ContextKeyHttpSessionSecurity ContextRepository. SPRING_SECURITY_ CONTEXT_KEYThe HTTP session key to store the SecurityContext under
scpf. forceEager SessionCreationfalseWhether to eagerly create a session in the securityContextRepository bean
sch. strategyNameSecurityContextHolder. MODE_THREADLOCALThe strategy to use for storing the SecurityContext - can be one of MODE_THREADLOCAL, MODE_INHERITABLETHREADLOCAL, or MODE_GLOBAL, or the name of a class implementing SecurityContextHolderStrategy
debug. useFilterfalseWhether to use the DebugFilter to log request debug information to the console
providerManager. eraseCredentials AfterAuthenticationtrueWhether to remove the password from the Authentication and its child objects after successful authentication

22 Tutorials

22.1 Using Controller Annotations to Secure URLs

1. Create your Grails application.

$ grails create-app bookstore
$ cd bookstore

2. Install the plugin by adding it to BuildConfig.groovy

plugins {
   …
   compile ':spring-security-core:2.0-RC2'
}

Note that until the 2.0 version of the plugin is officially released, you'll also need to add a custom repository:

repositories {
   …
   mavenRepo 'http://repo.spring.io/milestone'
}

Run the compile script to resolve the dependencies and ensure everything is correct:

$ grails compile

3. Create the User and Role domain classes.

$ grails s2-quickstart com.testapp User Role

You can choose your names for your domain classes and package; these are just examples.

Depending on your database, some domain class names might not be valid, especially those relating to security. Before you create names like "User" or "Group", make sure they are not reserved keywords in your database.

The script creates this User class:

package com.testapp

package test

class User {

transient springSecurityService

String username String password boolean enabled = true boolean accountExpired boolean accountLocked boolean passwordExpired

static constraints = { username blank: false, unique: true password blank: false }

static mapping = { password column: '`password`' }

Set<Role> getAuthorities() { UserRole.findAllByUser(this).collect { it.role } as Set }

def beforeInsert() { encodePassword() }

def beforeUpdate() { if (isDirty('password')) { encodePassword() } }

protected void encodePassword() { password = springSecurityService.encodePassword(password) } }

Earlier versions of the plugin didn't include password hashing logic in the domain class, but it makes the code a lot cleaner.

and this Role class:

package com.testapp

class Role {

String authority

static mapping = { cache true }

static constraints = { authority blank: false, unique: true } }

and a domain class that maps the many-to-many join class, UserRole:

package com.testapp

import org.apache.commons.lang.builder.HashCodeBuilder

class UserRole implements Serializable {

private static final long serialVersionUID = 1

User user Role role

boolean equals(other) { if (!(other instanceof UserRole)) { return false }

other.user?.id == user?.id && other.role?.id == role?.id }

int hashCode() { def builder = new HashCodeBuilder() if (user) builder.append(user.id) if (role) builder.append(role.id) builder.toHashCode() }

static UserRole get(long userId, long roleId) { UserRole.where { user == User.load(userId) && role == Role.load(roleId) }.get() }

static UserRole create(User user, Role role, boolean flush = false) { new UserRole(user: user, role: role).save(flush: flush, insert: true) }

static boolean remove(User u, Role r, boolean flush = false) { int rowCount = UserRole.where { user == User.load(u.id) && role == Role.load(r.id) }.deleteAll()

rowCount > 0 }

static void removeAll(User u) { UserRole.where { user == User.load(u.id) }.deleteAll() }

static void removeAll(Role r) { UserRole.where { role == Role.load(r.id) }.deleteAll() }

static mapping = { id composite: ['role', 'user'] version false } }

The script has edited grails-app/conf/Config.groovy and added the configuration for your domain classes. Make sure that the changes are correct.

These generated files are not part of the plugin - these are your application files. They are examples to get you started, so you can edit them as you please. They contain the minimum needed for the plugin.

The plugin has no support for CRUD actions and GSPs for your domain classes; the spring-security-ui plugin supplies a UI for those. So for now you will create roles and users in grails-app/conf/BootStrap.groovy. (See step 7.)

4. Create a controller that will be restricted by role.

$ grails create-controller com.testapp.Secure

This command creates grails-app/controllers/com/testapp/ SecureController.groovy. Add some output so you can verify that things are working:

package com.testapp

class SecureController { def index() { render 'Secure access only' } }

5. Start the server.

$ grails run-app

6. Before you secure the page, navigate to http://localhost:8080/bookstore/secure to verify that you can see the page without being logged in.

7. Shut down the app (using CTRL-C) and edit grails-app/conf/BootStrap.groovy to add the security objects that you need.

import com.testapp.Role
import com.testapp.User
import com.testapp.UserRole

class BootStrap {

def init = { servletContext ->

def adminRole = new Role(authority: 'ROLE_ADMIN').save(flush: true) def userRole = new Role(authority: 'ROLE_USER').save(flush: true)

def testUser = new User(username: 'me', password: 'password') testUser.save(flush: true)

UserRole.create testUser, adminRole, true

assert User.count() == 1 assert Role.count() == 2 assert UserRole.count() == 1 } }

Some things to note about the preceding BootStrap.groovy:

  • The example does not use a traditional GORM many-to-many mapping for the User<->Role relationship; instead you are mapping the join table with the UserRole class. This performance optimization helps significantly when many users have one or more common roles.
  • We explicitly flushed the creates because BootStrap does not run in a transaction or OpenSessionInView.

8. Edit grails-app/controllers/SecureController.groovy to import the annotation class and apply the annotation to restrict access.

package com.testapp

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.annotation.Secured

class SecureController {

@Secured(['ROLE_ADMIN']) def index() { render 'Secure access only' } }

or

package com.testapp

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.annotation.Secured

@Secured(['ROLE_ADMIN']) class SecureController { def index() { render 'Secure access only' } }

You can annotate the entire controller or individual actions. In this case you have only one action, so you can do either.

9. Run grails run-app again and navigate to http://localhost:8080/bookstore/secure.

This time, you should be presented with the login page. Log in with the username and password you used for the test user, and you should again be able to see the secure page.

10. Test the Remember Me functionality.

Check the checkbox, and once you've tested the secure page, close your browser and reopen it. Navigate again the the secure page. Because a is cookie stored, you should not need to log in again. Logout at any time by navigating to http://localhost:8080/bookstore/logout.

11. Optionally, create a CRUD UI to work with users and roles.

Run grails generate-all for the domain classes:

$ grails generate-all com.testapp.User

$ grails generate-all com.testapp.Role

Since the User domain class handles password hashing, there are no changes required in the generated controllers.

22.2 Migration From the Acegi Plugin

In this tutorial we'll discuss the general steps required to migrate from the Acegi plugin to the Spring Security Core plugin. A lot of the material here comes from an email that Lubos Pochman sent to the User mailing list documenting the steps he took to upgrade from the Acegi plugin.

This isn't a standard step-by-step tutorial since every application is different and the steps required will vary from project to project. Instead these are guidelines and things to keep in mind. You should also read Section 2 and Section 3.

The first thing to do is uninstall the Acegi plugin

$ grails uninstall-plugin acegi
and install Spring Security Core
$ grails install-plugin spring-security-core

If this were a new project the next step would be to run the s2-quickstart script but you wouldn't do this for an existing project where you already have a User and Role class, so it's a good idea to work through the bookstore tutorial and use the files generated in that project. The files that the script generates are

  • grails-app/domain/com/testapp/User.groovy
  • grails-app/domain/com/testapp/Role.groovy
  • grails-app/domain/com/testapp/UserRole.groovy
  • grails-app/controllers/LoginController.groovy
  • grails-app/controllers/LogoutController.groovy
  • grails-app/views/login/auth.gsp
  • grails-app/views/login/denied.gsp

Migrate any changes you made in LoginController.groovy, LogoutController.groovy, auth.gsp and denied.gsp, and overwrite your files with those. Do the same for User.groovy and Role.groovy, and move UserRole.groovy into your project.

User and Role UI

You can use the standard Grails generate-all script to create a UI to manage Users and Roles as described in the previous tutorial, or for a more complete solution use the Spring Security UI plugin.

authenticateService

The utility service in Spring Security Core is SpringSecurityService, so you need to replace def authenticateService with def springSecurityService. Many of the methods have the same names and signatures but there are some differences:

  • principal() was renamed to getPrincipal()
  • ifAllGranted(), ifNotGranted(), and ifAnyGranted() were removed; use grails.plugin.springsecurity. SpringSecurityUtils.ifAllGranted(), ifNotGranted(), and ifAnyGranted() instead
  • getSecurityConfig() was removed, use SpringSecurityUtils.getSecurityConfig() instead

One significant change between the plugins is that the UserDetails implementation (GrailsUser) no longer has a reference to the domain class instance. This was intended to make it easy to access User class data that's not available in the Principal but it has frustrating side effects due to being a disconnected Hibernate object. Instead GrailsUser stores the user's id so you can conveniently retrieve the instance when needed. So instead of

def user = authenticateService.userDomain()
user = User.get(user.id)

use this instead:

def user = User.get(springSecurityService.principal.id)

Role granting

The Acegi plugin uses a standard Grails many-to-many relationship (i.e. using hasMany and belongsTo) between User and Role but this will have performance problems if you have many users. Spring Security Core also uses a many-to-many relationship but maps the join table as a domain class instead of using collections. In the Acegi plugin you would grant a role to a user using

Role role = …
User user = …
role.addToPeople(user)

and remove the grant with

Role role = …
User user = …
role.removeFromPeople(user)

In Spring Security Core you use the helper methods in UserRole

Role role = …
User user = …
UserRole.create user, role

and

Role role = …
User user = …
UserRole.remove user, role

which directly insert or delete rows in the User/Role join table.

SecurityConfig.groovy

Configuration settings are now stored in grails-app/conf/Config.groovy along with the rest of the application configuration. The primary motiviation for this change is to easily support environment-specific security settings. Migrate settings from SecurityConfig.groovy to Config.groovy (see this summary for the new names.

In particular it's important that the following properties be configured (replace class and package names to match your domain classes):

grails. plugin. springsecurity. userLookup. userDomainClassName =
         'com.yourcompany.yourapp.User'
grails. plugin. springsecurity. userLookup. authorityJoinClassName =
         'com.yourcompany.yourapp.UserRole'
grails. plugin. springsecurity. authority. className =
         'com.yourcompany.yourapp.Role'

Delete SecurityConfig.groovy when you're finished.

Controller annotations

The Secured annotation changed from org.codehaus.groovy.grails.plugins. springsecurity.Secured to grails.plugin.springsecurity.annotation.Secured. Consider using SpEL expressions since they're a lot more powerful and expressive than simple role names.

Security tags

  • tag names now start with 'if' instead of 'is', and the role attribute changed to roles, so for example change <g:ifAnyGranted role='...'> to <sec:ifAnyGranted roles='...'>
  • use <sec:username/> instead of <g:loggedInUserInfo(field:'username')}/> - use <sec:loggedInUserInfo> to render other GrailsUser attributes

See more details about the taglibs in Section 6.

23 Controller MetaClass Methods

The plugin registers some convenience methods into all controllers in your application. All are accessor methods, so they can be called as methods or properties. They include:

isLoggedIn

Returns true if there is an authenticated user.

class MyController {

def someAction() { if (isLoggedIn()) { … }

...

if (!isLoggedIn()) { … }

// or

if (loggedIn) { … }

if (!loggedIn) { … } } }

getPrincipal

Retrieves the current authenticated user's Principal (a GrailsUser instance unless you've customized this) or null if not authenticated.

class MyController {

def someAction() { if (isLoggedIn()) { String username = getPrincipal().username … }

// or

if (isLoggedIn()) { String username = principal.username … } } }

getAuthenticatedUser

Loads the user domain class instance from the database that corresponds to the currently authenticated user, or null if not authenticated. This is the equivalent of adding a dependency injection for springSecurityService and calling PersonDomainClassName.get(springSecurityService.principal.id) (the typical way that this is often done).

class MyController {

def someAction() { if (isLoggedIn()) { String email = getAuthenticatedUser().email … }

// or

if (isLoggedIn()) { String email = authenticatedUser.email … } } }

24 Internationalization

Spring Security Core plugin is provided with English, French and German i18n messages.

If you want to customize or translate the texts then add messages for the following keys to your i18n resource bundle(s) for each exception:

MessageDefault ValueException
springSecurity.errors.login.expired"Sorry, your account has expired."AccountExpiredException
springSecurity.errors.login.passwordExpired"Sorry, your password has expired."CredentialsExpiredException
springSecurity.errors.login.disabled"Sorry, your account is disabled."DisabledException
springSecurity.errors.login.locked"Sorry, your account is locked."LockedException
springSecurity.errors.login.fail"Sorry, we were not able to find a user with that username and password."Other exceptions

You can customize all messages in auth.gsp and denied.gsp:

MessageDefault Value
springSecurity.login.titleLogin
springSecurity.login.headerPlease Login
springSecurity.login.buttonLogin
springSecurity.login.username.labelUsername
springSecurity.login.password.labelPassword
springSecurity.login.remember.me.labelRemember me
springSecurity.denied.titleDenied
springSecurity.denied.messageSorry, you're not authorized to view this page.

25 Migrating from the Acegi plugin

If you have an old application that uses the Acegi plugin you can use the information here to migrate to the newer approaches in this plugin. Note that these guides were written for the 1.x versions of the plugin, so you'll also need to be aware of what is new in 2.0 and above.

25.1 Differences Between the Spring Security and Acegi Plugins

The Spring Security plugin is a successor to the Acegi plugin. The sections that follow compare the two.

Core Similarities and Differences

The Spring Security plugin retains many core features of the Acegi plugin:

  • Form-based authentication
  • Storing users, roles, and optionally requestmaps in the database, with access through domain classes
  • Guarding URLs with annotations, requestmap domain class, or static configuration
  • Security tags
  • Security service
  • Security events
  • Ajax login
  • Basic authentication
  • Switch User
  • Channel security
  • IP address restrictions

and adds several new features:

  • Digest authentication
  • Session Fixation Prevention
  • Salted passwords
  • Certificate (x509) login
  • Hierarchical roles
  • Account locking and forcing password change

Features Not Included in the Spring Security Plugin

The following features are not included in the Spring Security plugin, but are (or will be) available in secondary plugins that extend and depend on the core plugin:

Script Differences

To initialize the Acegi plugin, you run create-auth-domains. This initialization creates grails-app/conf/SecurityConfig.groovy to allow configuration customization; creates the User, Role, and Requestmap domain classes; and creates the Login and Logout controllers and views. Another Acegi script, generate-manager, creates CRUD pages for the domain classes. (The earlier version of Grails did not scaffold many-to-many relationships well, so these GSPs were necessary.)In addition, a generate-registration script installs a basic user registration controller.

The Spring Security plugin uses only one script, s2-quickstart. It is similar to create-auth-domains because it creates domain classes and login and logout bcontrollers, but it appends files to grails-app/conf/Config.groovy instead of creating a standalone configuration file. There is no equivalent to generate-manager or generate-registration because an optional UI plugin generates domain class management screens, an admin console, and forgot password and registration workflows. If you want to create your own CRUD pages, you can use the standard Grails generate-all script. Various sections of this documentation discuss required changes to the generated source files, for example, hashing passwords before saving or updating a user.

UserDetails Differences

The Acegi plugin extends the UserDetails instance and adds an accessor for the person domain class instance that is used to populate the UserDetails. Because the Authentication is kept in the HTTP session and the UserDetails is attached to that, it is easy to access non-security data such as full name, email, and so on without hitting the database.

However, with this approach, if the domain class has a lot of data, you increase the size of the session payload, which is exacerbated by clustered sessions. Further, any lazy-loaded collections fail to load after retrieving the person from the session because it would have become a detached Hibernate object. This problem is addressed by a call to person.attach() or by reloading by id, for example:

def userDetails = authenticateService.principal()
def person = userDetails.domainClass
person = Person.get(person.id)

But with this approach, the person class is essentially a very large wrapper around its primary key since that's the real data you're storing.

To resolve this issue, the Spring Security plugin does not store the domain class but instead stores the id so you can retrieve the person easily:

def userDetails = springSecurityService.principal
person = Person.get(userDetails.id)

The preceding approach works because the UserDetails implementation is an instance of grails.plugin.springsecurity.userdetails.GrailsUser, which extends the standard Spring Security User and adds a getId() method.

You can further extend this class if you want to store more data along with the authentication to avoid database access. See Custom UserDetailsService.

25.2 Migrating from the Acegi Plugin

If you formerly used the Acegi plugin, change your application configuration settings as follows.

SettingSpring Security PluginAcegi Plugin
Enabled by defaulttruefalse
Cache UserDetails by defaultfalsetrue
Configuration locationgrails-app/conf/ Config.groovygrails-app/conf/ SecurityConfig.groovy
Security servicespringSecurityServiceauthenticateService

The table shows names of corresponding configuration properties.

The plugin's configuration values all start with grails.plugin.springsecurity to distinguish them from similarly named options in Grails and from other plugins. You must specify all property overrides with the grails.plugin.springsecurity suffix. For example, you specify the attribute password.algorithm as:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.password.algorithm='bcrypt'

in Config.groovy

Acegi PluginSpring Security Plugin
activeactive
loginUserDomainClassuserLookup.userDomainClassName
userNameuserLookup.usernamePropertyName
enableduserLookup.enabledPropertyName
passworduserLookup.passwordPropertyName
relationalAuthoritiesuserLookup.authoritiesPropertyName
getAuthoritiesMethodN/A
authorityDomainClassauthority.className
authorityFieldauthority.nameField
authenticationFailureUrlfailureHandler.defaultFailureUrl
ajaxAuthenticationFailureUrlfailureHandler.ajaxAuthFailUrl
defaultTargetUrlsuccessHandler.defaultTargetUrl
alwaysUseDefaultTargetUrlsuccessHandler.alwaysUseDefault
filterProcessesUrlapf.filterProcessesUrl
keyanon.key
userAttributeanon.userAttribute
loginFormUrlauth.loginFormUrl
forceHttpsauth.forceHttps
ajaxLoginFormUrlauth.ajaxLoginFormUrl
afterLogoutUrllogout.afterLogoutUrl
errorPageadh.errorPage
ajaxErrorPageadh.ajaxErrorPage
ajaxHeaderajaxHeader
algorithmpassword.algorithm
encodeHashAsBase64password.encodeHashAsBase64
cookieNamerememberMe.cookieName
alwaysRememberrememberMe.alwaysRemember
tokenValiditySecondsrememberMe.tokenValiditySeconds
parameterrememberMe.parameter
rememberMeKeyrememberMe.key
useLoggerregisterLoggerListener
useRequestMapDomainClasssecurityConfigType = "Requestmap"
requestMapClassrequestMap.className
requestMapPathFieldrequestMap.urlField
requestMapConfigAttributeFieldrequestMap.configAttributeField
useControllerAnnotationssecurityConfigType = "Annotation"
controllerAnnotationsMatchercontrollerAnnotations.matcher
controllerAnnotationsMatchesLowercasecontrollerAnnotations.lowercase
controllerAnnotationStaticRulescontrollerAnnotations.staticRules
controllerAnnotationsRejectIfNoRulerejectIfNoRule
requestMapStringN/A - securityConfigType = "InterceptUrlMap" is very similar
realmNamebasic.realmName
basicProcessingFilteruseBasicAuth
switchUserProcessingFilteruseSwitchUserFilter
swswitchUserUrlswitchUser.switchUserUrl
swexitUserUrlswitchUser.exitUserUrl
swtargetUrlswitchUser.targetUrl
useMailN/A - registration is supported in the UI plugin
mailHostN/A - registration is supported in the UI plugin
mailUsernameN/A - registration is supported in the UI plugin
mailPasswordN/A - registration is supported in the UI plugin
mailProtocolN/A - registration is supported in the UI plugin
mailFromN/A - registration is supported in the UI plugin
mailPortN/A - registration is supported in the UI plugin
defaultRoleN/A - registration is supported in the UI plugin
useOpenIdN/A - supported in the OpenID plugin
openIdNonceMaxSecondsN/A - supported in the OpenID plugin
useLdapN/A - supported in the LDAP plugin
ldapRetrieveGroupRolesN/A - supported in the LDAP plugin
ldapRetrieveDatabaseRolesN/A - supported in the LDAP plugin
ldapSearchSubtreeN/A - supported in the LDAP plugin
ldapGroupRoleAttributeN/A - supported in the LDAP plugin
ldapPasswordAttributeNameN/A - supported in the LDAP plugin
ldapServerN/A - supported in the LDAP plugin
ldapManagerDnN/A - supported in the LDAP plugin
ldapManagerPasswordN/A - supported in the LDAP plugin
ldapSearchBaseN/A - supported in the LDAP plugin
ldapSearchFilterN/A - supported in the LDAP plugin
ldapGroupSearchBaseN/A - supported in the LDAP plugin
ldapGroupSearchFilterN/A - supported in the LDAP plugin
ldapUsePasswordN/A - supported in the LDAP plugin
useKerberosN/A - will be supported in a secondary plugin
kerberosLoginConfigFileN/A - will be supported in a secondary plugin
kerberosRealmN/A - will be supported in a secondary plugin
kerberosKdcN/A - will be supported in a secondary plugin
kerberosRetrieveDatabaseRolesN/A - will be supported in a secondary plugin
useHttpSessionEventPublisheruseHttpSessionEventPublisher
cacheUserscacheUsers
useCASN/A - supported in the CAS plugin
cas.casServerN/A - supported in the CAS plugin
cas.casServerPortN/A - supported in the CAS plugin
cas.casServerSecureN/A - supported in the CAS plugin
cas.localhostSecureN/A - supported in the CAS plugin
cas.failureURLN/A - supported in the CAS plugin
cas.defaultTargetURLN/A - supported in the CAS plugin
cas.fullLoginURLN/A - supported in the CAS plugin
cas.fullServiceURLN/A - supported in the CAS plugin
cas.authenticationProviderKeyN/A - supported in the CAS plugin
cas.userDetailsServiceN/A - supported in the CAS plugin
cas.sendRenewN/A - supported in the CAS plugin
cas.proxyReceptorUrlN/A - supported in the CAS plugin
cas.filterProcessesUrlN/A - supported in the CAS plugin
useNtlmN/A - will be supported in a secondary plugin
ntlm.stripDomainN/A - will be supported in a secondary plugin
ntlm.retryOnAuthFailureN/A - will be supported in a secondary plugin
ntlm.forceIdentificationN/A - will be supported in a secondary plugin
ntlm.defaultDomainN/A - will be supported in a secondary plugin
ntlm.netbiosWINSN/A - will be supported in a secondary plugin
httpPortportMapper.httpPort
httpsPortportMapper.httpsPort
secureChannelDefinitionSourceN/A, use secureChannel.definition
channelConfigsecureChannel.definition
ipRestrictionsipRestrictions
useFacebookN/A - will be supported in the Facebook plugin
facebook.filterProcessesUrlN/A - will be supported in the Facebook plugin
facebook.authenticationUrlRootN/A - will be supported in the Facebook plugin
facebook.apiKeyN/A - will be supported in the Facebook plugin
facebook.secretKeyN/A - will be supported in the Facebook plugin