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Custom SecurityContext in JAX-RS

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Custom SecurityContext in JAX-RS

An article about how to override the default security-related information associated with a JAX-RS request using a custom SecurityContext.

· Java Zone ·
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This article briefly talks about how to override the default security-related information associated with a JAX-RS request (i.e., how to mess with the SecurityContext).

Wait... SecurityContext?

Think of it as a JAX-RS abstraction over HTTPServletRequest for security-related information only. This can be used for:

  • figuring out how the caller was authenticated
  • extracting authenticated Principal info
  • role membership confirmation (programmatic authorization)
  • and whether or not the request was initiated securely (over HTTPS)

OK, but why would I need a custom implementation?

It helps when you have a custom authentication mechanism not implemented using the standard Java EE security realm:

  • your web container will not be aware of the authentication details
  • as a result, the SecurityContext instance will not contain the subject, role, or other details (mentioned above)
  • a typical example is token-based authentication, based on custom (app-specific) HTTP headers
public class JWTAuthFilter implements ContainerRequestFilter{
  public void filter(ContainerRequestContext requestContext) throws IOException {
        String authHeaderVal = requestContext.getHeaderString("Authorization");

            //consume JWT i.e. execute signature validation
            try {
                validate(authHeaderVal.split(" ")[1]);
            } catch (InvalidJwtException ex) {

Your RESTful application would definitely want to make use of the authenticated caller. The JAX-RS request pipeline needs to be aware of the associated ‘security context’ and make use of it within its business logic

How to…

SecurityContext is an interface after all...

  • just implement it
  • then inject it (using @Context) and use it in your resource methods
public class AuthFilterWithCustomSecurityContext implements ContainerRequestFilter {
    UriInfo uriInfo;

    public void filter(ContainerRequestContext requestContext) throws IOException {
        String authHeaderVal = requestContext.getHeaderString("Auth-Token");
        String subject = validateToken(authHeaderVal); //execute custom authentication
        if (subject!=null) {
            final SecurityContext securityContext = requestContext.getSecurityContext();
            requestContext.setSecurityContext(new SecurityContext() {
                        public Principal getUserPrincipal() {
                            return new Principal() {
                                public String getName() {
                                    return subject;

                        public boolean isUserInRole(String role) {
                            List<Role> roles = findUserRoles(subject);
                            return roles.contains(role);

                        public boolean isSecure() {
                            return uriInfo.getAbsolutePath().toString().startsWith("https");

                        public String getAuthenticationScheme() {
                            return "Token-Based-Auth-Scheme";



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java ,javaee ,jax rs ,rest ,security

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