era

eras

implicit role authorization system

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NOTE: This project extends the features of https://www.npmjs.com/package/express-authorization

ERA

Explicit role authorization, to better understanding: https://stormpath.com/blog/new-rbac-resource-based-access-control/

How it works

ERA, its a non-intrusive* authorization system. Its works with a set of rules that are defined by 3 types of objects:

  • Subjects
  • Resources
  • Actions

Those 3 objects are glue together with Permissions and ACLs. ERA load those rules using different kind of adapters(so far there its JSON adapter but mongo, mysql, postgres, etc adapter can be created, checkout: https://github.com/juanpgaviria/era-adapter).

  • need only to right few lines in your code.

Subjects

Are defined to load permissions. Using the JSON adapter would something like:

subjects =
  "subject_a":
    acls: ["is_admin"]
    permissions: ["*:*"]

  "subject_b":
    acls: ["is_provider"]
    permissions: ['User:read', 'User:create', 'User:update']

  "subject_c":
    acls:
      '$or': ["is_admin", "is_user"]
    permissions: ['Settings:*']

A user can match multiple subjects. Which means that she has more perms everything depends of which ACL are true.

Resources and Actions == Permission

Resource/Action by them selfs are just a names, but when there are mixed together became a permission:

Resource:Action

for example:

'User:read', 'User:create', 'User:update'

ACLs

ACL are true/false statements use to:

  • Get subjects match
  • Grant or deny access to Subject when its trying requesting an action to a resource

ACL has access to subject and resource when its been evaluated.

For example:

acls =
  "is_admin": "subject.is_admin == true"
  "is_owner": "subject._id == resource._id"
  "is_user": "subject._id != undefined"
  "user_deny": "subject._id != resource._id"
  "is_auth": "subject._id != undefined"
  "is_provider": "subject.is_provider == true"

Authorization

Web apps are build base on layers, and for every layer should be a an authorization check. For example the firewall would be the first authorization checkpoint, then http server, the app url handler, controller, data model access.

firewalls

Those usually check IPs, throttling, etc

http server or load balancers

Throttling, etc

App url handler

Its usually has middleware to check its user is/isnot authenticated, and if the request satisfy the validation (authentication) normally delegate the authorization to the controller.

For example: Lets say that we have and app with 2 kind(call roles) of users: URL:

  • /public/url: public to world
  • /customer/url: customer and admin only
  • /admin/url: admin only

Usually the validation at this layer(APP URL handler) will check if the user is/is't authenticated like(using passport):

var express = require('express');
var pasport = require('express');
var app = express();

app.get('/customer/url',
        passport.authenticate('basic', { session: false }),
        function(req, res, next) {
          // controller
          ...
        }
);

That delegate the authorization to the controller if the user is/is not admin, later will see the implications(you may already know). But why a customer that navigate to /admin/url will pass this layer? if we already know that she can't.

ERA can do that kind of validation(will explain later how to do it very simple:

var express = require('express');
var passport = require('express');
var era = require('eras');
var app = express();

// Consider an authenticated user in the express session:
// req.session.user.permissions = ["restricted:*"]

app.get('/customer/url',
        passport.authenticate('basic', { session: false }),
        era.ensureRequest.isPermitted("restricted:view"),
        function(req, res, next) {
  // controller
    ...
});

Its just add an extra middleware and this layer can 403 reply or let request pass through.

Controller

This layer its the one that check authorization, and i have seen several authorization strategies at this layer from a lot of IF checking conditions role or checking model:perms which usualy are tie to fixed conditions which its fine if your application roles/perms wont change or its small app or have few kind of users.

Check authorization on differnet APP layers:

Can we use with connect/express middleware An express/connect middleware module for enforcing an Apache Shiro inspired authorization system.

var express = require('express');
var authorization = require('express-authorization');
var app = express();

// Consider an authenticated user in the express session:
// req.session.user.permissions = ["restricted:*"]

app.get('/restricted',
  authorization.ensureRequest.isPermitted("restricted:view"),
  function(req, res) {
    ...
  });

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