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Apache Commons Weaver Privilizer

Provides machinery to automate the handling of Java Security access controls in code. This involves wrapping calls that may trigger java.lang.SecurityExceptions in PrivilegedAction objects. Unfortunately this is quite an expensive operation and slows code down considerably; when executed in an environment that has no SecurityManager activated it is an utter waste. The typical pattern to cope with this is:

if (System.getSecurityManager() != null) {
  AccessController.doPrivileged(new PrivilegedAction<Void>() {
    public Void run() {
      return null;
} else {

This becomes tedious in short order. The immediate response of a typical developer: relegate the repetitive code to a set of utility methods. In the case of Java security, however, this approach is considered risky. The purpose of the Privilizer, then, is to instrument compiled methods originally annotated with our @Privileged annotation. This annotation is retained in the classfiles, but not available at runtime, and there are no runtime dependencies.

Basic Privilization

private void doSomethingThatRequiresPermissions() {

Annotating a method with the @Privileged annotation will cause the PrivilizerWeaver to generate these checks automatically, leaving you to simply implement the code!

Blueprint Privilization

The so-called “blueprint” feature returns to the concept of static utility methods. Why are these considered a liability? Because your trusted code presumptuously extends your trust via public methods to any class in the JVM, almost certainly contrary to the wishes of the owner of that JVM. Our blueprint technique allows you to define (or reuse) static utility methods in a secure way: simply define these utility methods in a SecurityManager-agnostic manner and let the consuming class request that calls to them be treated as blueprints for @Privileged methods:

public class Utils {
  public static void doSomethingThatRequiresPrivileges() {

public class UtilsClient {
  public void foo() {

The static methods of the Utils class will be called as though they had been locally declared and annotated with @Privileged. See the documentation of the @Privilizing annotation for more information on how to specify multiple classes, restrict to only certain methods, etc.

Q: What if my utility methods access static variables of their declaring class?

A: The imported methods reference those fields via reflection; i.e. the original fields are used.

Q: Does this modify the accessibility of those fields?

A: Yes, but only for the duration of the method implementation. The fields’ accessibility is checked before execution, and if a given field is not accessible on the way in, it will be restored to its original state in a finally block.


The PrivilizerWeaver supports the following options:

  • privilizer.accessLevel : name of the highest AccessLevel to privilize (default PRIVATE)
  • privilizer.policy : name of the Policy (determines when to check for a SecurityManager)