flex-acl

1.0.0 • Public • Published

flex-acl

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Authorize http requests with a json based authorization control list.

Features:

  • Simple to implement
  • JSON based acl rules
  • Any property/ies in the http request at any depth can be used for authorization
  • Wide flexibility in establishing user groups and/or roles for authorizations
  • Variables can be used for repeated acl rule patterns

flex-acl does not authenticate users. Users should be authenticated before authorizing requests.

Simple Example

var getAclRules = function(callback) {
  var rules = [
    {'id': 'ClientGet',
     'method': 'GET',
     'baseUrl': '/api',
     'path':'/clients/[A-Fa-f0-9]{24}'},   //reg exp for the client id
    {'id': 'ClientCrt',
     'method': 'POST',
     'baseUrl': '/api',
     'path':'/clients'},
    {'id': 'ClientUpd',
     'method': 'PUT',
     'baseUrl': '/api',
     'path':'/clients'},
    {'id': 'ClientLstOpen',
     'method': 'GET',
     'baseUrl': '/api',
     'path':'/clients',
     'query':{'status': 'open'}},
    {'id': 'UsersCrt',
     'method': 'POST',
     'baseUrl': '/api',
     'path':'/users'},
    ];
  return callback(null, rules); 
}; 
 
var getAuthzdAclIds = function(req, callback) {
  // returns the access ids for the user making the http request
  var authzdAclIds = {
    admin: ['.*'],         // Access to all rules
    paul:  ['Client.*'], // Access to all "Client" rules
    jane:  ['ClientGet'],  // Access to just viewing a client 
    dot:  ['ClientCrt','ClientGet','ClientPut'],  // Access to create,get,update clients
  };
 
  if(req && req.user && req.user.id && authzdAclIds.hasOwnProperty(req.user.id)) {
    return callback(null, authzdAclIds[req.user.id]);
  } else { 
    return callback('Error: User access id does not exist'); 
  }
};
 
var isAuthorized = flexAcl.makeIsAuthorized(
    getAclRules,        // function with callback to get acl rules
    getAuthzdAclIds,    // function with callback to get authorized acl ids (usually for a user)
    ['method','baseUrl','path','query.status']);  // which properties to test  
 
req = {           // just including relevant request properties for this example
  method: 'GET', 
  baseUrl: '/api', 
  path:'/clients/573de77bcaa00c068a92b1b4', 
  user: {id:'jane'}};
 
isAuthorized(req, function (err, passes) {
  //err => null
  //passes => true
});
 
req = {
  method: 'GET', 
  baseUrl: '/api', 
  path:'/clients',
  query: {status:'open'},
  user: {id:'paul'}};
isAuthorized(req, function (err, passes) {
  //err => null
  //passes => true
});
 
req = {method: 'POST', baseUrl: '/api', path:'/users', user: {id:'admin'}};
isAuthorized(req, function (err, passes) {
  //err => null
  //passes => true
});
 
req = {method: 'POST', baseUrl: '/api', path:'/clients', user: {id:'jane'}};
isAuthorized(req, function (err, passes) {
  /* err: { [Error: Not authorized: at least one acl rule does not have authorization]
            authznIds: [ 'ClientGet' ],
            aclRulesMatchingReq:
              [ { id: 'ClientCrt',
                  method: 'POST',
                  baseUrl: '/api',
                  path: '/clients' } ] }
  /*
  //passes => undefined
});
 

Abbreviated example of implementing on Express (see example folder for less abreviated example):

 
var myapi = require('./app/modules/my-api');
 
app.use('/api', function (req, res, next) {
    auth.isAuthorized(req, function(err) {
        if(err) {
      handleErrorAndRespond(err,req, res, 401); 
    } else  {
      next();
    }
    });
});
 
 
app.use(myapi);  // won't get to /api routes here if doesn't pass isAuthorized above 
 
//---- my api: 
 
app.get('/api/my', function (req, res) {
    something.getMy(req.query, function(err, my){
      if (err) {
        error.handleErrorAndRespond(err,req, res); 
      } else {
        res.json(my); 
      }
    });
  })
 
 

Install with npm install flex-acl.
Tested on Node versions 0.10, 0.12, 4, 5, 6.

Documentation

Rules for authorizing a request

API

makeIsAuthorized returns isAuthorized

Helper Functions

Other Examples

Performance

Rules for authorizing a request

The http request is authorized based on these two rules :

  1. The http request has at least one matching acl rule. See matching rule examples below.

By default, (see options), a rule is matched if every property being tested conforms to the following : * Rule is matched if property exists in both the acl rule and the request and the property value matches * Rule is not matched if the property does not exist in the request but exists in the acl rule * Rule is not excluded if the property exists in the request and does not exist in the acl rule * Rule is not excluded if the property does not exist in both the request and acl rule

And these are the basic defaults (see options) for properties and how they're tested. Which properties are tested and how each property is tested, as well as global defaults, can be modified with options. * method, baseUrl and path are the default properties to be tested.
* All properties included match by regular expression from the acl rule to the request property except method which is a string comparison. ACL rules that are strings are converted to regular expression objects.
* All regular expression tests are case insensitive by default except query properties which are case sensitive by default.

  1. Every acl rule matched from # 1 has at least one matching authorized acl id. These are the acl ids returned from the getAuthzdAclIds function passed into makeIsAuthorized. See examples below.

A regular expression test determines if an acl id retrieved from getAuthzdAclIds matches an acl id from a matched acl rule. If an acl id retrieved from getAuthzdAclIds is a string, then it is converted to a regular expression with '^' and '$' appended to beginning and end of string respectively to anchor the start and end of regular expression, before performing the regular expression test. If that behaviour is not desired, simply include a regular expression object instead of a string.

Examples on matching acl rules : using default options with propsToTest = [query.filter, method, baseUrl, path].

example http request ACL Rule Matches
{method: 'POST', path: '/api/clients'} {path: '/api/clients'} true
{method: 'POST', path: '/api/clients'} {method: 'GET', path: '/api/clients'} false
{method: 'POST', path: '/api/clients/BORG123'} {path: '/api/clients/borg.*'} true
{method: 'POST', path: '/api/clients', query: {filter: 'dog', sort: 'asc'}} {path: '/api/clients'} true
{method: 'POST', path: '/api/clients', query: {filter: 'dog', sort: 'asc'}} {path: '/api/clients', query: {filter: '.*'}} true
{method: 'POST', path: '/api/clients', query: {filter: 'dog', sort: 'asc'}} {path: '/api/clients', query: {topic: '.*'}} false
{method: 'POST', path: '/api/clients'} {path: '/api/clients', query: {filter: '.*'}} false
{method: 'POST', path: '/api/clients', query: {filter: 'dog', sort: 'asc'}} {path: '/api/clients', query: {filter: 'DOG'}} false

Examples on matching authorized ACL ids with acl rules

authorized acl ids ACL Rule (id only) Is Authorized Comment
['.*'] {id: 'canbewhatever'} true String converted to reg exp
['ClientPOST'] {id: 'ClientPost'} false Is case sensitive
['Post'] {id: 'ClientPost'} false Strings will be prepended with ^ before reg exp test
[/^Post$/] {id: 'ClientPost'} false Can be reg exp object; equivalent of above
[/Post/] {id: 'ClientPost'} true Here isn't prepended with ^
['Client.*'] {id: 'Client'} true
[/Client..../] {id: 'ClientPost'} true
['Client.*','AdminNone'] {id: 'ClientList'} true Multple authorized acl ids but only one needs to match to be authorized

API

makeIsAuthorized(getAclRules, getAuthzdAclIds, propsToTest, defaultOptions)

Returns an isAuthorized function.

Arguments

  • getAclRules(callback) - Function which returns the acl rules. The function is passed a callback(err, aclRules) which returns either an err or the acl rules which is an array of objects with each object having a property 'id' to uniquely identify it.
  • getAuthzdAclIds(request, callback) - Function which returns the authorized ACL ids. The function is passed the request object and a callback(err, authzdIds) which returns either an err or the acl ids which are authorized for this given request (likely for a given user or role which has already been authenticated in the request).
  • propsToTest - Optional collection of properties (and optional options per property) to be tested.
  • defaultOptions - Optional object of options to set global defaults. See propsToTest for how option values are applied from propsToTest through global defaults.

isAuthorized(req, callback)

Function that is returned by calling makeIsAuthorized and determines if an http request is authorized based on the ACL rules collection and the authorized ACL ids. See Rules for authorizing a request.

Arguments

  • req - The http request object.
  • callback(err, passes) - The callback will return an err if it is not authorized. If it is authorized, err will be null and passes will be true.

propsToTest

The collection of properties to be tested in isAuthorized. Every property included in this collection is tested for a match between the http request and the acl rules. See Rules for authorizing a request.

Default is ['path', 'baseUrl', 'method']. See helper function getPropsFromRules to get all unique properties from an acl rules collection.

'options' values can be set for any specific property by using format allowed by filter-objects propsToTest.

Option values for a given property are set based on the following heirarchy (first found):

  1. Value that is set on this propsToTest collection
  2. The following default values for 'method' and 'query' properties and all sub-properties of query:
    {'method': {
       'regExpMatch': false,
       'regExpIgnoreCase': false},
     'query': {
       'regExpMatch': true,
       'regExpIgnoreCase': false},
    }; 
  1. defaultOptions parameter passed into makeIsAuthorized
  2. globalDefaultOptions - see options

Example

// if passing these propsToTest and defaultOptions into makeIsAuthorized
propsToTest = ['method','baseUrl','query.sort',{'query.filter':{regExpMatch: false}]
defaultOptions = {variablesInTObj: true}  
 
// then the options values by property would be: 
//   (only including those values of interest for this example, not all options values)
method = {
    regExpMatch: false            // default option for method
    regExpIgnoreCase: false       // default option for method
    variablesInTObj: false        // default option for method
}
 
baseUrl = {
    regExpMatch: true             // globalDefaulOptions
    regExpIgnoreCase: true        // globalDefaulOptions
    variablesInTObj: true         // defaultOptions 
}
 
query.sort = {
    regExpMatch: true             // default option for query
    regExpIgnoreCase: false       // default option for query
    variablesInTObj: false        // default option for query
}
 
query.sort = {
    regExpMatch: false            // propsToTest
    regExpIgnoreCase: false       // default option for query
    variablesInTObj: false        // default option for query
}
 

options

Options apply to how an http request is matched to acl rules based on how properties are tested for matches between the two.

The options object :

  • determines the flex-acl global defaults (see below).
  • can be passed into makeIsAuthorized to over-ride global defaults. Only those values included in the object passed into makeIsAuthorized will over-ride the global defaults (ie, can select which properties to over-ride).
  • determines method and query property specific defaults for flex-acl. See propsToTest.
  • can be applied for each specific property. See propsToTest.

See propsToTest for setting which properties are tested, setting option values specific to properties and the order of heirarchy for options values.

Acl rules are matched from an http request using filter-objects makeFilterFn / filter. As such it uses the same options object which is shown below. The default values are specific to flex-acl.

In the options object, TObj ('target object') is the acl rule and PObj ('pattern object') is the http request object.

var globalDefaultOptions = {
  matchIfTObjPropMissing: true,   // match if acl rule property is missing 
  matchIfPObjPropMissing: false,  // don't match if the request property is missing
  matchIfBothPropMissing: true,   // match if property is missing from both acl rule and request
  regExpMatch: true,   // perform reg exp match from acl rule to request by default
  regExpReverse: true,            // this indicates that the TObj (acl rule) is the reg exp
  regExpIgnoreCase: true,         // if it is a regular expression test then case insensitive
  regExpAnchorStart: true,        // if it is a regular expression test then prepend with '^' if a string
  regExpAnchorEnd: true,          // if it is a regular expression test then append with '$' if a string
  variables: {},                  // variables collection if using variables
  variablesInTObj: false,
  variablesStartStr: '~',
  variablesEndStr: '#', 
};

See Rules for authorizing a request for general discussion and examples.

getPropsFromRules

Returns an object with keys in dot notation that are the keys of from the acl rules collection. Intended as a helper function to get the properties needed for propsToTest.

Arguments

  • rules - Acl rules collection (any array of objects).
  • keysToIgnore - Optional array of strings which will not be included in the returned object from getPropsFromRules even if it is a key in a rules object. Default: ['id'].

Example

var rules = [
  {id: 'ClientAll',
   baseUrl:'/api',
   path: '/clients'},
  {id: 'ClientLi1',
   method: 'GET',
   baseUrl:'/api',
   path: '/clients',
   query: {filter: 'abc123'}},
  {id: 'ClientLi2',
   method: 'GET',
   baseUrl:'/api',
   path: '/clients',
   note: 'href is for a note only...like this note',
   href: '/api/clients?filter=abc12'},
  ];
 
var props = flexAcl.getPropsFromRules(rules,['href','note']); 
 
console.log(props); 
// { baseUrl: {}, path: {}, method: {}, 'query.filter': {} }
 
// Object can now be modified with property specific options
props.path.variablesInTObj = true; 
props.path.variables = {year: '[1,2][0-9]{3}'}
 
var isAuthorized = flexAcl.makeIsAuthorized(getAclRules, getAuthzdAclIds, props);
 

makeGetMatchedRulesFn

Returns a function which will return the matched rules given a request. This is the function used by makeIsAuthorized. Is exposed for testing which acl rules are actually matched for a request.

Arguments

  • propsToTest - Optional collection of properties (and optional options per property) to be tested.
  • defaultOptions - Optional object of options that should globally apply to all properties being tested if those options are set in propsToTest. See options.

Function that is returned is called with these arguments:

  • req - The http request object.
  • getAclRules(callback) - Function which returns the acl rules. The function is passed a callback(err, aclRules) which returns either an err or the acl rules which is an array of objects with each object having a property 'id' to uniquely identify it.
  • callback(err, matchedRules) - If no err callback function is called with the acl rules that matched the request.

Example

var getRules = function(callback) {
  var rules = [
    {id: 'ClientLi',
     method: 'GET',
     baseUrl: '/api',
     path:'/clients'},
    {id: 'ClientCr',
     method: 'POST',
     baseUrl: '/api',
     path:'/clients'},
    ];
  return callback(null, rules); 
}; 
 
var req = {method: 'POST', baseUrl: '/api', path:'/clients'};
 
var getMatchedRules = flexAcl.makeGetMatchedRulesFn(); 
 
getMatchedRules(req, getRules, function (err, matchedRules) {
  console.log(matchedRules);
});
 
/*
[ { id: 'ClientCr',
    method: 'POST',
    baseUrl: '/api',
    path: '/clients' } ]
*/

setOptionsOnProps

Sets every option value for each property based on the propsToTest and default options rules. setOptionsOnProps is called by makeIsAuthorized so does not need to be called. Is exposed as a helper function to see every property option that is set.

Arguments

  • propsToTest
  • defaultOptions - Optional object of options that should globally apply to all properties being tested if those options are set in propsToTest. See options.
var propsToTest = ['method','baseUrl','query.sort',{'query.filter':{regExpMatch: false}}];
var myDefaultOptions = {variablesInTObj: true};
 
var propsWithOptions = flexAcl.setOptionsOnProps(propsToTest, myDefaultOptions);
 
console.log(propsWithOptions); 
/* 
[ { name: 'method',
    variablesInTObj: false,
    regExpIgnoreCase: false,
    regExpMatch: false,
    doNotCheckInherited: false,
    variablesInPObj: false,
    propMatchFn: null,
    variablesEndStr: '#',
    variablesStartStr: '~',
    variables: {},
    regExpAnchorEnd: true,
    regExpAnchorStart: true,
    regExpReverse: true,
    matchIfBothPropMissing: true,
    matchIfPObjPropMissing: false,
    matchIfTObjPropMissing: true },
  { name: 'baseUrl',
    doNotCheckInherited: false,
    variablesInPObj: false,
    propMatchFn: null,
    variablesEndStr: '#',
    variablesStartStr: '~',
    variables: {},
    regExpAnchorEnd: true,
    regExpAnchorStart: true,
    regExpIgnoreCase: true,
    regExpReverse: true,
    regExpMatch: true,
    matchIfBothPropMissing: true,
    matchIfPObjPropMissing: false,
    matchIfTObjPropMissing: true,
    variablesInTObj: true },
  { name: 'query.sort',
    variablesInTObj: false,
    regExpIgnoreCase: false,
    regExpMatch: true,
    doNotCheckInherited: false,
    variablesInPObj: false,
    propMatchFn: null,
    variablesEndStr: '#',
    variablesStartStr: '~',
    variables: {},
    regExpAnchorEnd: true,
    regExpAnchorStart: true,
    regExpReverse: true,
    matchIfBothPropMissing: true,
    matchIfPObjPropMissing: false,
    matchIfTObjPropMissing: true },
  { regExpMatch: false,
    name: 'query.filter',
    variablesInTObj: false,
    regExpIgnoreCase: false,
    doNotCheckInherited: false,
    variablesInPObj: false,
    propMatchFn: null,
    variablesEndStr: '#',
    variablesStartStr: '~',
    variables: {},
    regExpAnchorEnd: true,
    regExpAnchorStart: true,
    regExpReverse: true,
    matchIfBothPropMissing: true,
    matchIfPObjPropMissing: false,
    matchIfTObjPropMissing: true } ]
 */

Using Variables

Variables can be used for patterns that repeat in matching the ACL rules. In options, set variablesInTObj to true ('TObj = target object which is the acl rules collection') and variables to the collection of variable names with their values. The default start and end strings for identifying a variable name in an ACL rule is '~' and '#' respectively. These can be modified in options with the variablesStartStr and variablesEndStr option values.

flex-acl uses filter-objects to match acl rules. See filter-objects variables for futher details. See flex-acl options for default values for variable options including start and end strings.

Example

 
var variables = {clientNbr: '2[a-z][0-9]'};
 
var getRules = function(callback) {
  var rules = [
    {id: 'ClientLi',
     method: 'GET',
     baseUrl: '/api',
     path:'/clients'},
    {id: 'ClientCrt',
     method: 'POST',
     baseUrl: '/api',
     path:'/clients/~clientNbr#'},   // '~clientNbr#' will be replaced with '2[a-z][0-9]'
    ];
  return callback(null, rules); 
}; 
 
var getIdsFromRules = function(req, callback) {
  // returns the access ids for the user making the http request
  var authzdAclIds = {
    sammy: ["ClientCrt"],
  };
 
  return callback(null, authzdAclIds[req.user.id]);
};
 
var options = {variablesInTObj:true, 'variables': variables}; 
 
// set variables on just those properties on which they'll be used
var propsToTest = ['method',{'path':options}];
var isAuthorized = 
    flexAcl.makeIsAuthorized(getRules, getIdsFromRules, propsToTest); 
 
req = {method: 'POST', path:'/clients/2b7', user: {id:'sammy'}};
isAuthorized(req, function (err, passes) {
  // err => null
  // passes => true
});
 
 

Performance

No structured, rigorous performance tests have been performed but here are performance results given the following environment and example :

  • Using aws t2.micro instance running Amazon Linux as web server running nodejs 4.4, expressjs 4.13
  • flex-acl setup and rules as shown in flex-acl example app/modules/auth folder where the rules and authorized acl id collections are loaded upon server startup and which has:
    • 50 acl rules
    • testing 6 properties (method,baseUrl,path, query.fieldset,query.filter,query.filterfields)
    • check and replace variables on 1 property (path) using 6 variables
    • 10-13 authorized acl ids for each of 3 user roles
  • Generally available processor and memory; running one instance of the application with several hundred tests running consecutively hitting all acl rules and checking isAuthorized 5,310 times.

Yielded these results:

Response time in milliseconds
median 0.828
average 0.978
90th percentile 1.093
95th percentile 1.243
99th percentile 3.683
min 0.541
max 22.022

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Version

1.0.0

License

MIT

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