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Spring Security 4 Java API: Authorization

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Spring Security 4 Java API: Authorization

Gravatar for jim.anderson@auth0.com
By Jim Anderson

This tutorial demonstrates how to add authorization to a Spring Security API. We recommend you to Log in to follow this quickstart with examples configured for your account.

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System requirements: Java 8 or above | Gradle 5.4.1 | Spring Boot 1.5.21

This Quickstart demonstrates securing an API using Spring Boot 1 and Spring Security 4.

See the Spring Security 5 API Quickstart to learn how use Auth0 to secure an API built using Spring Boot 2 and Spring Security 5.

New to Auth0? Learn how Auth0 works and read about implementing API authentication and authorization using the OAuth 2.0 framework.

Add Custom Claims to the Issued Token

Configure Auth0 APIs

Control App Access

Create an API

In the APIs section of the Auth0 dashboard, click Create API. Provide a name and an identifier for your API, for example https://quickstarts/api. You will use the identifier as an audience later, when you are configuring the Access Token verification. Leave the Signing Algorithm as RS256.

Create API

By default, your API uses RS256 as the algorithm for signing tokens. Since RS256 uses a private/public keypair, it verifies the tokens against the public key for your Auth0 account. The public key is in the JSON Web Key Set (JWKS) format, and can be accessed here.

Step 1: Set the Application Metadata's required_roles

Define Permissions

Permissions let you define how resources can be accessed on behalf of the user with a given access token. For example, you might choose to grant read access to the messages resource if users have the manager access level, and a write access to that resource if they have the administrator access level.

You can define allowed permissions in the Permissions tab of the Auth0 Dashboard's APIs section.

Configure Permissions

This example uses the read:messages scope.

This example demonstrates:

  • How to check for a JSON Web Token (JWT) in the Authorization header of an incoming HTTP request.

  • How to check if the token is valid, using the JSON Web Key Set (JWKS) for your Auth0 account. To learn more about validating Access Tokens, read the Validate an Access Token tutorial.

Step 2: Create the Rule Enforcing Application Roles

Configure the Sample Project

The sample project has a /src/main/resources/auth0.properties file which configures it to use the correct Auth0 Domain and API Identifier for your API. If you download the code from this page it will be automatically filled. If you use the example from Github, you will need to fill it yourself.

Attribute Description
auth0.issuer The issuer of the JWT Token. Typically, this is your Auth0 domain with a https:// prefix and a / suffix. For example, if your Auth0 domain is example.auth0.com, the auth0.issuer must be set to https://example.auth0.com/ (the trailing slash is important).
auth0.apiAudience The unique identifier for your API. If you are following the steps in this tutorial it would be https://quickstarts/api.

Keep Reading

Validate Access Tokens

Install dependencies

Add the auth0-spring-security-api dependency.

If you are using Maven, add the dependency to your pom.xml file:

If you are using Gradle, add the dependency to the dependencies block:

Configure JSON Web Token signature algorithm

Configure your API to use the RS256 signing algorithm.

Protect API Endpoints

The routes shown below are available for the following requests:

  • GET /api/public: available for non-authenticated requests
  • GET /api/private: available for authenticated requests containing an Access Token with no additional scopes
  • GET /api/private-scoped: available for authenticated requests containing an Access Token with the read:messages scope granted

The example below shows how to implement secure API methods. In the AppConfig class, add route matchers to the snippet. The hasAuthority() method provides a way to specify the required scope for the resource.

Create the API Controller

Create a new class called APIController to handle each request to the endpoints.

Next, in the AppConfig.java file, configure which endpoints are secure and which are not.

Run and Test Your API

To build and run the project, use the command:

or if you are on Windows:

Using a REST client such as Postman or cURL, issue a GET request to http://localhost:3010/api/public. You should receive the response:

Next, issue a GET request to http://localhost:3010/api/private. You should receive a 401 Unauthorized response:

To test that your API is properly secured, you can obtain a test token in the Auth0 Dashboard:

  1. Go to the Machine to Machine Applications tab for the API you created above.
  2. Ensure that your API test application is marked as authorized.
  3. Click the Test tab, then COPY TOKEN.

Issue a GET request to the /api/private endpoint, this time passing the token you obtained above as an Authorization header set to Bearer YOUR-API-TOKEN-HERE. You should then see the response:

Finally, to test that our /api/private-scoped is properly protected by the read:messages scope, make a GET request to the /api/private-scoped endpoint using the same token as above. You should see a 403 Forbidden response, as this token does not possess the read:messages scope:

Back in the Auth0 Dashboard:

  1. Go to the Permissions tab for the API you created above.
  2. Add a permission of read:messages and provide a description.
  3. Go to the Machine to Machine Applications tab.
  4. Expand your authorized test application, select the read:messages scope, then click UPDATE and then CONTINUE.
  5. Click the Test tab, then COPY TOKEN.

Issue a GET request to /api/private-scoped, this time passing the token you obtained above (with the read:messages scope) as an Authorization header set to Bearer YOUR-API-TOKEN-HERE. You should see the response:

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