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Security framework for REST APIs implemented with Express.

This framework is aimed to restrict/permit API invocation based on authentication token (JWT) and authorization rules.


npm install jano


Import into project

var jano = require("jano");


  appName: 'testApp',
  rules: [
      { url: '\/api\/login', method:'POST', role:'\\w+', anon: true },
      { url: '\/api\/securedMethod', method:'POST|GET', role:'\\w+', anon: false },
      { url: '\/api\/anotherMethod', method:'POST', role:'admin|sales', anon: false },
      { url: '\/api[a-zA-Z]*', method:'POST|GET', role:'\\w+', anon: false },
      { url: '\/', method:'\\w+', role:'\\w+', anon: true }
  keysFolder: '/home/ubuntu/workspace/keys',
  validateIp: true,
  sessionFile: '/home/ubuntu/workspace/janoSessions.json',
  authenticateFn: authenticateUserAgainstRepo,
  checkUserFn: isUserValidInRepo
Property Description
appName Name of API application being secured.
rules Array of rules for authorization. URL based.
keysFolder Folder where Private and Public keys are located (for JWT signing and validation)
sessionFile File for registering users that have been signed in
authenticateFn User provided function invoked by the framework to autenticate an user/password against a repository
checkUserFn User provided function invoked by the framework to validate an user in a repository


Jano configuration includes an array of rules to be applied to incoming requests in order to determine if an application endpoint is to be autorized and a route method invoked.

Rules are defined as follows:

var aRule = { url: '\/api\/securedMethod', method:'POST|GET', role:'\\w+', anon: false }
Property Description
url The application endpoint defined in app (regular expression)
method Method or methods allowed (regular expression)
role user role o roles required to grant application endpoint invocation (regular expression)
anon flag indicating that the application endpoint may be called anonymously. If this property is true no authentication validation is performed and roles defined un role atribute are not enforced.

Order is important: First rule matched given a url and method will be used to authorize the request. All subsequent rules are discarded.

Keys and Keys Folder

Jano uses private/public keys to Sign and Validate Json Web Tokens (JWTs). JWTs are generated and signed using a private key and returned to client upon successful authentication. Client is bound to send this JWT in the Authorization header in every request. Jano will validate the existence of this header value and will validate the JWT signature using a public Key.

So, every application should have a key pair (private/public) which will be used by Jano. The location of these keys are specified in keysFolder property.

The certificate files shoud be named in accordance to the application name defined in the appNameattribute. Let's say:

  appName: 'testApp',
  keysFolder: '/home/ubuntu/workspace/keys',

Jano will expect two files in /home/ubuntu/workspace/keys folder:

  • testApp.pem (the private key)
  • testApp_public.pem (the public key)

Session File

Jano uses a in-memmory database (LokiJS) to mantain a registry of signed JWT's. This is not a web session or web session related data, since API should be stateless. This in-memmory db uses this file to persist data automatically from time to time.


  • Every time a user signs in and a JWT is generated, the JWT uuid is registered in this db, with a status isActive = true
  • When an user signs out, the JWT associated with that user is marked as no longer active. isActive = false

This helps to determine which JWTs are not longer valid, since JWTs have an expiry time that cannot be altered. A user may sign out after a short period of time and the JWT associated is still valid (since it has not expired). This registry helps to control the future use of a JWT that a user 'discarded' when signed out.

Sign In

Jano provides a function to sign a JWT with the user subject name and its roles signIn. This method relies on the authenticateFn provided by the app.'/api/login', 
  jano.signIn,                    //Jano function that invokes 'authenticateFn' and generates a signed JWT
  function(req, res, next) {      //function to process response
    if (req.error) {
      res.status(500).json({ status: {code:500, message: req.error.message} });
    //just return the signed JWT. Optionally this function could send a Cookie.
    res.status(200).json({ status: {'code':200, 'message':"ok"}, response: { 'jwt': req.jwt } });

The 'authenticateFn' function

Jano expects this function to return a Promise. The function will be passed the username and password parameters.

* Function to perform authentication against an user repo.
exports.authenticateUserAgainstRepo = function(username, password) {
    return new Promise(function(resolve, reject){
        if (!username || !password) {
            reject(new Error("username and/or password not provided"));
        else {
            //TODO: Connect to an user repository (example: ldap) and check user/password
            //TODO: Get user groups, and translate them into roles
            /* If successful, return an JSON object with the subject and roles.
             * Jano will use this info in the payload that will be signed into the JWT
            resolve({ 'subject': username, 'roles': ['role1', 'role2'] })
            //If authentication not successful reject promise with an error:
            //reject(new Error("Wrong username and/or password"));
            //reject(new Error("Unexpected error during login process"));

Sign Out

Jano provides a signOut function which registers the associated user JWT as no longer valid. Subsequent invocations by the client of the API using that JWT in the authorization header, will fail with a 401 error.'/api/logout', 
  jano.signOut,                  //Jano function that invalidates a previously generated JWT
  function(req, res, next) {     //function to process response 
    if (req.error) {
      res.status(500).json({ status: {code:500, message: req.error.message} });
    //just return the signed JWT. Optionally this function could send a Cookie.
    res.status(200).json({ status: {'code':200, 'message':"user signed out"}, response: null });

Securing API endpoints

In order to secure API endpoints defined in Express, you have to indicate the app to use the Jano Filters:


Basically no aditional code is required in the routing endpoints or endpoint methods.'/api/securedMethod', function(req, res) {
  //hey Mom look... no hands (a.k.a business logic)
  res.status(200).json({ status: {code:200, message:"ok"}, response: { id:1, name:'secure transaction invoked' }});

The Client has to send the Authorization header in every request so jano filters can determine if user is authenticated/authorized.

var invokeMethod1 = function() {
 return $q(function(resolve, reject){
     $http.defaults.headers.common.Authorization = 'Bearer eyJhbGciOiJSUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.[...]';
         success(function(data) {
             //method successfully invoked (http status 200) 
         .error(function(err) {
             //method invocation unsuccessful. Rules were not satisfied (http status 401 or 403)