The basic entity that the access controller operates on is a permission object—an instance of the Permission class ( The Permission class itself is an abstract class that represents a particular operation. The nomenclature here is a little misleading, because a permission object can reflect two things. When it is associated with a class (through a code source and a protection domain), a permission object represents an actual permission that has been granted to that class. Otherwise, a permission object allows us to ask if we have a specific permission.

For example, if we construct a permission object that represents access to a file, possession of that object does not mean that we have permission to access the file. Rather, possession of the object allows us to ask if we have permission to access the file.

An instance of the Permission class represents one specific permission. A set of permissions—e.g., all the permissions that are given to classes signed by a particular individual—is represented by an instance of the Permissions class ( As developers and administrators, we’ll make extensive use of these classes, so we’ll need to investigate them in depth.

The Permission Class

Permissions have three properties:

A type

All permissions carry a basic type that identifies what the permission pertains to. A permission object to access a file will have a type of FilePermission; an object to create a window will have a type ...

Get Java Security now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.