1. Introduction to the Spring Security Plugin

The Spring Security plugin simplifies the integration of Spring 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.

1.1. Release History and Acknowledgment

  • Sep 26, 2017

    • 3.2.0 release

  • May 18, 2017

    • 3.2.0.M1 release

  • April 22, 2017

    • 3.1.2 release

  • May 10, 2016

    • 3.1.1 release

  • May 10, 2016

    • 3.1.0 release

  • March 21, 2016

    • 3.0.4 release

  • January 10, 2016

    • 3.0.3 release

  • January 6, 2016

    • 3.0.2 release

  • December 31, 2015

    • 3.0.1 release

  • December 8, 2015

    • 3.0.0 release

  • November 23, 2015

    • 3.0.0.M2 release

  • August 14, 2015

    • 3.0.0.M1 release

  • June 4, 2015

    • 2.0-RC5 release

  • July 8, 2014

    • 2.0-RC4 release

  • May 19, 2014

    • 2.0-RC3 release

  • October 4, 2013

  • October 3, 2013

    • 2.0-RC1 release

  • April 6, 2012

  • February 2, 2012

  • January 18, 2012

  • December 30, 2011

  • December 2, 2011

  • December 1, 2011

    • 1.2.5 release

  • October 18, 2011

    • 1.2.4 release

  • October 15, 2011

    • 1.2.3 release

  • October 15, 2011

  • August 17, 2011

  • July 31, 2011

  • May 23, 2011

  • February 26, 2011

    • 1.1.2 release

  • February 26, 2011

  • August 8, 2010

  • August 1, 2010

    • 1.0.1 release

  • July 27, 2010

  • July 16, 2010

  • June 29, 2010

  • June 21, 2010

  • May 12, 2010

  • May 12, 2010

  • May 2, 2010

    • 0.2 release

  • April 27, 2010

    • initial 0.1 release

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

1.2. Configuration Settings

The Spring Security plugin maintains its configuration in grails-app/conf/application.groovy, although you can keep the plugin config in application.yml with the rest of the configuration if you prefer. Default values are in the plugin’s grails-app/conf/DefaultSecurityConfig.groovy file, and you add application-specific values to application.groovy (or application.yml). The default configuration is merged with your settings, with application values overriding the defaults and setting missing values.

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 preffix. For example, you specify the attribute password.algorithm as:

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

If you are using cxf grails plugin in your app then move the cxf dependency above this plugin i.e.

dependencies {
    compile 'org.grails.plugins:cxf:3.1.1'
    // CXF above security.
    compile 'org.grails.plugins:spring-security-core:3.1.2'
}

1.3. Getting Started

Once you install the plugin, you simply run the initialization script, s2-quickstart, and make any required configuration changes in application.groovy / application.yml. The plugin registers its servlet API configuration (the Spring Security filter chain, etc.) programmatically, not in web.xml as was the case in earlier versions, and also configures the Spring beans in the application context that implement various pieces of functionality. Dependency management determines which jar files to use.

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

You do not need deep knowledge of Spring Security to use the plugin, but it is helpful to understand the underlying implementation. See the Spring Security documentation.

2. What’s New in Version 3.0

Version 3.x of the plugin requires Grails 3 or higher; to use the plugin in Grails 2 applications use the latest 2.x.x version of the plugin.

In general, using the Spring Security plugin in Grails 3 is nearly identical to using it in Grails 2, other than obvious differences under the hood such as no longer using web.xml. The configuration settings are the same, and the processes for customizing how things work (changing settings, overriding and customizing Spring beans, etc.) are generally the same. There were no package or configuration name changes, so customizations and extensions should continue to work. The plugin now uses Spring Security 4 (currently 4.0.3.RELEASE), but the changes required were primarily internal and don’t affect usage. There are new features in Spring Security 4 however, and the plugin will be updated in future releases to take advantage of those.

Spring Security 4 changed the default URLs and parameter names for login, logout, switch-user, etc. This is handled by the plugin for you and is usually transparent, but you should be aware of the changes if you want to customize the filters or GSPs:

  • /j_spring_security_check (the apf.filterProcessesUrl config setting) changed to /login/authenticate

  • /j_username (the apf.usernameParameter and switchUser.usernameParameter config settings) changed to username

  • /j_password (the apf.passwordParameter config setting) changed to password

  • /j_spring_security_logout (the logout.filterProcessesUrl config setting) changed to /logoff

    • In Spring Security 4 the value is actually /logout, but that conflicts with the standard LogoutController url, so the plugin uses /logoff instead

  • _spring_security_remember_me (the rememberMe.parameter config setting) changed to remember-me

  • /j_spring_security_switch_user (the switchUser.switchUserUrl config setting) changed to /login/impersonate

  • /j_spring_security_exit_user (the switchUser.exitUserUrl config setting) changed to /logout/impersonate

Note that the 2.x.x plugin was written primarily in Java, with Groovy used only for dynamic calls, but in version 3 all Java classes were converted to Groovy with the @CompileStatic annotation. Java was used because Spring Security is configured as a chain of servlet filters that fire for every request (including static resources) and the cumulative cost of many small Groovy performance hits can be non-trivial. But with @CompileStatic we get the best of both worlds - Java performance, and Groovy compactness. If you’re curious you can see these changes in this GitHub commit.

Also, since Grails 3 no longer supports Gant scripts, the plugin’s scripts were converted to the newer approach. This should have no effect on usage as the calling syntax and results are the same as before, although the console output looks somewhat different. You can see these changes in this GitHub commit.

There are a few breaking configuration changes as of version 3.0.0.M2. Prior to that version, some configuration properties were specified as a Map where the keys and values were both data. This caused various problems, primarily due to period characters in map keys. There are now no configuration properties that are single maps; all have been converted to lists of single-entry maps. This includes controllerAnnotations.staticRules and interceptUrlMap (see Configuring Request Mappings to Secure URLs), ipRestrictions (see IP Address Restrictions), filterChain.chainMap (see Filters), secureChannel.definition (see Channel Security), and failureHandler.exceptionMappings.

2.1. Installation

The “installation” process has changed in version 3+ of the plugin, but they’re the same as for any Grails 3 plugin. Simply add an entry in the dependencies block of your build.gradle file, changing the version as needed:

build.gradle
dependencies {
   ...
   compile 'org.grails.plugins:spring-security-core:3.2.0'
   ...
Version 3.2.0.M1 is only compatible with Grails 3.3.x or higher.

For previous Grails 3 versions ( 3.0.x, 3.1.x and 3.2.x ) use:

build.gradle
dependencies {
   ...
   compile 'org.grails.plugins:spring-security-core:3.1.2'
   ...

Run the s2-quickstart script to generate domain classes and add the initial configuration settings in application.groovy.

2.2. Configuration

In Grails 2, configuration settings were stored in grails-app/conf/Config.groovy, but they’re in YAML format in grails-app/conf/application.yml now. You can use the Groovy ConfigObject style if you want, in grails-app/conf/application.groovy. The file isn’t created by the create-app script but if you create it manually it will be recognized. When you run any of the plugin scripts, settings are added in application.groovy (it will be created if necessary) but if you prefer to keep your settings in YAML format, feel free to move them to application.yml. Note that this won’t work for values that aren’t supported in YAML format, for example Closures or other Java or Groovy objects.

3. 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.

3.1. 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.

3.2. 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.

3.3. 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 initially blocked unless there is a request mapping rule, even if that rule allows all access. 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 to open access for allowed users 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 in Configuring Request Mappings to Secure URLs.

3.3.1. 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

3.3.2. 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.

New applications should use bcrypt or PBKDF2, but if you didn’t change the default settings in previous versions of the plugin and want to continue using the same algorithm, use these settings:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.password.algorithm = 'SHA-256'
grails.plugin.springsecurity.password.hash.iterations = 1

3.3.3. Session Fixation Prevention by default

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

grails.plugin.springsecurity.useSessionFixationPrevention = false

3.4. @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() { ... }

3.5. 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.

3.6. 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.

3.7. 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.

3.8. 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 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.

3.9. 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 grails-app/conf/application.yml

environments:
    development:
        grails:
            logging:
                jul:
                    usebridge: true
            plugin:
                springsecurity:
                    debug:
                        useFilter: true
    production:
        grails:
            logging:
                jul:
                    usebridge: true

Also add the implementation class name in your logback configuration:

grails-app/conf/logback.groovy
logger 'grails.plugin.springsecurity.web.filter.DebugFilter', INFO, ['STDOUT'], false

3.10. 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.

3.11. @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.

3.12. Miscellaneous changes

3.12.1. 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.:

MyAuthenticationDetailsSource.groovy
package com.mycompany

import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest

import org.springframework.security.authentication.AuthenticationDetailsSource

class MyAuthenticationDetailsSource implements AuthenticationDetailsSource<HttpServletRequest, MyWebAuthenticationDetails> {

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

and registering that as the authenticationDetailsSource bean in resources.groovy

resources.groovy
import com.mycompany.MyAuthenticationDetailsSource

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

4. 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 a 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.

To use the user/group lookup you’ll also need a “group” domain class. If you are using the recommended approach for mapping many-to-many relationship between “person” and “group” and between “group” and “authority” you’ll need a domain class for each to map the join tables. You can still additionally use “requestmap” with this approach.

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 additional properties, methods, and so on, as long as the core security-related functionality remains.

4.1. Person Class

Spring Security uses an Authentication object to determine whether the current user is allowed to perform a secured action, such as accessing a URL, manipulating a secured domain object, invoking 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(String username).

By default the plugin uses a Grails “person” domain class to manage this data. username, enabled, and password are the default names of the core required properties. You can easily plug in your own implementation (Custom UserDetailsService), and rename the class, package, and properties. In addition, you should define an authorities property to retrieve roles; this can be a property 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:

User.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

import groovy.transform.EqualsAndHashCode
import groovy.transform.ToString
import grails.compiler.GrailsCompileStatic

@GrailsCompileStatic
@EqualsAndHashCode(includes='username')
@ToString(includes='username', includeNames=true, includePackage=false)
class User implements Serializable {

	private static final long serialVersionUID = 1

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

	Set<Role> getAuthorities() {
		(UserRole.findAllByUser(this) as List<UserRole>)*.role as Set<Role>
	}

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

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

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

User.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

import groovy.transform.EqualsAndHashCode
import groovy.transform.ToString
import grails.compiler.GrailsCompileStatic

@GrailsCompileStatic
@EqualsAndHashCode(includes='username')
@ToString(includes='username', includeNames=true, includePackage=false)
class User implements Serializable {

	private static final long serialVersionUID = 1

	String username
	String password
	boolean enabled = true
    String email (1)
    String firstName (1)
    String lastName (1)
	boolean accountExpired
	boolean accountLocked
	boolean passwordExpired

    def someMethod() { (2)
        ...
    }


	Set<Role> getAuthorities() {
		(UserRole.findAllByUser(this) as List<UserRole>)*.role as Set<Role>
	}

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

	static mapping = {
		password column: '`password`'
	}
}
1 Other properties
2 Convenience methods

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:

Table 1. User class property names
Property Default Value Meaning

userLookup.userDomainClassName

none

User class name

userLookup.usernamePropertyName

“username”

User class username property

userLookup.passwordPropertyName

“password”

User class password property

userLookup.authoritiesPropertyName

“authorities”

User class role collection property

userLookup.enabledPropertyName

“enabled”

User class enabled property

userLookup.accountExpiredPropertyName

“accountExpired”

User class account expired property

userLookup.accountLockedPropertyName

“accountLocked”

User class account locked property

userLookup.passwordExpiredPropertyName

“passwordExpired”

User class password expired property

userLookup.authorityJoinClassName

none

User/Role many-many join class name

4.2. Authority Class

The Spring Security plugin uses an “authority” class to represent a user’s roles in the application. In general this class restricts URLs to users who have been assigned the required access rights. A user can be granted 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.

Note that you aren’t required to use roles at all; an application with simple security requirements could use the isAuthenticated() expression for guarded URLs to partition the site’s URLs into those that are accessible to anyone and those that merely require an authenticated user.

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/application.groovy.

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

Role.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

import groovy.transform.EqualsAndHashCode
import groovy.transform.ToString
import grails.compiler.GrailsCompileStatic

@GrailsCompileStatic
@EqualsAndHashCode(includes='authority')
@ToString(includes='authority', includeNames=true, includePackage=false)
class Role implements Serializable {

	private static final long serialVersionUID = 1

	String authority

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

	static mapping = {
		cache true
	}
}

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

Table 2. Role class configuration options
Property Default Value Meaning

authority.className

none

Role class name

authority.nameField

“authority”

Role class role name property

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.

4.3. 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:

UserRole.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

import grails.gorm.DetachedCriteria
import groovy.transform.ToString

import org.codehaus.groovy.util.HashCodeHelper
import grails.compiler.GrailsCompileStatic

@GrailsCompileStatic
@ToString(cache=true, includeNames=true, includePackage=false)
class UserRole implements Serializable {

	private static final long serialVersionUID = 1

	User user
	Role role

	@Override
	boolean equals(other) {
		if (other instanceof UserRole) {
			other.userId == user?.id && other.roleId == role?.id
		}
	}

    @Override
	int hashCode() {
	    int hashCode = HashCodeHelper.initHash()
        if (user) {
            hashCode = HashCodeHelper.updateHash(hashCode, user.id)
		}
		if (role) {
		    hashCode = HashCodeHelper.updateHash(hashCode, role.id)
		}
		hashCode
	}

	static UserRole get(long userId, long roleId) {
		criteriaFor(userId, roleId).get()
	}

	static boolean exists(long userId, long roleId) {
		criteriaFor(userId, roleId).count()
	}

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

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

	static boolean remove(User u, Role r) {
		if (u != null && r != null) {
			UserRole.where { user == u && role == r }.deleteAll()
		}
	}

	static int removeAll(User u) {
		u == null ? 0 : UserRole.where { user == u }.deleteAll() as int
	}

	static int removeAll(Role r) {
		r == null ? 0 : UserRole.where { role == r }.deleteAll() as int
	}

	static constraints = {
		role validator: { Role r, UserRole ur ->
			if (ur.user?.id) {
				UserRole.withNewSession {
					if (UserRole.exists(ur.user.id, r.id)) {
						return ['userRole.exists']
					}
				}
			}
		}
	}

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

Listing 1. Granting a role
User user = ...
Role role = ...
UserRole.create user, role

Revoking a role is similar:

Listing 2. Revoking a role
User user = ...
Role role = ...
UserRole.remove user, role

The class name is the only configurable attribute:

Table 3. UserRole configuration options
Property Default Value Meaning

userLookup.authorityJoinClassName

none

User/Role many-many join class name

4.4. Group Class

The plugin provides you the option of creating an access inheritance level between “person” and “authority”: the “group”. The next three classes you will read about (including this one) are only used in a “person”/“group”/“authority” implementation. Rather than granting authorities directly to a “person”, you can create a “group”, map authorities to it, and then map a “person” to that “group”. For applications that have a one or more groups of users who need the same level of access, having one or more “group” instances makes managing changes to access levels easier because the authorities that make up that access level are encapsulated in the “group”, and a single change will affect all of the users.

If you run the s2-quickstart script with the group name specified and use com.mycompany.myapp as your package and RoleGroup and Role as your class names, you’ll generate this class:

RoleGroup.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

import groovy.transform.EqualsAndHashCode
import groovy.transform.ToString
import grails.compiler.GrailsCompileStatic

@GrailsCompileStatic
@EqualsAndHashCode(includes='name')
@ToString(includes='name', includeNames=true, includePackage=false)
class RoleGroup implements Serializable {

	private static final long serialVersionUID = 1

	String name

	Set<Role> getAuthorities() {
		(RoleGroupRole.findAllByRoleGroup(this) as List<RoleGroupRole>)*.role as Set<Role>
	}

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

	static mapping = {
		cache true
	}
}

When running the s2-quickstart script with the group name specified, the “person” class will be generated differently to accommodate the use of groups. Assuming you use com.mycompany.myapp as your package and User and RoleGroup as your class names, the getAuthorities() method will be generated like so:

Listing 3. The generated getAuthorities() method when using role groups
Set<RoleGroup> getAuthorities() {
	(UserRoleGroup.findAllByUser(this) as List<UserRoleGroup>)*.roleGroup as Set<RoleGroup>
}

The plugin assumes the attribute authorities will provide the “authority” collection for each class, but you can change the property names in grails-app/conf/application.groovy. You also must ensure that the property useRoleGroups is set to true in order for GormUserDetailsService to properly retrieve the authorities.

Table 4. RoleGroup configuration options
Property Default Value Meaning

useRoleGroups

false

Whether to use “authority group” implementation when loading user authorities

authority.groupAuthorityNameField

none (the s2-quickstart script uses the name “authorities”)

RoleGroup class role collection property

4.5. PersonGroup Class

The typical approach to mapping the relationship between “person” and “group” is a many-to-many. In a standard implementation, users have multiple roles, and roles are shared by multiple users. In a group implementation, users have multiple groups, and groups are shared by multiple users. For the same reason we would use a join class between “person” and “authority”, we should use one between “person” and “group”. Please note that when using groups, there should not be a join class between “person” and “authority”, since “group” resides between the two.

If you run the s2-quickstart script with the group name specified, this class will be 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 RoleGroup as your class names, you’ll generate this class:

UserRoleGroup.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

import grails.gorm.DetachedCriteria
import groovy.transform.ToString
import org.codehaus.groovy.util.HashCodeHelper
import grails.compiler.GrailsCompileStatic

@GrailsCompileStatic
@ToString(cache=true, includeNames=true, includePackage=false)
class UserRoleGroup implements Serializable {

	private static final long serialVersionUID = 1

	User user
	RoleGroup roleGroup

	@Override
	boolean equals(other) {
		if (other instanceof UserRoleGroup) {
			other.userId == user?.id && other.roleGroupId == roleGroup?.id
		}
	}

    @Override
	int hashCode() {
	    int hashCode = HashCodeHelper.initHash()
        if (user) {
            hashCode = HashCodeHelper.updateHash(hashCode, user.id)
		}
		if (roleGroup) {
		    hashCode = HashCodeHelper.updateHash(hashCode, roleGroup.id)
		}
		hashCode
	}

	static UserRoleGroup get(long userId, long roleGroupId) {
		criteriaFor(userId, roleGroupId).get()
	}

	static boolean exists(long userId, long roleGroupId) {
		criteriaFor(userId, roleGroupId).count()
	}

	private static DetachedCriteria criteriaFor(long userId, long roleGroupId) {
		UserRoleGroup.where {
			user == User.load(userId) &&
			roleGroup == RoleGroup.load(roleGroupId)
		}
	}

	static UserRoleGroup create(User user, RoleGroup roleGroup, boolean flush = false) {
		def instance = new UserRoleGroup(user: user, roleGroup: roleGroup)
		instance.save(flush: flush)
		instance
	}

	static boolean remove(User u, RoleGroup rg) {
		if (u != null && rg != null) {
			UserRoleGroup.where { user == u && roleGroup == rg }.deleteAll()
		}
	}

	static int removeAll(User u) {
		u == null ? 0 : UserRoleGroup.where { user == u }.deleteAll() as int
	}

	static int removeAll(RoleGroup rg) {
		rg == null ? 0 : UserRoleGroup.where { roleGroup == rg }.deleteAll() as int
	}

	static constraints = {
		user validator: { User u, UserRoleGroup ug ->
			if (ug.roleGroup?.id) {
				UserRoleGroup.withNewSession {
					if (UserRoleGroup.exists(u.id, ug.roleGroup.id)) {
						return ['userGroup.exists']
					}
				}
			}
		}
	}

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

4.6. GroupAuthority Class

The typical approach to mapping the relationship between “group” and “authority” is a many-to-many. In a standard implementation, users have multiple roles, and roles are shared by multiple users. In a group implementation, groups have multiple roles and roles are shared by multiple groups. For the same reason we would use a join class between “person” and “authority”, we should use one between “group” and “authority”.

If you run the s2-quickstart script with the group name specified, this class will be 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 RoleGroup and Role as your class names, you’ll generate this class:

RoleGroupRole.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

import grails.gorm.DetachedCriteria
import groovy.transform.ToString

import org.codehaus.groovy.util.HashCodeHelper
import grails.compiler.GrailsCompileStatic

@GrailsCompileStatic
@ToString(cache=true, includeNames=true, includePackage=false)
class RoleGroupRole implements Serializable {

	private static final long serialVersionUID = 1

	RoleGroup roleGroup
	Role role

	@Override
	boolean equals(other) {
		if (other instanceof RoleGroupRole) {
			other.roleId == role?.id && other.roleGroupId == roleGroup?.id
		}
	}

	@Override
	int hashCode() {
	    int hashCode = HashCodeHelper.initHash()
        if (roleGroup) {
            hashCode = HashCodeHelper.updateHash(hashCode, roleGroup.id)
		}
		if (role) {
		    hashCode = HashCodeHelper.updateHash(hashCode, role.id)
		}
		hashCode
	}

	static RoleGroupRole get(long roleGroupId, long roleId) {
		criteriaFor(roleGroupId, roleId).get()
	}

	static boolean exists(long roleGroupId, long roleId) {
		criteriaFor(roleGroupId, roleId).count()
	}

	private static DetachedCriteria criteriaFor(long roleGroupId, long roleId) {
		RoleGroupRole.where {
			roleGroup == RoleGroup.load(roleGroupId) &&
			role == Role.load(roleId)
		}
	}

	static RoleGroupRole create(RoleGroup roleGroup, Role role, boolean flush = false) {
		def instance = new RoleGroupRole(roleGroup: roleGroup, role: role)
		instance.save(flush: flush)
		instance
	}

	static boolean remove(RoleGroup rg, Role r) {
		if (rg != null && r != null) {
			RoleGroupRole.where { roleGroup == rg && role == r }.deleteAll()
		}
	}

	static int removeAll(Role r) {
		r == null ? 0 : RoleGroupRole.where { role == r }.deleteAll() as int
	}

	static int removeAll(RoleGroup rg) {
		rg == null ? 0 : RoleGroupRole.where { roleGroup == rg }.deleteAll() as int
	}

	static constraints = {
		role validator: { Role r, RoleGroupRole rg ->
			if (rg.roleGroup?.id) {
				RoleGroupRole.withNewSession {
					if (RoleGroupRole.exists(rg.roleGroup.id, r.id)) {
						return ['roleGroup.exists']
					}
				}
			}
		}
	}

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

4.7. Requestmap Class

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

Table 5. Requestmap class configuration options
Property Default Value Meaning

requestMap.className

none

requestmap class name

requestMap.urlField

“url”

URL pattern property name

requestMap.configAttributeField

“configAttribute”

authority pattern property name

requestMap.httpMethodField

“httpMethod”

HTTP method property 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:

Requestmap.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

import org.springframework.http.HttpMethod

import groovy.transform.EqualsAndHashCode
import groovy.transform.ToString
import grails.compiler.GrailsCompileStatic

@GrailsCompileStatic
@EqualsAndHashCode(includes=['configAttribute', 'httpMethod', 'url'])
@ToString(includes=['configAttribute', 'httpMethod', 'url'], cache=true, includeNames=true, includePackage=false)
class RequestMap implements Serializable {

	private static final long serialVersionUID = 1

	String configAttribute
	HttpMethod httpMethod
	String url

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

	static mapping = {
		cache true
	}
}

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

5. 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.

5.1. 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 to allow access 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)

Listing 4. Enabling rejectIfNoRule
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):

Listing 5. Enabling fii.rejectPublicInvocations
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:

Listing 6. Example controllerAnnotations.staticRules configuration when using rejectIfNoRule or fii.rejectPublicInvocations
grails.plugin.springsecurity.controllerAnnotations.staticRules = [
   [pattern: '/',               access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/error',          access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/index',          access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/index.gsp',      access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/shutdown',       access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/assets/**',      access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/**/js/**',       access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/**/css/**',      access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/**/images/**',   access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/**/favicon.ico', access: ['permitAll']]
]

Note that the syntax of the staticRules block has changed from previous versions of the plugin where the keys were URL patterns and the values were access rules (roles, expressions, etc.) To avoid issues in configuration parsing and to allow optionally specifying the HTTP method associated with one or more of the rules, the staticRules block is now specified as a List of Maps. Each Map defines one combination of url pattern and access rules (and optionally HTTP method). If there are multiple access rules, specify them as a List of Strings; if there is only one access rule, its value can be a String or a single-element List.

The preceding staticRules example includes the default mappings defined when running the s2-quickstart script. Here’s a more complete example using all configuration options:

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

   [pattern: '/user/**',        access: 'ROLE_USER'],
   [pattern: '/admin/**',       access: ['ROLE_ADMIN', 'isFullyAuthenticated()']],
   [pattern: '/thing/register', access: 'isAuthenticated()', httpMethod: 'PUT']
]

Now in addition to the default mappings, we require an authentication with ROLE_USER for any URL starting with /user, a “fully authenticated” authentication (i.e. an explicit login was performed without using remember-me) with ROLE_USER for any URL starting with /admin, and finally to access the URL /thing/register the user must be authenticated with any role(s) but must use a PUT request.

This is needed when using annotations; if you use the grails.plugin.springsecurity.interceptUrlMap map in application.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:

Listing 7. Creating default requestmap instances when using rejectIfNoRule or fii.rejectPublicInvocations
for (String url in [
      '/', '/error', '/index', '/index.gsp', '/**/favicon.ico', '/shutdown',
      '/**/js/**', '/**/css/**', '/**/images/**',
      '/login', '/login.*', '/login/*',
      '/logout', '/logout.*', '/logout/*']) {
   new Requestmap(url: url, configAttribute: 'permitAll').save()
}

The analogous interceptUrlMap settings would be:

Listing 8. Example interceptUrlMap configuration when using rejectIfNoRule or fii.rejectPublicInvocations
grails.plugin.springsecurity.interceptUrlMap = [
   [pattern: '/',               access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/error',          access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/index',          access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/index.gsp',      access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/shutdown',       access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/assets/**',      access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/**/js/**',       access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/**/css/**',      access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/**/images/**',   access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/**/favicon.ico', access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/login/**',       access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/logout/**',      access: ['permitAll']]
]

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

[pattern: '/login/impersonate', access: ['ROLE_ADMIN']],
[pattern: '/logout/impersonate', access: ['permitAll']]

5.2. 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 SpEL expressions and/or tokens such as IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY, IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBERED, and IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY. One or more voters (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.

    • The SpEL expression permitAll is equivalent to IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY and is typically more intuitive to use

  • IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBERED

    • requires the user to be authenticated through a remember-me cookie or an explicit login.

    • The SpEL expression isAuthenticated() or isRememberMe() is equivalent to IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBERED and is typically more intuitive to use

  • IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY

    • requires the user to be fully authenticated with an explicit login.

    • The SpEL expression isFullyAuthenticated() is equivalent to IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY and is typically more intuitive to use

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.

5.3. Comparing the Approaches

Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. Annotations and the application.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/application.groovy or in the applicable controllers using annotations.

URLs must be mapped in lowercase if you use the Requestmap or grails-app/conf/application.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.

5.4. 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 has the same attributes and features but also supports defining a closure as the config attribute to make authorization decisions) 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:

Listing 9. Specifying securityConfigType as “Annotation”
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:

Listing 10. An annotated 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' // assuming you're not using "strict" mode,
                                   // otherwise the action is not viewable by anyone
   }
}

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 if you have disabled “strict” mode (using rejectIfNoRule), and nobody can access the action by default since it has no access rule configured.

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:

Listing 11. An example of using a Closure in with @Secured
@Secured(closure = {
   assert request
   assert ctx
   authentication.name == 'admin1'
})
def someMethod() {
   ...
}

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. Note that “strict” mode isn’t applicable here since all actions have an access rule defined (either explicitly or inherited from the class-level annotation).

Additionally, you can specify the HTTP method that is required in each annotation for the access rule, e.g.

package com.mycompany.myapp

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.annotation.Secured

class SecureAnnotatedController {

   @Secured(value = ['ROLE_ADMIN'], httpMethod = 'GET')
   def create() {
      ...
   }

   @Secured(value = ['ROLE_ADMIN'], httpMethod = 'POST')
   def save() {
      ...
   }
}

Here you must have ROLE_ADMIN for both the create and save actions but create requires a GET request (since it renders the form to create a new instance) and save requires POST (since it’s the action that the form posts to).

5.4.1. Securing RESTful domain classes

Since Grails 2.3, domain classes can be annotated with the grails.rest.Resource AST transformation, which will generate internally a controller with the default CRUD operations.

You can also use the @Secured annotation on such domain classes:

@Resource
@Secured('ROLE_ADMIN')
class Thing {

   String name
}

5.4.2. 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 = [
   ...
   [pattern: '/js/admin/**',   access: ['ROLE_ADMIN']],
   [pattern: '/someplugin/**', access: ['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.

5.5. Static Map

To use a static map in application.groovy to secure URLs, first specify securityConfigType="InterceptUrlMap":

Listing 12. Specifying securityConfigType as “InterceptUrlMap”
grails.plugin.springsecurity.securityConfigType = "InterceptUrlMap"

Define a Map in application.groovy:

Listing 13. Example grails.plugin.springsecurity.interceptUrlMap
grails.plugin.springsecurity.interceptUrlMap = [
   [pattern: '/',               access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/error',          access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/index',          access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/index.gsp',      access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/shutdown',       access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/assets/**',      access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/**/js/**',       access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/**/css/**',      access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/**/images/**',   access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/**/favicon.ico', access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/login',          access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/login/**',       access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/logout',         access: ['permitAll']],
   [pattern: '/logout/**',      access: ['permitAll']]
]

and add any custom mappings as needed, e.g.

Listing 14. Custom interceptUrlMap mappings
grails.plugin.springsecurity.interceptUrlMap = [
   ...
   [pattern: '/secure/**',  access: ['ROLE_ADMIN']],
   [pattern: '/finance/**', access: ['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.

Listing 15. Incorrect interceptUrlMap order
[pattern: '/secure/**',               access: ['ROLE_ADMIN', 'ROLE_SUPERUSER']],
[pattern: '/secure/reallysecure/**',  access: ['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

Listing 16. Correct interceptUrlMap order
[pattern: '/secure/reallysecure/**', access: ['ROLE_SUPERUSER']],
[pattern: '/secure/**',              access: ['ROLE_ADMIN', 'ROLE_SUPERUSER']]

5.6. 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, SpEL expressions, and/or tokens such as IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY, IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBERED, and IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY.

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

Listing 17. Specifying securityConfigType as “Requestmap”
grails.plugin.springsecurity.securityConfigType = "Requestmap"

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

Listing 18. Creating Requestmap entries
for (String url in [
      '/', '/error', '/index', '/index.gsp', '/**/favicon.ico', '/shutdown',
      '/assets/**', '/**/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: '/login/impersonate',
               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 (/login/impersonate) 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 application.groovy Map approach (Static Map), you do not need to revise the Requestmap entry order because the plugin calculates the most specific rule that applies to the current request.

5.6.1. 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()):

Listing 19. Calling clearCachedRequestmaps()
class RequestmapController {

   def springSecurityService

   ...

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

      springSecurityService.clearCachedRequestmaps()

      flash.message = ...
      redirect action: 'show', id: requestmap.id
   }
}

5.7. 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:

Listing 20. An 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

Listing 21. Creating Requestmap instances
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

Listing 22. Adding mappings in grails.plugin.springsecurity.interceptUrlMap
grails.plugin.springsecurity.interceptUrlMap = [
   [pattern: '/secure/someAction',      access: ["hasRole('ROLE_ADMIN')"]],
   [pattern: '/secure/someOtherAction', access: ["authentication.name == 'ralph'"]]
]

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

Table 6. Spring Security expressions
Expression Description

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)

principal

Allows direct access to the principal object representing the current user

authentication

Allows direct access to the current Authentication object obtained from the SecurityContext

permitAll

Always evaluates to true

denyAll

Always 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

request

the 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 (IP Address Restrictions).

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

Table 7. Traditional configurations and associated expressions
Traditional Config Expression

ROLE_ADMIN

hasRole('ROLE_ADMIN')

ROLE_USER,ROLE_ADMIN

hasAnyRole('ROLE_USER','ROLE_ADMIN')

ROLE_ADMIN,IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY

hasRole('ROLE_ADMIN') and isFullyAuthenticated()

IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY

permitAll

IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBERED

isAuthenticated() or isRememberMe()

IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY

isFullyAuthenticated()

6. Helper Classes

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

6.1. 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.

6.1.1. ifLoggedIn

Displays the inner body content if the user is authenticated.

Example:

Listing 23. Example using <sec:ifLoggedIn>
<sec:ifLoggedIn>
Welcome Back!
</sec:ifLoggedIn>

6.1.2. ifNotLoggedIn

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

Example:

Listing 24. Example using <sec:ifNotLoggedIn>
<sec:ifNotLoggedIn>
<g:link controller='login' action='auth'>Login</g:link>
</sec:ifNotLoggedIn>

6.1.3. ifAllGranted

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

Example:

Listing 25. Example using <sec:ifAllGranted>
<sec:ifAllGranted roles='ROLE_ADMIN,ROLE_SUPERVISOR'>
...
secure stuff here
...
</sec:ifAllGranted>

6.1.4. ifAnyGranted

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

Example:

Listing 26. Example using <sec:ifAnyGranted>
<sec:ifAnyGranted roles='ROLE_ADMIN,ROLE_SUPERVISOR'>
...
secure stuff here
...
</sec:ifAnyGranted>

6.1.5. ifNotGranted

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

Example:

Listing 27. Example using <sec:ifNotGranted>
<sec:ifNotGranted roles='ROLE_USER'>
...
non-user stuff here
...
</sec:ifNotGranted>

6.1.6. loggedInUserInfo

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

Listing 28. Example using <sec:loggedInUserInfo>
<sec:loggedInUserInfo field='username'/>

If you have customized the UserDetails (e.g. with a custom UserDetailsService) to add a fullName property, you access it as follows:

Listing 29. Example using <sec:loggedInUserInfo> for a nonstandard property
Welcome Back <sec:loggedInUserInfo field='fullName'/>

6.1.7. username

Displays the value of the UserDetails username property if logged in.

Listing 30. Example using <sec:username>
<sec:ifLoggedIn>
Welcome Back <sec:username/>!
</sec:ifLoggedIn>
<sec:ifNotLoggedIn>
<g:link controller='login' action='auth'>Login</g:link>
</sec:ifNotLoggedIn>

6.1.8. ifSwitched

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

Listing 31. Example using <sec:ifSwitched> and <sec:ifNotSwitched>
<sec:ifLoggedIn>
Logged in as <sec:username/>
</sec:ifLoggedIn>

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

<sec:ifNotSwitched>

   <sec:ifAllGranted roles='ROLE_SWITCH_USER'>

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

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

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

   </sec:ifAllGranted>

</sec:ifNotSwitched>

6.1.9. ifNotSwitched

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

6.1.10. switchedUserOriginalUsername

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

Listing 32. Example using <sec:switchedUserOriginalUsername>
<sec:ifSwitched>
<a href='${request.contextPath}/logout/impersonate'>
   Resume as <sec:switchedUserOriginalUsername/>
</a>
</sec:ifSwitched>

6.1.11. access

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

Listing 33. Example using <sec:access> with an expression
<sec:access expression="hasRole('ROLE_USER')">

You're a user

</sec:access>
Listing 34. Example using <sec:access> with a URL
<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

Listing 35. Example using <sec:access> with a controller and action
<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:

Listing 36. Example using <sec:access> with a URL mapping
<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

Listing 37. Example using <sec:access> with <g:createLink>
<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.

6.1.12. noAccess

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

Listing 38. Example using <sec:noAccess>
<sec:noAccess expression="hasRole('ROLE_USER')">

You're not a user

</sec:noAccess>

A wrapper around the standard Grails link tag that renders if the specified expression evaluates to true or URL is allowed.

To define the expression to evaluate within the tag itself:

Listing 39. Example using <sec:link> with an expression
<sec:link controller='myController' action='myAction' expression="hasRole('ROLE_USER')">My link text</sec:link>

To use access controls defined, for example, in the interceptUrlMap:

Listing 40. Example using <sec:link> without an expression
<sec:link controller='myController' action='myAction'>My link text</sec:link>

6.2. 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

6.2.1. getCurrentUser()

Retrieves a domain class instance for the currently authenticated user. During authentication a user/person domain class instance is retrieved 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, or the username if the UserDetails instance is not a GrailsUser.

If you do not need domain class data other than the id, you should use the loadCurrentUser method instead.

Example:

Listing 41. Example using getCurrentUser()
class SomeController {

   def springSecurityService

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

6.2.2. loadCurrentUser()

Often it is not necessary to retrieve the entire domain class instance, for example when using it in a query where only the id is needed as a foreign key. This method uses the GORM load method to create a proxy instance. This will never be null, but can be invalid if the id doesn’t correspond to a row in the database, although this is very unlikely in this scenario because the instance would have been there during authentication.

If you need other data than just the id, use the getCurrentUser method instead.

Example:

Listing 42. Example using loadCurrentUser()
class SomeController {

   def springSecurityService

   def someAction(Long id) {
      def user = springSecurityService.isLoggedIn() ?
            springSecurityService.loadCurrentUser() :
            null
      if (user) {
         CreditCard card = CreditCard.findByIdAndUser(id, user)
         ...
      }
      ...
   }
}

6.2.3. isLoggedIn()

Checks whether there is a currently logged-in user.

Example:

Listing 43. Example using isLoggedIn()
class SomeController {

   def springSecurityService

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

6.2.4. 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:

Listing 44. Example using getAuthentication()
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
      ...
   }
}

6.2.5. 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:

Listing 45. Example using getPrincipal()
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
      ...
   }
}

6.2.6. 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 application.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 computing passwords if your database gets compromised. See Salted Passwords.

Example:

Listing 46. Example using encodePassword()
class PersonController {

   def springSecurityService

   def updateAction(Person person) {

      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 an PersistenceEventListener or 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 a single point.

6.2.7. 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:

Listing 47. Example using updateRole()
class RoleController {

   def springSecurityService

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

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

6.2.8. 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, [pattern: '/foo/bar', access: 'ROLE_FOO']), it is deleted.

Example:

Listing 48. Example using deleteRole()
class RoleController {

   def springSecurityService

   def delete(Role role) {
      try {
         springSecurityService.deleteRole role
         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
      }
   }
}

6.2.9. 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:

Listing 49. Example using clearCachedRequestmaps()
class RequestmapController {

   def springSecurityService

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

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

6.2.10. 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:

Listing 50. Example using reauthenticate()
class UserController {

   def springSecurityService

   def update(User user) {

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

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

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

6.3. 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.

6.3.1. authoritiesToRoles()

Extracts role names from an array or Collection of GrantedAuthority.

6.3.2. getPrincipalAuthorities()

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

6.3.3. parseAuthoritiesString()

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

6.3.4. ifAllGranted()

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

6.3.5. ifNotGranted()

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

6.3.6. ifAnyGranted()

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

6.3.7. getSecurityConfig()

Retrieves the security part of the Configuration (from grails-app/conf/application.groovy merged with the plugin’s default configuration).

6.3.8. loadSecondaryConfig()

Used by dependent plugins to add configuration attributes.

6.3.9. reloadSecurityConfig()

Forces a reload of the security configuration.

6.3.10. 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 application.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.

Listing 51. Customizing Ajax detection with grails.plugin.springsecurity.ajaxCheckClosure
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.

6.3.11. registerProvider()

Used by dependent plugins to register an AuthenticationProvider bean name.

6.3.12. registerFilter()

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

6.3.13. isSwitched()

Checks whether the current user switched from another user.

6.3.14. getSwitchedUserOriginalUsername()

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

6.3.15. 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.

7. 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.

7.1. 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/application.groovy that take advantage of the plugin’s grails.plugin.springsecurity.SecurityEventListener. The listener does the filtering for you.

7.1.1. 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/application.groovy.

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

7.1.2. UsernameNotFoundException

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

Table 8. Exceptions and associated events
Exception Event

AccountExpiredException

AuthenticationFailureExpiredEvent

AuthenticationServiceException

AuthenticationFailureServiceExceptionEvent

LockedException

AuthenticationFailureLockedEvent

CredentialsExpiredException

AuthenticationFailureCredentialsExpiredEvent

DisabledException

AuthenticationFailureDisabledEvent

BadCredentialsException

AuthenticationFailureBadCredentialsEvent

UsernameNotFoundException

AuthenticationFailureBadCredentialsEvent

ProviderNotFoundException

AuthenticationFailureProviderNotFoundEvent

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/application.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).

7.2. Registering an Event Listener

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

MySecurityEventListener.groovy
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:

Listing 52. Registration of the event listener bean in resources.groovy
import com.foo.bar.MySecurityEventListener

beans = {
   mySecurityEventListener(MySecurityEventListener)
}

7.3. Registering Callback Closures

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

Implement the event handlers that you need, for example:

Listing 53. Adding event handling closures in application.groovy
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.

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.

8. 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 property names.

Table 9. Domain class configuration options
Property Default Value Meaning

userLookup.userDomainClassName

none

User class name

userLookup.usernamePropertyName

“username”

User class username property

userLookup.usernameIgnoreCase

“false”

Ignore case when searching for usernamePropertyName

userLookup.passwordPropertyName

“password”

User class password property

userLookup.authoritiesPropertyName

“authorities”

User class role collection property

userLookup.enabledPropertyName

“enabled”

User class enabled property

userLookup.accountExpiredPropertyName

“accountExpired”

User class account expired property

userLookup.accountLockedPropertyName

“accountLocked”

User class account locked property

userLookup.passwordExpiredPropertyName

“passwordExpired”

User class password expired property

userLookup.authorityJoinClassName

none

User/Role many-many join class name

authority.className

none

Role class name

authority.nameField

“authority”

Role class role name property

requestMap.className

none

Requestmap class name

requestMap.urlField

“url”

Requestmap class URL pattern property

requestMap.configAttributeField

“configAttribute”

Requestmap class role/token property

9. 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 LDAP, and single sign-on using CAS

9.1. 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:

Listing 54. Basic Authentication example settings
grails.plugin.springsecurity.useBasicAuth = true
grails.plugin.springsecurity.basic.realmName = "Ralph's Bait and Tackle"
Table 10. Basic Authentication configuration options
Property Default Description

useBasicAuth

false

Whether 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 authentication, you can partition the URL patterns and apply Basic authentication to some, but regular form login to others. For example, if you have a web service that uses Basic authentication for /webservice/** URLs, you would configure that using the chainMap config attribute:

Listing 55. Example filter chain mappings for Basic authentication
grails.plugin.springsecurity.filterChain.chainMap = [
   [pattern: '/webservice/**', filters: 'JOINED_FILTERS,-exceptionTranslationFilter'],
   [pattern: '/**',            filters: '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 authentication 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.

Table 11. Digest Authentication configuration options
Property Default Value Meaning

useDigestAuth

false

Whether 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.nonceValiditySeconds

300

How long a nonce stays valid

digest.passwordAlreadyEncoded

false

Whether you are managing the password hashing yourself

digest.createAuthenticatedToken

false

If true, creates an authenticated UsernamePasswordAuthenticationToken to avoid loading the user from the database twice. However, this process skips the isAccountNonExpired(), isAccountNonLocked(), isCredentialsNonExpired(), and isEnabled() checks, so it is not advised.

digest.useCleartextPasswords

false

If 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 authentication password encoder is different from the typical encoders you must pass the username as the “salt” value. The code in the generated User class assumes you’re not using a salt value, so you’ll need to change the code in encodePassword() from

password = springSecurityService.encodePassword(password)

to

password = springSecurityService.encodePassword(password, username)

9.2. Certificate (X.509) 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.

Table 12. X.509 configuration options
Property Default Value Meaning

useX509

false

Whether to support certificate-based logins

x509.continueFilterChainOnUnsuccessfulAuthentication

true

Whether to proceed when an authentication attempt fails to allow other authentication mechanisms to process the request

x509.subjectDnRegex

“CN=(.*?)(?:,|$)”

Regular expression for extracting the username from the certificate’s subject name

x509.checkForPrincipalChanges

false

Whether to re-extract the username from the certificate and check that it’s still the current user when a valid Authentication already exists

x509.invalidateSessionOnPrincipalChange

true

Whether to invalidate the session if the principal changed (based on a checkForPrincipalChanges check)

x509.subjectDnClosure

none

If set, the plugin’s ClosureX509PrincipalExtractor class is used to extract information from the X.509 certificate using the specified closure

x509.throwExceptionWhenTokenRejected

false

If 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.

9.3. 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.

Table 13. Remember-me configuration options
Property Default Value Meaning

rememberMe.cookieName

grails_remember_me

remember-me cookie name; should be unique per application

rememberMe.cookieDomain

none

remember-me cookie domain

rememberMe.alwaysRemember

false

If true, create a remember-me cookie even if no checkbox is on the form

rememberMe.tokenValiditySeconds

1209600 (14 days)

Max age of the cookie in seconds

rememberMe.parameter

remember-me

Login form remember-me checkbox name

rememberMe.key

grailsRocks

Value used to encode cookies; should be unique per application

rememberMe.useSecureCookie

none

Whether 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.createSessionOnSuccess

true

Whether to create a session of one doesn’t exist to ensure that the Authentication is stored for future requests

rememberMe.persistent

false

If true, stores persistent login information in the database

rememberMe.persistentToken.domainClassName

none

Domain class used to manage persistent logins

rememberMe.persistentToken.seriesLength

16

Number of characters in the cookie’s series attribute

rememberMe.persistentToken.tokenLength

16

Number of characters in the cookie’s token attribute

atr.rememberMeClass

RememberMeAuthenticationToken

remember-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 hashed. 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.

9.3.1. 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 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/application.groovy. It will also enable persistent logins by setting rememberMe.persistent to true.

9.4. 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 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 JavaScript to present a login form within the current page in a popup. The JavaScript code submits the authentication request and displays success or error messages as appropriate.

The plugin supports Ajax logins, but you need to create your own client-side 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 JavaScript.

This example uses jQuery and jqModal, a jQuery plugin that creates and manages dialogs and popups. Download jqModal.js and copy it to grails-app/assets/javascripts, and download jqModal.css and copy it to grails-app/assets/stylesheets.

Create grails-app/assets/javascripts/ajaxLogin.js and add this JavaScript code:

ajaxLogin.js
var onLogin;

$.ajaxSetup({
   beforeSend: function(jqXHR, event) {
      if (event.url != $("#ajaxLoginForm").attr("action")) {
         // save the 'success' function for later use if
         // it wasn't triggered by an explicit login click
         onLogin = event.success;
      }
   },
   statusCode: {
      // Set up a global Ajax error handler to handle 401
      // unauthorized responses. If a 401 status code is
      // returned the user is no longer logged in (e.g. when
      // the session times out), so re-display the login form.
      401: function() {
         showLogin();
      }
   }
});

function showLogin() {
   var ajaxLogin = $("#ajaxLogin");
   ajaxLogin.css("text-align", "center");
   ajaxLogin.jqmShow();
}

function logout(event) {
   event.preventDefault();
   $.ajax({
      url: $("#_logout").attr("href"),
      method: "POST",
      success: function(data, textStatus, jqXHR) {
         window.location = "/";
      },
      error: function(jqXHR, textStatus, errorThrown) {
         console.log("Logout error, textStatus: " + textStatus +
                     ", errorThrown: " + errorThrown);
      }
   });
}

function authAjax() {
   $("#loginMessage").html("Sending request ...").show();

   var form = $("#ajaxLoginForm");
   $.ajax({
      url:       form.attr("action"),
      method:   "POST",
      data:      form.serialize(),
      dataType: "JSON",
      success: function(json, textStatus, jqXHR) {
         if (json.success) {
            form[0].reset();
            $("#loginMessage").empty();
            $("#ajaxLogin").jqmHide();
            $("#loginLink").html(
               'Logged in as ' + json.username +
               ' (<a href="' + $("#_logout").attr("href") +
               '" id="logout">Logout</a>)');
            $("#logout").click(logout);
            if (onLogin) {
               // execute the saved event.success function
               onLogin(json, textStatus, jqXHR);
            }
         }
         else if (json.error) {
            $("#loginMessage").html('<span class="errorMessage">' +
                                    json.error + "</error>");
         }
         else {
            $("#loginMessage").html(jqXHR.responseText);
         }
      },
      error: function(jqXHR, textStatus, errorThrown) {
         if (jqXHR.status == 401 && jqXHR.getResponseHeader("Location")) {
            // the login request itself wasn't allowed, possibly because the
            // post url is incorrect and access was denied to it
            $("#loginMessage").html('<span class="errorMessage">' +
               'Sorry, there was a problem with the login request</error>');
         }
         else {
            var responseText = jqXHR.responseText;
            if (responseText) {
               var json = $.parseJSON(responseText);
               if (json.error) {
                  $("#loginMessage").html('<span class="errorMessage">' +
                                          json.error + "</error>");
                  return;
               }
            }
            else {
               responseText = "Sorry, an error occurred (status: " +
                              textStatus + ", error: " + errorThrown + ")";
            }
            $("#loginMessage").html('<span class="errorMessage">' +
                                    responseText + "</error>");
         }
      }
   });
}

$(function() {
   $("#ajaxLogin").jqm({ closeOnEsc: true });
   $("#ajaxLogin").jqmAddClose("#cancelLogin");
   $("#ajaxLoginForm").submit(function(event) {
      event.preventDefault();
      authAjax();
   });
   $("#authAjax").click(authAjax);
   $("#logout").click(logout);
});

and create grails-app/assets/stylesheets/ajaxLogin.css and add this CSS:

ajaxLogin.css
#ajaxLogin {
   padding:    0px;
   text-align: center;
   display:    none;
}

#ajaxLogin .inner {
   width:              400px;
   padding-bottom:     6px;
   margin:             60px auto;
   text-align:         left;
   border:             1px solid #aab;
   background-color:   #f0f0fa;
   -moz-box-shadow:    2px 2px 2px #eee;
   -webkit-box-shadow: 2px 2px 2px #eee;
   -khtml-box-shadow:  2px 2px 2px #eee;
   box-shadow:         2px 2px 2px #eee;
}

#ajaxLogin .inner .fheader {
   padding:          18px 26px 14px 26px;
   background-color: #f7f7ff;
   margin:           0px 0 14px 0;
   color:            #2e3741;
   font-size:        18px;
   font-weight:      bold;
}

#ajaxLogin .inner .cssform p {
   clear:         left;
   margin:        0;
   padding:       4px 0 3px 0;
   padding-left:  105px;
   margin-bottom: 20px;
   height:        1%;
}

#ajaxLogin .inner .cssform input[type="text"],
#ajaxLogin .inner .cssform input[type="password"] {
   width: 150px;
}

#ajaxLogin .inner .cssform label {
   font-weight:   bold;
   float:         left;
   text-align:    right;
   margin-left:  -105px;
   width:         150px;
   padding-top:   3px;
   padding-right: 10px;
}

.ajaxLoginButton {
   background-color: #efefef;
   font-weight: bold;
   padding: 0.5em 1em;
   display: -moz-inline-stack;
   display: inline-block;
   vertical-align: middle;
   white-space: nowrap;
   overflow: visible;
   text-decoration: none;
      -moz-border-radius: 0.3em;
   -webkit-border-radius: 0.3em;
           border-radius: 0.3em;
}

.ajaxLoginButton:hover, .ajaxLoginButton:focus {
   background-color: #999999;
   color: #ffffff;
}

#ajaxLogin .inner .login_message {
   padding: 6px 25px 20px 25px;
   color:   #c33;
}

#ajaxLogin .inner .text_ {
   width: 120px;
}

#ajaxLogin .inner .chk {
   height: 12px;
}

.errorMessage {
   color: red;
}

There’s no need to register the JavaScript files in grails-app/assets/javascripts/application.js if you have this require_tree directive:

application.js
//= require_tree .

but you can explicitly include them if you want. Register the two CSS files in /grails-app/assets/stylesheets/application.css:

application.css
/*
 ...
 *= require ajaxLogin
 *= require jqModal
 ...
 */

We’ll need some GSP code to define the HTML, so create grails-app/views/includes/_ajaxLogin.gsp and add this:

_ajaxLogin.gsp
<span id="logoutLink" style="display: none;">
<g:link elementId='_logout' controller='logout'>Logout</g:link>
</span>

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

<div id="ajaxLogin" class="jqmWindow" style="z-index: 3000;">
   <div class="inner">
      <div class="fheader">Please Login..</div>
      <form action="${request.contextPath}/login/authenticate" method="POST"
            id="ajaxLoginForm" name="ajaxLoginForm" class="cssform" autocomplete="off">
         <p>
            <label for="username">Username:</label>
            <input type="text" class="text_" name="username" id="username" />
         </p>
         <p>
            <label for="password">Password</label>
            <input type="password" class="text_" name="password" id="password" />
         </p>
         <p>
            <label for="remember_me">Remember me</label>
            <input type="checkbox" class="chk" id="remember_me" name="remember-me"/>
         </p>
         <p>
            <input type="submit" id="authAjax" name="authAjax"
                   value="Login" class="ajaxLoginButton" />
            <input type="button" id="cancelLogin" value="Cancel"
                   class="ajaxLoginButton" />
         </p>
      </form>
      <div style="display: none; text-align: left;" id="loginMessage"></div>
   </div>
</div>

And finally, update the grails-app/views/layouts/main.gsp layout to include _ajaxLogin.gsp, adding it after the <body> tag:

main.gsp
<html lang="en" class="no-js">
   <head>
      ...
      <g:layoutHead/>
   </head>
   <body>
      <g:render template='/includes/ajaxLogin'/>
      ...
      <g:layoutBody/>
   </body>
</html>

The important aspects of this code are:

  • 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.

  • The form posts to the same URL as the regular form, /login/authenticate, and is mostly the same except for the addition of a “Cancel” button (you can also dismiss the dialog by clicking outside of it or with the escape key).

  • 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.

  • The Logout link also uses Ajax to submit a POST request to the standard logout url and redirect you to the index page after the request finishes.

    • Note that in the JavaScript logout function, you’ll need to change the url in the success callback to the correct post-logout value, e.g. window.location = "/appname"; if you have configured the contextPath to be "/appname"

9.4.1. How Does Ajax login Work?

Most Ajax libraries 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.

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

10. Authentication Providers

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

Table 14. Authentication provider configuration options
Property Default Value Meaning

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. Suppose you have a custom MyAuthenticationProvider in resources.groovy:

Listing 56. Registering a custom authentication provider bean in resources.groovy
import com.foo.MyAuthenticationProvider

beans = {
   myAuthenticationProvider(MyAuthenticationProvider) {
      // attributes
   }
}

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

Listing 57. Registering a custom authentication provider name in grails.plugin.springsecurity.providerNames
grails.plugin.springsecurity.providerNames = [
   'myAuthenticationProvider',
   'anonymousAuthenticationProvider',
   'rememberMeAuthenticationProvider']

11. 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 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. Create the class in src/groovy and not in grails-app/services - although the interface name includes “Service”, this is just a coincidence and the bean wouldn’t benefit from being a Grails service.

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 property. 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:

MyUserDetails.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.userdetails.GrailsUser
import org.springframework.security.core.GrantedAuthority

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
   }
}
MyUserDetailsService.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.SpringSecurityUtils
import grails.plugin.springsecurity.userdetails.GrailsUserDetailsService
import grails.plugin.springsecurity.userdetails.NoStackUsernameNotFoundException
import grails.transaction.Transactional
import org.springframework.security.core.authority.SimpleGrantedAuthority
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 SimpleGrantedAuthority(SpringSecurityUtils.NO_ROLE)]

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

   @Transactional(readOnly=true, noRollbackFor=[IllegalArgumentException, UsernameNotFoundException])
   UserDetails loadUserByUsername(String username) throws UsernameNotFoundException {

      User user = User.findByUsername(username)
      if (!user) throw new NoStackUsernameNotFoundException()

      def roles = user.authorities

      // or if you are using role groups:
      // def roles = user.authorities.collect { it.authorities }.flatten().unique()

      def authorities = roles.collect {
         new SimpleGrantedAuthority(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 loadUserByUsername method is transactional, but read-only, 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:

Listing 58. Registering a custom UserDetailsService in resources.groovy
import com.mycompany.myapp.MyUserDetailsService

beans = {
   userDetailsService(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.

11.1. 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:

Listing 59. Calling reauthenticate() after making a change that affects the cached authentication
class MyController {

   def springSecurityService

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

12. Password and Account Protection

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

12.1. 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 property 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.

Table 15. Password Hashing configuration options
Property Default Description

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.encodeHashAsBase64

false

If true, Base64-encode the hashed password

password.bcrypt.logrounds

10

the number of rekeying rounds to use when using bcrypt

password.hash.iterations

10000

the number of iterations which will be executed on the hashed password/salt when using a message digest algorithm

The bcrypt logrounds and iterations are set to a lower number to improve speed while testing. If you rely on them to be higher, set them manually when testing.

12.2. 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.

Note that if you use bcrypt (the default setting) or pbkdf2, do not configure a salt (e.g. the dao.reflectionSaltSourceProperty property or a custom saltSource bean) because these algorithms use their own internally.

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

12.2.1. 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 properties unless you use a custom UserDetailsService (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 property 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.

12.2.2. 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:

Listing 60. Configuring SystemWideSaltSource as the saltSource bean in application.groovy
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:

Listing 61. Configuring a custom implementation of the saltSource bean in application.groovy
import com.foo.bar.MySaltSource

beans = {
   saltSource(MySaltSource) {
      // set properties
   }
}

12.2.3. 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 save or update action in a UserController. When hashing the password, use the two-parameter version of springSecurityService.encodePassword():

Listing 62. Explicitly hashing passwords
class UserController {

   def springSecurityService

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

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

   def update(User user) {

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

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

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

12.3. 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:

Table 16. Account locked and disabled exceptions
Accessor Property Exception

isAccountNonExpired()

accountExpired

AccountExpiredException

isAccountNonLocked()

accountLocked

LockedException

isCredentialsNonExpired()

passwordExpired

CredentialsExpiredException

isEnabled()

enabled

DisabledException

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

Listing 63. Example grails.plugin.springsecurity.failureHandler.exceptionMappings configuration
import org.springframework.security.authentication.LockedException
import org.springframework.security.authentication.DisabledException
import org.springframework.security.authentication.AccountExpiredException
import org.springframework.security.authentication.CredentialsExpiredException

grails.plugin.springsecurity.failureHandler.exceptionMappings = [
   [exception: LockedException.name,             url: '/user/accountLocked'],
   [exception: DisabledException.name,           url: '/user/accountDisabled'],
   [exception: AccountExpiredException.name,     url: '/user/accountExpired'],
   [exception: CredentialsExpiredException.name, url: '/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:

Table 17. Login failure messages
Property Default

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 application.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):

Listing 64. Adding a passwordExpired() controller action
def passwordExpired() {
   [username: session['SPRING_SECURITY_LAST_USERNAME']]
}

and the form would look something like this:

Listing 65. Sample GSP code for a password reset page
<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:

Listing 66. Adding an updatePassword() controller action
def updatePassword(String password, String password_new, String password_new_2) {
   String username = session['SPRING_SECURITY_LAST_USERNAME']
   if (!username) {
      flash.message = 'Sorry, an error has occurred'
      redirect controller: 'login', action: 'auth'
      return
   }

   if (!password || !password_new || !password_new_2 || password_new != password_new_2) {
      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, password_new, 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 = password_new
   user.passwordExpired = false
   user.save() // if you have password constraints check them here

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

12.3.1. 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:

ExpirePasswordsJob.groovy
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
         }
      }
   }
}

If your application includes a dependency for org.hibernate:hibernate-ehcache (to provide an Ehcache-based 2nd-level cache implementation) you might have a conflict with the Ehcache dependency. hibernate-ehcache has a dependency for ehcache-core, but this plugin has a dependency for ehcache, so you will end up with both jars in your classpath. hibernate-ehcache works fine with the full ehcache jar, so you can avoid this problem by excluding ehcache-core in build.gradle:

compile 'org.hibernate:hibernate-ehcache', {
   exclude module: 'ehcache-core'
}

13. URL Properties

The table shows configurable URL-related properties.

Table 18. URL-related Properties
Property Default Value Meaning

apf.filterProcessesUrl

“/login/authenticate”

Login form post URL, intercepted by Spring Security filter

apf.usernameParameter

“username”

Login form username parameter

apf.passwordParameter

“password”

Login form password parameter

apf.allowSessionCreation

true

Whether to allow authentication to create an HTTP session

apf.postOnly

true

Whether to allow only POST login requests

apf.continueChainBefore SuccessfulAuthentication

false

whether to continue calling subsequent filters in the filter chain

apf.storeLastUsername

false

Whether 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.exceptionMappings

none

Map of exception class name (subclass of AuthenticationException) to which the URL will redirect for that exception type after authentication failure

failureHandler.useForward

false

Whether to render the error page (true) or redirect (false)

failureHandler.allowSessionCreation

true

Whether 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.alwaysUseDefault

false

If 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.useReferer

false

Whether 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.forceHttps

false

If true, redirects login page requests to HTTPS

auth.ajaxLoginFormUrl

“/login/authAjax”

URL of Ajax login page

auth.useForward

false

Whether to render the login page (true) or redirect (false)

logout.afterLogoutUrl

“/”

URL for redirect after logout

logout.filterProcessesUrl

“/logoff”

Logout URL, intercepted by Spring Security filter

logout.handlerNames

['rememberMeServices', 'securityContextLogoutHandler']

Logout handler bean names. See Logout Handlers

logout.clearAuthentication

true

If true removes the Authentication from the SecurityContext to prevent issues with concurrent requests

logout.invalidateHttpSession

true

Whether to invalidate the HTTP session when logging out

logout.targetUrlParameter

none

the querystring parameter name for the post-logout URL

logout.alwaysUseDefaultTargetUrl

false

whether to always use the afterLogoutUrl as the post-logout URL

logout.redirectToReferer

false

whether to use the Referer header value as the post-logout URL

logout.postOnly

true

If 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.useForward

true

If 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

ajaxCheckClosure

none

An optional closure that can determine if a request is Ajax

redirectStrategy.contextRelative

false

If 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.alwaysReauthenticate

false

If true, re-authenticates when there is a Authentication in the SecurityContext

fii.rejectPublicInvocations

true

Disallow URL access when there is no request mapping

fii.validateConfigAttributes

true

Whether to check that all ConfigAttribute instances are valid at startup

fii.publishAuthorizationSuccess

false

Whether to publish an AuthorizedEvent after successful access check

fii.observeOncePerRequest

true

If 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

14. Hierarchical Roles

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

Table 19. Hierarchical Roles configuration options
Property Default Value Meaning

roleHierarchy

none

Hierarchical role definition

roleHierarchyEntryClassName

none

Domain class used to manage persistent role hierarchy entries

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.

14.1. Persistent role hierarchy

Specifying a static string in the roleHierarchy property will be sufficient for most applications, but you can also store the information in your database. This is particularly useful if you’re also storing requestmaps in the database. To use persistant storage, run the s2-create-role-hierarchy-entry script. This will create the domain class and enable persistent storage by registering its name as the roleHierarchyEntryClassName setting in grails-app/conf/application.groovy.

For example, running

$ grails s2-create-role-hierarchy-entry com.yourapp.RoleHierarchyEntry

will generate this class in grails-app/domain/com/yourapp/RoleHierarchyEntry.groovy:

RoleHierarchyEntry.groovy
package com.yourapp

import groovy.transform.EqualsAndHashCode
import groovy.transform.ToString

@EqualsAndHashCode(includes='entry')
@ToString(includes='entry', includeNames=true, includePackage=false)
class RoleHierarchyEntry implements Serializable {

   private static final long serialVersionUID = 1

   String entry

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

   static mapping = {
      cache true
   }
}

To store the equivalent entries for the ROLE_SUPERADMIN / ROLE_FINANCE_ADMIN / ROLE_ADMIN hierarchy, add code like this to a method in a transactional service:

Listing 67. Persisting RoleHierarchyEntry instances
if (!RoleHierarchyEntry.count()) {
   new RoleHierarchyEntry(entry: 'ROLE_SUPERADMIN > ROLE_FINANCE_ADMIN').save()
   new RoleHierarchyEntry(entry: 'ROLE_FINANCE_ADMIN > ROLE_ADMIN').save()
}

Remember to update the roleHierarchy beans hierarchy definition by calling SpringSecurityService#reloadDBRoleHierarchy, or your model changes are not reflected in the running application.

15. 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.

15.1. Switching to Another User

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

Listing 68. An HTML form for switching to another user
<sec:ifAllGranted roles='ROLE_SWITCH_USER'>

   <form action='/login/impersonate' method='POST'>
      Switch to user: <input type='text' name='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:

Listing 69. Guarding the switch user url with controllerAnnotations.staticRules
grails.plugin.springsecurity.controllerAnnotations.staticRules = [
   ...
   [pattern: '/login/impersonate', access: ['ROLE_SWITCH_USER', 'isFullyAuthenticated()']]
]

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

Listing 70. Guarding the switch user url with a database requestmap
new Requestmap(url: '/login/impersonate',
               configAttribute: 'ROLE_SWITCH_USER,isFullyAuthenticated()').save(flush: true)

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

Listing 71. Guarding the switch user url with interceptUrlMap
grails.plugin.springsecurity.interceptUrlMap = [
   ...
   [pattern: '/login/impersonate', access: ['ROLE_SWITCH_USER', 'isFullyAuthenticated()']]
]

15.2. Switching Back to Original User

To resume as the original user, navigate to /logout/impersonate.

Listing 72. A link to switch back to the real user
<sec:ifSwitched>
<a href='${request.contextPath}/logout/impersonate'>
   Resume as <sec:switchedUserOriginalUsername/>
</a>
</sec:ifSwitched>

15.3. 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 = ...
Table 20. Switch user configuration options
Property Default Meaning

useSwitchUserFilter

false

Whether to use the switch user filter

switchUser.switchUserUrl

“/login/impersonate”

URL to access (via GET or POST) to switch to another user

switchUser.exitUserUrl

“/logout/impersonate”

URL to access to switch to another user

switchUser.targetUrl

Same as successHandler.defaultTargetUrl

URL for redirect after switching

switchUser.switchFailureUrl

Same as failureHandler.defaultFailureUrl

URL for redirect after an error during an attempt to switch

switchUser.usernameParameter

SwitchUserFilter.SPRING_SECURITY_SWITCH_USERNAME_KEY

The username request parameter name

15.4. 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:

Listing 73. Example GSP code to conditionally display a switch user form and resume link
<sec:ifLoggedIn>
Logged in as <sec:username/>
</sec:ifLoggedIn>

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

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

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

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

16. Filters

There are a few different approaches to configuring filter chains.

16.1. 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.

16.2. 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:

Listing 74. Sample grails.plugin.springsecurity.filterChain.filterNames configuration
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.

16.3. 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.

Listing 75. Sample grails.plugin.springsecurity.filterChain.chainMap configuration
grails.plugin.springsecurity.filterChain.chainMap = [
   [pattern: '/urlpattern1/**', filters: 'filter1,filter2,filter3,filter4'],
   [pattern: '/urlpattern2/**', filters: 'filter1,filter3,filter5'],
   [pattern: '/**',             filters: 'JOINED_FILTERS']
]

The format of filterChain.chainMap has changed from previous versions to avoid configuration parsing issues. In previous versions the property was a single Map, where the keys were the access patterns and the values were filter names. The old format is no longer supported and your configurations must be updated to the newer format.

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:

Listing 76. Using JOINED_FILTERS in a filterChain.chainMap configuration
grails.plugin.springsecurity.filterChain.chainMap = [
   [pattern: '/webservice/**', filters: 'JOINED_FILTERS,-exceptionTranslationFilter'],
   [pattern: '/**',            filters: '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.

Additionally, you can use a chainMap configuration to declare one or more URL patterns which should have no filters applied. Use the name 'none' for these patterns, e.g.

Listing 77. Using none in a filterChain.chainMap configuration
grails.plugin.springsecurity.filterChain.chainMap = [
   [pattern: '/someurlpattern/**', filters: 'none'],
   [pattern: '/**',                filters: 'JOINED_FILTERS']
]

16.4. 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:

import com.mycompany.myapp.MyFilter
import org.springframework.boot.context.embedded.FilterRegistrationBean

beans = {
   myFilter(MyFilter) {
      // properties
   }

   myFilterDeregistrationBean(FilterRegistrationBean) {
      filter = ref('myFilter')
      enabled = false
   }
}

Note that in addition to the filter bean, there is also a disabled FilterRegistrationBean registered. This is needed because Spring Boot automatically registers filter beans in the ApplicationContext, so you must register your own FilterRegistrationBean and set its enabled property to false to prevent this.

Then register the filter in grails-app/init/BootStrap.groovy:

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

class BootStrap {

   def init = {
      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.

17. Channel Security

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

Table 21. Channel Security configuration options
Property Default Value Meaning

portMapper.httpPort

8080

HTTP port your application uses

portMapper.httpsPort

8443

HTTPS port your application uses

secureChannel.definition

none

Map of URL pattern to channel rule

secureChannel.secureHeaderName

'X-Forwarded-Proto'

The name of the header to check for HTTPS

secureChannel.secureHeaderValue

'http'

The header value for secureHeaderName that indicates a need to redirect from HTTPS to HTTP

secureChannel.secureConfigAttributeKeyword

'REQUIRES_SECURE_CHANNEL'

The config attribute token to use for marking a pattern as requiring HTTPS.

secureChannel.insecureHeaderName

'X-Forwarded-Proto'

The name of the header to check for HTTP

secureChannel.insecureHeaderValue

'https'

The header value for insecureHeaderName that indicates a need to redirect from HTTP to HTTPS

secureChannel.insecureConfigAttributeKeyword

'REQUIRES_INSECURE_CHANNEL'

The config attribute token to use for marking a pattern as requiring HTTP.

Build a List of single-entry Maps under the secureChannel.definition key, where URL patterns are stored under the key “pattern”, and the values are stored under the key “access” and are one of the access keywords REQUIRES_SECURE_CHANNEL, REQUIRES_INSECURE_CHANNEL, or ANY_CHANNEL:

Listing 78. Sample grails.plugin.springsecurity.secureChannel.definition
grails.plugin.springsecurity.secureChannel.definition = [
   [pattern: '/login/**',        access: 'REQUIRES_SECURE_CHANNEL'],
   [pattern: '/maps/**',         access: 'REQUIRES_INSECURE_CHANNEL'],
   [pattern: '/images/login/**', access: 'REQUIRES_SECURE_CHANNEL'],
   [pattern: '/images/**',       access: 'ANY_CHANNEL']
]

The format of secureChannel.definition has changed from previous versions to avoid configuration parsing issues. In previous versions the property was a single Map, where the keys were the access patterns and the values were one of the access keywords above. The old format is no longer supported and your configurations must be updated to the newer format.

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.

17.1. 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 = '...'

18. 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.

Table 22. IP Address Restriction configuration options
Property Default Value Meaning

ipRestrictions

none

Map 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 as a List of Maps, one for each combination of URL pattern to 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:

Listing 79. Sample grails.plugin.springsecurity.ipRestrictions configuration
grails.plugin.springsecurity.ipRestrictions = [
   [pattern: '/pattern1/**', access: '123.234.345.456'],
   [pattern: '/pattern2/**', access: '10.0.0.0/8'],
   [pattern: '/pattern3/**', access: ['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.

The format of ipRestrictions has changed from previous versions to avoid configuration parsing issues. In previous versions the property was a single Map, where the keys were the access patterns and the values were the IP addresses that are allowed. The old format is no longer supported and your configurations must be updated to the newer format.

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.

19. 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.

Table 23. Session Fixation Prevention configuration options
Property Default Value Meaning

useSessionFixationPrevention

true

Whether to use session fixation prevention

sessionFixationPrevention.migrate

true

Whether to copy the session attributes of the existing session to the new session after login

sessionFixationPrevention.alwaysCreateSession

false

Whether to always create a session even if one did not exist at the start of the request

20. 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.

Table 24. Logout Handler configuration options
Property Default Value Meaning

logout.handlerNames

['rememberMeServices', 'securityContextLogoutHandler']

Logout handler bean names

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

Listing 80. Registering a custom logout handler in resources.groovy
import com.foo.MyLogoutHandler

beans = {
   myLogoutHandler(MyLogoutHandler) {
      // attributes
   }
}

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

Listing 81. Adding a custom logout handler in grails.plugin.springsecurity.logout.handlerNames
grails.plugin.springsecurity.logout.handlerNames = [
   'rememberMeServices', 'securityContextLogoutHandler', 'myLogoutHandler'
]

21. Voters

Voters are classes that implement the Spring Security AccessDecisionVoter interface and are used to confirm whether a successful authentication is authorized for the current request.

You can register the voters to use with the voterNames setting; each element in the collection is the name of an existing Spring bean.

Table 25. Voters configuration options
Property Default Value Meaning

voterNames

['authenticatedVoter', 'roleVoter', 'webExpressionVoter', 'closureVoter']

Bean names of voters

The default voters include a RoleHierarchyVoter to ensure users have the required roles for the request, an AuthenticatedVoter to support IS_AUTHENTICATED_FULLY, IS_AUTHENTICATED_REMEMBERED, and IS_AUTHENTICATED_ANONYMOUSLY tokens, a WebExpressionVoter to evaluate SpEL expressions, and a grails.plugin.springsecurity.access.vote.ClosureVoter to invoke annotation closures.

To customize this list, you define a voterNames attribute with a list of bean names. Any existing bean that implements the interface can be used, whether it is declared by this plugin, in your application’s resources.groovy, another plugin, or any other source.

Suppose you have registered a bean for a custom MyAccessDecisionVoter in resources.groovy:

import com.foo.MyAccessDecisionVoter

beans = {
   myAccessDecisionVoter(MyAccessDecisionVoter) {
      // attributes
   }
}

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

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

22. Miscellaneous Properties

Table 26. Miscellaneous Properties
Property Default Value Meaning

active

true

Whether the plugin is enabled

printStatusMessages

true

Whether to print status messages such as “Configuring Spring Security Core …​”

rejectIfNoRule

true

“strict” mode where a request mapping is required for all resources; if true make sure to allow permitAll for “/”, “/js/**”, “/css/**”, “/images/**”, “/login/**”, “/logout/**”, and so on

anon.key

“foo”

anonymousProcessingFilter key

atr.anonymousClass

grails.plugin.springsecurity.authentication. GrailsAnonymousAuthenticationToken

Anonymous token class

useHttpSession EventPublisher

false

If true, an HttpSession EventPublisher will be configured

cacheUsers

false

If true, logins are cached using an EhCache. See “Account Locking and Forcing Password Change”, under “User Cache”: Account Locking and Forcing Password Change

useSecurity EventListener

false

If true, configure SecurityEventListener. See Events

dao.reflectionSaltSourceProperty

none

Which property to use for the reflection-based salt source. See Salted Passwords

dao.hideUserNotFoundExceptions

true

if 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.createSession

true

Whether caching SavedRequest can trigger the creation of a session

roleHierarchy

none

Hierarchical role definition. See Hierarchical Roles

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.lowercase

true

Whether to do URL comparisons using lowercase

controllerAnnotations.staticRules

none

Extra rules that cannot be mapped using annotations

interceptUrlMap

none

Request mapping definition when using “InterceptUrlMap”. See Static Map

registerLoggerListener

false

If true, registers a LoggerListener that logs interceptor-related application events

scr.allowSessionCreation

true

Whether to allow creating a session in the securityContextRepository bean

scr.disableUrlRewriting

true

Whether to disable URL rewriting (and the jsessionid attribute)

scr.springSecurityContextKey

HttpSessionSecurityContextRepository. SPRING_SECURITY_CONTEXT_KEY

The HTTP session key to store the SecurityContext under

scpf.forceEagerSessionCreation

false

Whether to eagerly create a session in the securityContextRepository bean

sch.strategyName

SecurityContextHolder.MODE_THREADLOCAL

The 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.useFilter

false

Whether to use the DebugFilter to log request debug information to the console

providerManager.eraseCredentialsAfterAuthentication

true

Whether to remove the password from the Authentication and its child objects after successful authentication

23. Tutorials

23.1. Using Controller Annotations to Secure URLs

23.1.1. 1. Create your Grails application.

$ grails create-app bookstore
$ cd bookstore

23.1.2. 2. “Install” the plugin by adding it to build.gradle

dependencies {
   ...
   compile 'org.grails.plugins:spring-security-core:3.2.0'
   ...
}

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

$ grails compile

23.1.3. 3. Create the User and Role domain classes.

$ grails s2-quickstart com.mycompany.myapp 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, or escape the name with backticks in the mapping block, e.g.

static mapping = {
   table '`user`'
}

If you are using Spring Core version 3.1.2 or later and GORM 6.0.10 or later, the script creates this User class:

grails-app/domain/com/mycompany/myapp/User.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

import groovy.transform.EqualsAndHashCode
import groovy.transform.ToString
import grails.compiler.GrailsCompileStatic

@GrailsCompileStatic
@EqualsAndHashCode(includes='username')
@ToString(includes='username', includeNames=true, includePackage=false)
class User implements Serializable {

	private static final long serialVersionUID = 1

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

	Set<Role> getAuthorities() {
		(UserRole.findAllByUser(this) as List<UserRole>)*.role as Set<Role>
	}

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

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

and a password encoder listener to manage password encoding:

grails-app/conf/spring/resources.groovy
import com.mycompany.myapp.UserPasswordEncoderListener
// Place your Spring DSL code here
beans = {
    userPasswordEncoderListener(UserPasswordEncoderListener)
}
src/main/groovy/com/mycompany/myapp/UserPasswordEncoderListener.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.SpringSecurityService
import org.grails.datastore.mapping.engine.event.AbstractPersistenceEvent
import org.grails.datastore.mapping.engine.event.PreInsertEvent
import org.grails.datastore.mapping.engine.event.PreUpdateEvent
import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Autowired
import grails.events.annotation.gorm.Listener
import groovy.transform.CompileStatic

@CompileStatic
class UserPasswordEncoderListener {

    @Autowired
    SpringSecurityService springSecurityService

    @Listener(User)
    void onPreInsertEvent(PreInsertEvent event) {
        encodePasswordForEvent(event)
    }

    @Listener(User)
    void onPreUpdateEvent(PreUpdateEvent event) {
        encodePasswordForEvent(event)
    }

    private void encodePasswordForEvent(AbstractPersistenceEvent event) {
        if (event.entityObject instanceof User) {
            User u = event.entityObject as User
            if (u.password && ((event instanceof  PreInsertEvent) || (event instanceof PreUpdateEvent && u.isDirty('password')))) {
                event.getEntityAccess().setProperty('password', encodePassword(u.password))
            }
        }
    }

    private String encodePassword(String password) {
        springSecurityService?.passwordEncoder ? springSecurityService.encodePassword(password) : password
    }
}

Previous versions of the plugin’s script manage the password encoding directly in domain class:

grails-app/domain/com/mycompany/myapp/User.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.SpringSecurityService
import groovy.transform.EqualsAndHashCode
import groovy.transform.ToString
import grails.compiler.GrailsCompileStatic

@GrailsCompileStatic
@EqualsAndHashCode(includes='username')
@ToString(includes='username', includeNames=true, includePackage=false)
class User implements Serializable {

	private static final long serialVersionUID = 1

	SpringSecurityService springSecurityService

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

	Set<Role> getAuthorities() {
		(UserRole.findAllByUser(this) as List<UserRole>)*.role as Set<Role>
	}

	def beforeInsert() {
		encodePassword()
	}

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

	protected void encodePassword() {
		password = springSecurityService?.passwordEncoder ? springSecurityService.encodePassword(password) : password
	}

	static transients = ['springSecurityService']

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

	static mapping = {
		password column: '`password`'
	}
}
Service injection in GORM entities is disabled by default since Grails 3.2.8. Read documentation about Spring Autowiring of Domain Instances to learn how to turn autowire on.

s2-quickstart script generates this Role too:

Role.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

import groovy.transform.EqualsAndHashCode
import groovy.transform.ToString
import grails.compiler.GrailsCompileStatic

@GrailsCompileStatic
@EqualsAndHashCode(includes='authority')
@ToString(includes='authority', includeNames=true, includePackage=false)
class Role implements Serializable {

	private static final long serialVersionUID = 1

	String authority

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

	static mapping = {
		cache true
	}
}

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

UserRole.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

import grails.gorm.DetachedCriteria
import groovy.transform.ToString

import org.codehaus.groovy.util.HashCodeHelper
import grails.compiler.GrailsCompileStatic

@GrailsCompileStatic
@ToString(cache=true, includeNames=true, includePackage=false)
class UserRole implements Serializable {

	private static final long serialVersionUID = 1

	User user
	Role role

	@Override
	boolean equals(other) {
		if (other instanceof UserRole) {
			other.userId == user?.id && other.roleId == role?.id
		}
	}

    @Override
	int hashCode() {
	    int hashCode = HashCodeHelper.initHash()
        if (user) {
            hashCode = HashCodeHelper.updateHash(hashCode, user.id)
		}
		if (role) {
		    hashCode = HashCodeHelper.updateHash(hashCode, role.id)
		}
		hashCode
	}

	static UserRole get(long userId, long roleId) {
		criteriaFor(userId, roleId).get()
	}

	static boolean exists(long userId, long roleId) {
		criteriaFor(userId, roleId).count()
	}

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

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

	static boolean remove(User u, Role r) {
		if (u != null && r != null) {
			UserRole.where { user == u && role == r }.deleteAll()
		}
	}

	static int removeAll(User u) {
		u == null ? 0 : UserRole.where { user == u }.deleteAll() as int
	}

	static int removeAll(Role r) {
		r == null ? 0 : UserRole.where { role == r }.deleteAll() as int
	}

	static constraints = {
		role validator: { Role r, UserRole ur ->
			if (ur.user?.id) {
				UserRole.withNewSession {
					if (UserRole.exists(ur.user.id, r.id)) {
						return ['userRole.exists']
					}
				}
			}
		}
	}

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

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’s default implementation of the Spring Security UserDetailsService (which like everything in the plugin is customizable - see Custom UserDetailsService).

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

While you’re looking at application.groovy, add this config override to make the sample app easier to work with:

grails.plugin.springsecurity.logout.postOnly = false

By default only POST requests can be used to logout; this is a very sensible default and shouldn’t be changed in most cases. However to keep things simple for this tutorial we’ll change it (using the logout.postOnly config override above) to avoid having to create a GSP form that POSTs to /logout.

The plugin has no support for CRUD actions or 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/init/BootStrap.groovy. (See step 7.)

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

$ grails create-controller com.mycompany.myapp.Secure

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

SecureController.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

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

23.1.5. 5. Edit grails-app/init/BootStrap.groovy to add a test user.

BootStrap.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

class BootStrap {

   def init = {

         def adminRole = new Role(authority: 'ROLE_ADMIN').save()

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

         UserRole.create testUser, adminRole

         UserRole.withSession {
            it.flush()
            it.clear()
         }

         assert User.count() == 1
         assert Role.count() == 1
         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 flush (using withSession) because BootStrap does not run in a transaction or OpenSessionInView.

23.1.6. 6. Start the server.

$ grails run-app

23.1.7. 7. Verify that you cannot access the page yet.

Before you secure the page, navigate to http://localhost:8080/secure to verify that you cannot access the page yet. You will be redirected to the login page, but after a successful authentication (log in with the username and password you used for the test user in BootStrap.groovy) you will see an error page:

Sorry, you're not authorized to view this page.

This is because with the default configuration, all URLs are denied unless there is an access rule specified.

23.1.8. 8. Apply the annotation.

Edit grails-app/controllers/com/mycompany/myapp/SecureController.groovy to import the annotation class and apply the annotation to restrict (and grant) access.

SecureController.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.annotation.Secured

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

or

SecureController.groovy
package com.mycompany.myapp

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.

23.1.9. 9. Restart.

Shut down the app and run grails run-app again, and navigate again to http://localhost:8080/secure.

This time you should again be able to see the secure page after successfully authenticating.

23.1.10. 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 cookie is stored, you should not need to log in again. Logout at any time by navigating to http://localhost:8080/logout.

23.1.11. 11. Create a CRUD UI.

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

Run grails generate-all for the domain classes:
$ grails generate-all com.mycompany.myapp.User
$ grails generate-all com.mycompany.myapp.Role

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

Be sure to add an @Secured annotation to both of the generated controllers to make them accessible.

24. Controller Methods

The plugin registers some convenience methods into all controllers in your application. As of version 3.1.0 this is implemented by a trait that is applied to all controllers but was implemented in earlier versions by adding methods to each controller’s MetaClass. All are accessor methods, so they can be called as methods or properties. They include:

24.1. isLoggedIn

Returns true if there is an authenticated user.

Listing 82. Example use of isLoggedIn()
class MyController {

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

      ...

      if (!isLoggedIn()) {
         ...
      }

      // or

      if (loggedIn) {
         ...
      }

      if (!loggedIn) {
         ...
      }
   }
}

24.2. getPrincipal

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

Listing 83. Example use of getPrincipal()
class MyController {

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

      // or

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

24.3. 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).

Listing 84. Example use of getAuthenticatedUser()
class MyController {

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

      // or

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

25. Internationalization

The plugin includes i18n messages in several languages. To customize or translate these, add messages for the following keys to your i18n resource bundle(s) for each exception:

Table 27. i18n messages for exceptions
Message Default Value Exception

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:

Table 28. i18n messages for GSPs
Message Default Value

springSecurity.login.title

“Login”

springSecurity.login.header

“Please Login”

springSecurity.login.button

“Login”

springSecurity.login.username.label

“Username”

springSecurity.login.password.label

“Password”

springSecurity.login.remember.me.label

“Remember me”

springSecurity.denied.title

“Denied”

springSecurity.denied.message

“Sorry, you’re not authorized to view this page.”

26. Scripts

26.1. s2-quickstart

Purpose

Creates a user and role class (and optionally a requestmap class) in the specified package. If you specify a role-group name with the groupClassName argument, role/group classes will also be generated. If you specify the uiOnly flag, no domain classes are created but the plugin settings are initialized (useful with LDAP, Mock, Shibboleth, etc.)

The general format is:

grails s2-quickstart DOMAIN_CLASS_PACKAGE USER_CLASS_NAME ROLE_CLASS_NAME [REQUESTMAP_CLASS_NAME] [--groupClassName=GROUP_CLASS_NAME]
Examples
grails s2-quickstart com.yourapp User Role
grails s2-quickstart com.yourapp User Role --groupClassName=RoleGroup
grails s2-quickstart com.yourapp Person Authority Requestmap
grails s2-quickstart --uiOnly
Description
  • Updates grails-app/conf/application.groovy with security configuration settings and creates domain classes in grails-app/domain unless the uiOnly flag is specified

26.2. s2-create-persistent-token

Purpose

Creates a persistent token domain class for storing remember-me cookie information in the database. The general format is:

grails s2-create-persistent-token <classname>
Example
grails s2-create-persistent-token com.yourapp.PersistentLogin
Description

This creates the domain class in the specified package, and also registers the name in grails-app/conf/application.groovy, along with enabling persistent remember-me.

26.3. s2-create-role-hierarchy-entry

Purpose

Creates a persistent role hierarchy entry domain class for storing role hierarchy information in the database. The general format is:

grails s2-create-role-hierarchy-entry <classname>
Example
grails s2-create-role-hierarchy-entry com.yourapp.RoleHierarchyEntry
Description

This creates the domain class in the specified package, and also registers the name in grails-app/conf/application.groovy, along with enabling persistent role hierarchy storage and lookup.

27. Debugging

If you need debug information, you can specify the following entries in logback.groovy:

grails-app/conf/logback.groovy
logger 'org.springframework.security', DEBUG, ['STDOUT'], false
logger 'grails.plugin.springsecurity', DEBUG, ['STDOUT'], false