Bolster

Maven Central

For contextual security in Scala.

Getting Started

To get started, add Bolster to your library dependencies.

libraryDependencies += "com.github.losizm" %% "bolster" % "4.0.0"

How It Works

Bolster is powered by a pair of traits: Permission and SecurityContext.

A Permission is identified by its name, and one or more permissions can be applied to a restricted operation.

A SecurityContext establishes a pattern in which a restricted operation is performed only if required permissions are granted; otherwise, a SecurityViolation is raised.

Security in Action

The following demonstrates how read/write access to an in-memory cache could be implemented:

import bolster.security.{ Permission, SecurityContext, UserContext }

import scala.collection.concurrent.TrieMap

object SecureCache:
  // Define permissions to read and write cache entries
  private val getPermission = Permission("cache:get")
  private val putPermission = Permission("cache:put")

  private val cache = TrieMap[String, String](
    "gang starr"      -> "step in the arena",
    "digable planets" -> "blowout comb"
  )

  def get(key: String)(using security: SecurityContext): String =
    // Test for read permission before getting cache entry
    security(getPermission) { cache(key) }

  def put(key: String, value: String)(using security: SecurityContext): Unit =
    // Test for write permission before putting cache entry
    security(putPermission) { cache += key -> value }

// Set security context to include read permission
given SecurityContext = UserContext(Permission("cache:get"))

// Get cache entry
val classic = SecureCache.get("gang starr")

// Throw SecurityViolation because write permission is not granted
SecureCache.put("sucker mc", classic)

Permission

A Permission is identified by its name, and you're free to implement any naming convention.

The following defines 3 permissions, any of which could be used as a permission for read access to an archive module:

val perm1 = Permission("archive:read")
val perm2 = Permission("module=archive; access=read")
val perm3 = Permission("GET /api/archive")

Security Context

A SecurityContext is consulted for authorization to apply a restricted operation. If authorized, the operation is applied; otherwise, the security context raises a SecurityViolation.

UserContext is an implementation of a security context. It is constructed with a set of granted permissions.

import bolster.security.{ Permission, SecurityContext, UserContext }

object BuildManager:
  private val buildPermission      = Permission("action=build")
  private val deployDevPermission  = Permission("action=deploy; env=dev")
  private val deployProdPermission = Permission("action=deploy; env=prod")

  def build(project: String)(using security: SecurityContext): Unit =
    // Test permission before building project
    security(buildPermission) {
      println(s"Build $project.")
    }

  def deployToDev(project: String)(using security: SecurityContext): Unit =
    // Test permission before deploying project
    security(deployDevPermission) {
      println(s"Deploy $project to dev environment.")
    }

  def deployToProd(project: String)(using security: SecurityContext): Unit =
    // Test permission before deploying project
    security(deployProdPermission) {
      println(s"Deploy $project to prod environment.")
    }

// Set security context to include two permissions
given SecurityContext = UserContext(
  Permission("action=build"),
  Permission("action=deploy; env=dev")
)

// Permission granted to build
BuildManager.build("my-favorite-app")

// Permission granted to deploy to dev
BuildManager.deployToDev("my-favorite-app")

// Permission not granted to deploy to prod (throw SecurityViolation)
BuildManager.deployToProd("my-favorite-app")

Granting Any or All Permissions

SecurityContext.any(Permission*) is used to ensure that at least one of supplied permissions is granted before an operation is applied.

SecurityContext.all(Permission*) is used to ensure that all supplied permissions are granted before an operation is applied.

import bolster.security.{ Permission, SecurityContext, UserContext }

object FileManager:
  private val readOnlyPermission  = Permission("file:read-only")
  private val readWritePermission = Permission("file:read-write")
  private val encryptPermission   = Permission("file:encrypt")

  def read(fileName: String)(using security: SecurityContext): Unit =
    // Get either read-only or read-write permission before performing operation
    security.any(readOnlyPermission, readWritePermission) {
      println(s"Read $fileName.")
    }

  def encrypt(fileName: String)(using security: SecurityContext): Unit =
    // Get both read-write and encrypt permissions before performing operation
    security.all(readWritePermission, encryptPermission) {
      println(s"Encrypt $fileName.")
    }

// Set security context to include read/write permission
given SecurityContext = UserContext(Permission("file:read-write"))

// Can read via read-write permission
FileManager.read("/etc/passwd")

// Has read-write but lacks encrypt permission (throw SecurityViolation)
FileManager.encrypt("/etc/passwd")

Testing Permissions

Sometimes it may be enough to simply test a permission to see whether it is granted, and not necessarily throw a SecurityViolation if it isn't. That's precisely what SecurityContext.test(Permission) is for. It returns true or false based on the permission being granted or not. It's an ideal predicate to a security filter, as demonstrated in the following:

import bolster.security.{ Permission, SecurityContext, UserContext }

object SecureMessages:
  // Define class for text message with assigned permission
  private case class Message(text: String, permission: Permission)

  private val messages = Seq(
    Message("This is a public message."   , Permission("public")),
    Message("This is a protected message.", Permission("protected")),
    Message("This is a private message."  , Permission("private"))
  )

  def list(using security: SecurityContext): Seq[String] =
    // Filter messages by testing permission
    messages.filter(msg => security.test(msg.permission)).map(_.text)

// Set security context to "public" and "protected" permissions
given SecurityContext = UserContext(Permission("public"), Permission("protected"))

// Print all accessible messages
SecureMessages.list.foreach(println)

The Omnipotent Root Context

In the examples so far, we've used UserContext, which is a security context with a set of granted permissions.

The other type of security context is RootContext for which all permissions are granted. It's the superuser security context.

RootContext is an object implementation, so there is only one instance. It should be used to effectively bypass security checks.

import bolster.security.{ Permission, RootContext }

// Print all messages
SecureMessages.list(using RootContext).foreach(println)

(0 to 999999).foreach { _ =>
  // Create permission with randomly generated name
  val perm = Permission(scala.util.Random.nextString(8))

  // Assert permission is always granted
  assert(RootContext.test(perm))
}

Following is a more intricate example. It demonstrates how to simulate sudo functionality by defining a permission to regulate access to RootContext.

import bolster.security.*

object sudo:
  // Define permission required for sudo
  private val sudoers = Permission("sudoers")

  def apply[T](op: SecurityContext => T)(using security: SecurityContext): T =
    // Test permission before switching to root
    security(sudoers) { op(RootContext) }

object SecureMessages:
  private case class Message(text: String, permission: Permission)

  private val messages = Seq(
    Message("This is a public message."   , Permission("public")),
    Message("This is a protected message.", Permission("protected")),
    Message("This is a private message."  , Permission("private"))
  )

  def list(using security: SecurityContext): Seq[String] =
    messages.filter(msg => security.test(msg.permission)).map(_.text)

// Set security context
given SecurityContext = UserContext(
  Permission("public"),
  Permission("protected"),
  Permission("sudoers") // Include sudo permission
)

println("Print messages in user context...")
SecureMessages.list.foreach(println)

println("Print messages in root context using sudo...")
sudo { implicit security =>
  // The implicit security shadows previous security context
  SecureMessages.list.foreach(println)
}

API Documentation

See scaladoc for additional details.

License

Bolster is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2. See LICENSE for more information.