Setting Service Access Policies

Setting Service Access Policies

Service Access Policies define what services or service methods can be invoked remotely. You can apply many of them at once to produce a combined effect. They are the second layer of security (after IP permissions) for web services. Custom service access policies can be created by portal administrators. They are applied by the portal’s token authenticator (OAuth 2).

Service Access Policies define a whitelist for methods exposed via web service invocation. You can use wildcards to define classes and methods that are whitelisted. Note that Service Access Policies respect the permissions system. If a policy grants a user access to a remote service, that user must still have the appropriate permissions to invoke that service.

Default Service Access Policies

To view and manage Service Access Policies, go to Control PanelConfigurationService Access Policy.

Service Access Policies View

There are 12 Service Access Policies enabled by default. Five of these have to do with the system:

Service Access Policy Description Enabled by Default
ASSET_ENTRY_DEFAULT Allows the view counter for assets to be updated when an asset is retrieved.
AUTHORIZED_OAUTH2_SAP Allows all REST requests authorized by OAuth 2.
CALENDAR_DEFAULT Makes it possible to search public events in the calendar.
SYSTEM_DEFAULT Allows access to country/region services by JavaScript calls, so users can switch languages on the fly. Applies to every request, including unauthenticated requests.
SYSTEM_USER_PASSWORD Allows any method to be invoked. Of course, since API functions include permission checks, this call works only if the user has the required permission. It applies to requests for which AuthVerifierResult.isPasswordBasedAuthentication is true: i.e., whenever user authentication took place using a password. If you want to completely disallow certain API functions from being invoked, you can change the SYSTEM_USER_PASSWORD policy to something more restrictive than *.

SYSTEM_DEFAULT, and other policies with Default configured to Yes are applied to all incoming requests, including unauthenticated requests.

The other seven policies have to do with OAuth and JSON web services:

Service Access Policy Description Enabled by Default Integrates with Liferay Analytics Cloud, allowing it access to JSON web services.
OAUTH2_everything/read/documents/userprofile/write The Everything policies grant access to all the JSON web services for various reasons. Everything is everything: all JSON web services (matches *). The others match method signatures appropriate to their description. For example, matches all methods starting with fetch, get, has, is, or search.

The default configuration makes available corresponding scopes that provide access to all web services shipped with the system. The scopes must be assigned to OAuth 1 or 2 applications before they become usable. Administrators should review the ones you want to use and disable the others.

Understanding Service Access Policies

When creating or editing service access policies, keep these points in mind:

  • Service access policy names must be unique per portal instance.

  • Service access policy names can include only these allowed characters:

  • Service access policy titles can be localized; service access policy names cannot be localized.

  • Allowed service signatures must be entered one per line. Wildcards (*) are allowed for both class names and method names. The # symbol must be used to separate a class name from a method name.

For example, com.liferay.portal.kernel.service.UserService allows any method from the UserService class to be invoked. com.liferay.document.library.kernel.service.DLAppService#get* allows any method from the DLAppService that starts with get to be invoked.

The following example allows any method from the UserService class to be invoked and any method from the DLAppService whose name starts with get to be invoked:


Creating a Service Access Policy

To create a new Service Access Policy:

  1. Navigate to the ConfigurationService Access Policy section of the Control Panel.

  2. Click Add (add).

  3. Give your policy a name.

  4. Switch the Enabled toggle to enable your policy.

  5. If you want the policy applied to unauthenticated requests as well as authenticated requests, switch the toggle labeled Default.

  6. Give your policy a localized title.

  7. Under Allowed Service Signatures, type the fully qualified name of a service class that’s installed.

  8. Under Method Name, start typing a service method call.


    Code completion is available for both the Service Class and Method Name fields.

  9. To specify another service or method, click the plus icon to add another entry.

  10. When done, click Save.


If you know all the method signatures ahead of time, you can click Switch to Advanced Mode and enter them all in one field on separate lines.

Liferay applications can declare their own default policies. This policy can then be changed or disabled by administrators. In this case, the plugin can still verify that the policy exists so there is no need to redefine or update it.

By default, Liferay’s tunneling servlet uses the SYSTEM_USER_PASSWORD service access policy. You can, however, create your own policy for the tunneling servlet and use the property for the TunnelingServletAuthVerifier to specify that your policy should be used instead.

Understanding the Service Access Policy Module

Liferay’s service access policy functionality is provided by the Service Access Policy module. This module includes the following important classes:

  • defines the public interface for ServiceAccessPolicy.
  • defines the public interface for retrieving instances of ServiceAccessPolicy.
  • bridges service access policy functionality to the parts of Liferay’s core that have not yet been modularized.
  • makes ServiceAccessPolicy instances active.

Liferay’s Service Access Policy module resides in the modules/apps/service-access-policy folder in the source code. When running, these three bundles provide the service access policy functionality (they’re in the [Liferay Home]/osgi/modules folder):

  • com.liferay.service.access.policy.api.jar
  • com.liferay.service.access.policy.service.jar
  • com.liferay.service.access.policy.web.jar

These modules provide the service access policy management UI that’s accessible from the Control Panel. They also provide the interface and default implementation for ServiceAccessPolicy.

Configuring the Service Access Policy Module

  1. Navigate to Control PanelSystem SettingsAPI Authentication.

    Service Access Policy Module Location

  2. Click on the Service Access Policies module in the Security section. Click on its name to edit it.

  3. The default service access policy configuration can be edited. You can also force a default policy to be applied even when no policies are applied by the AuthVerifier.

There’s also an AuthenticatedAccessControlPolicy. This policy doesn’t do anything if a ServiceAccessPolicyManager implementation is present. If the service access policy module is disabled, however, the AuthenticatedAccessControlPolicy provides a fallback that still requires authenticated access for web services.