Features > Security

ActiveMQ Classic 4.x and greater provides pluggable security through various different providers.

The most common providers are

  • JAAS for authentication
  • a default authorization mechanism using a simple XML configuration file.


The default JAAS plugin relies on the standard JAAS mechanism for authentication. Refer to the documentation for more detail.

Typically you configure JAAS using a config file like this one and set the system property to point to it. If no system property is specified then by default the ActiveMQ Classic JAAS plugin will look for login.config on the classpath and use that.

Authentication Example

Here is an example login.config which then points to these files

Note: Until version 5.11.1, these property files got reloaded on every authentication request by default. So updates to users, password and groups were loaded immediately. From 5.12 onward they only get reloaded if reload=true is set in your LoginModule configuration, e.g.

activemq { org.apache.activemq.jaas.PropertiesLoginModule required"""" reload=true; };

If reload=true is not set, these property files get loaded on broker startup only!! See AMQ-5876 for details.

Simple Authentication Plugin

If you have modest authentication requirements (or just want to quickly set up your testing environment) you can use SimpleAuthenticationPlugin. With this plugin you can define users and groups directly in the broker’s XML configuration. Take a look at the following snippet for example:

    <authenticationUser username="system" password="manager" groups="users,admins"/>
    <authenticationUser username="user" password="password" groups="users"/>
    <authenticationUser username="guest" password="password" groups="guests"/>

Users and groups defined in this way can be later used with the appropriate authorization plugin.

Anonymous access

From version 5.4.0 onwards, you can configure simple authentication plugin to allow anonymous access to the broker.

<simpleAuthenticationPlugin anonymousAccessAllowed="true"> <users> <authenticationUser username="system" password="manager" groups="users,admins"/> <authenticationUser username="user" password="password" groups="users"/> <authenticationUser username="guest" password="password" groups="guests"/> </users> </simpleAuthenticationPlugin>

To allow anonymous access to the broker, use anonymousAccessAllowed attribute and set it to true as shown above. Now, when the client connects without username and password provided, a default username (anonymous) and group (anonymous) will be assigned to its security context. You can use this username and password to authorize client’s access to appropriate broker resources (see the next section). You can also change username and group that will be assigned to anonymous users by using anonymousUser and anonymousGroup attributes.


In ActiveMQ Classic we use a number of operations which you can associate with user roles and either individual queues or topics or you can use wildcards to attach to hierarchies of topics and queues.

Operation Description
read You can browse and consume from the destination
write You can send messages to the destination
admin You can lazily create the destination if it does not yet exist. This allows you fine grained control over which new destinations can be dynamically created in what part of the queue/topic hierarchy

Queues/Topics can specified using the ActiveMQ Classic Wildcards syntax.

Authorization Example

The following example shows these 2 plugins in operation. Though note its very easy to write your own plugin. Note that full access rights should generally be given to the ActiveMQ.Advisory destinations because by default an ActiveMQConnection uses destination advisories to get early knowledge of temp destination creation and deletion. In addition, dynamic network connectors use advisories to determine consumer demand.
If necessary, the use of advisories in this manner can be disabled via the watchTopicAdvisories boolean attribute of ActiveMQConnectionFactory and for a networkConnector, via the network connector staticBridge(5.6) boolean attribute.

Broker-to-Broker Authentication and Authorization

If you have enabled authentication for a particular message broker, then other brokers that wish to connect to that broker must provide the proper authentication credentials via their element. For example, suppose that we have a network of brokers with the following configuration:

  • The network of brokers comprises two brokers (BrokerA and BrokerB)
  • Authentication for BrokerA has been enabled via the example <simpleAuthenticationPlugin> element.
  • Authentication for BrokerB has not been enabled.
  • BrokerA only listens for connections. In other words, BrokerA has a <transportConnector> element, but no <networkConnector> elements.

In order for BrokerB to connect to BrokerA, the corresponding element in BrokerB's XML configuration file must be set up as follows.

  <networkConnector name="brokerAbridge" userName="user" password="password" uri="static://(tcp://brokerA:61616)"/> 

Note how BrokerB’s <networkConnector> element must provide the proper credentials in order to connect to BrokerA. If authorization has been enabled on BrokerA, then the userName assigned to the <networkConnector> element must also have the proper authorization credentials. Messages cannot be forwarded from BrokerB to BrokerA if BrokerA has authorization enabled and BrokerB’s corresponding <networkConnector> element’s userName has not been given the proper authorization credentials.

Also, if BrokerA is given a <networkConnector> element so that it can initiate a connection to BrokerB, then that <networkConnector> must be given a userName/password combination that is defined in the <simpleAuthenticationPlugin> element; this is required even though BrokerB does not have authentication services enabled.

Controlling Access To Temporary Destinations

To control access to temporary destinations, you will need to add a <tempDestinationAuthorizationEntry> element to the authorizationMap. Through this element, you control access to all temporary destinations. If this element is not present, read, write, and admin privileges for temporary destinations will be granted to all. In the example below, read, write, and admin privileges for temporary destinations are only granted to those clients that have been assigned to the ‘admin’ group.

              <authorizationEntry queue="TEST.Q" read="users" write="users" admin="users" /> 
              <authorizationEntry topic="ActiveMQ.Advisory.>" read="*" write="*" admin="*"/> 
              <tempDestinationAuthorizationEntry read="admin" write="admin" admin="admin"/> 

LDAP Authentication Using the JAAS Plugin

New module

A new/better ldap authorization module is available since 5.6. See Cached LDAP Authorization Module for more info.

  1. Configure the JAAS LDAPLoginModule and the LDAPAuthorizationMap in activemq.xml:

       <!-- use JAAS to authenticate using the login.config file on the classpath to configure JAAS --> 
       <jaasAuthenticationPlugin configuration="LdapConfiguration" /> 
       <!-- lets configure a destination based role/group authorization mechanism --> 
           <bean xmlns="" id="lDAPAuthorizationMap" class=""> 
             <property name="initialContextFactory" value="com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtxFactory"/> 
             <property name="connectionURL" value="ldap://"/> 
             <property name="authentication" value="simple"/> 
             <property name="connectionUsername" value="cn=mqbroker,ou=Services,dc=acme,dc=com"/> 
             <property name="connectionPassword" value="password"/> 
             <property name="connectionProtocol" value="s"/> 
             <property name="topicSearchMatching" value="cn={0},ou=Topic,ou=Destination,ou=ActiveMQ,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com"/> 
             <property name="topicSearchSubtreeBool" value="true"/> 
             <property name="queueSearchMatching" value="cn={0},ou=Queue,ou=Destination,ou=ActiveMQ,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com"/> 
             <property name="queueSearchSubtreeBool" value="true"/> 
             <property name="adminBase" value="(cn=admin)"/> 
             <property name="adminAttribute" value="member"/> 
             <property name="adminAttributePrefix" value="cn="/> 
             <property name="readBase" value="(cn=read)"/> 
             <property name="readAttribute" value="member"/> 
             <property name="readAttributePrefix" value="cn="/> 
             <property name="writeBase" value="(cn=write)"/> 
             <property name="writeAttribute" value="member"/> 
             <property name="writeAttributePrefix" value="cn="/> 
  2. Configure the JAAS login.config (I haven’t de-duplicated the config yet):
     LdapConfiguration { 
        org.apache.activemq.jaas.LDAPLoginModule required 
        connectionPassword=password connectionProtocol=s 
  3. Import the following LDIF file into the LDAP server:
     version: 1 
     # Sample LDIF for ActiveMQ LDAP authentication and authorisation 
     # Passwords are defaulted to "password" - it is your responsibility to change them! 
     # Sets up: 
     # 1. Bind user 
     # 2. A sample queue with admin,read,write permission assignments 
     # 3. ActiveMQ Classic advisory topics 
     # 4. Two groups - admin and webapp 
     # 5. Two users - admin and webapp 
     # 6. Role assignments - admin->admin, webapp->webapp 
     # (c) Robin Bramley 2008 # Provided as is without any warranty of any kind 
     dn: dc=acme,dc=com 
     dc: acme 
     objectClass: domain 
     objectClass: top 
     dn: ou=Services,dc=acme,dc=com 
     ou: Services 
     objectClass: organizationalUnit 
     objectClass: top 
     dn: cn=mqbroker,ou=Services,dc=acme,dc=com 
     cn: mqbroker 
     objectClass: organizationalRole 
     objectClass: top 
     objectClass: simpleSecurityObject 
     userPassword: {SSHA}j0NpveEO0YD5rgI5kY8OxSRiN5KQ/kE4 
     description: Bind user for MQ broker 
     dn: ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     ou: systems 
     objectClass: organizationalUnit 
     objectClass: top 
     dn: ou=ActiveMQ,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     objectClass: organizationalUnit 
     objectClass: top 
     ou: ActiveMQ 
     dn: ou=Destination,ou=ActiveMQ,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     objectClass: organizationalUnit 
     objectClass: top 
     ou: Destination 
     dn: ou=Queue,ou=Destination,ou=ActiveMQ,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     objectClass: organizationalUnit 
     objectClass: top 
     ou: Queue 
     dn: cn=com.acme.myfirstrealqueue,ou=Queue,ou=Destination,ou=ActiveMQ,ou=syst ems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     cn: com.acme.myfirstrealqueue 
     description: A queue 
     objectClass: applicationProcess 
     objectClass: top 
     dn: cn=admin,cn=com.acme.myfirstrealqueue,ou=Queue,ou=Destination,ou=ActiveM Q,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     cn: admin 
     description: Admin privilege group, members are roles 
     member: cn=admin 
     member: cn=webapp 
     objectClass: groupOfNames 
     objectClass: top 
     dn: cn=read,cn=com.acme.myfirstrealqueue,ou=Queue,ou=Destination,ou=ActiveMQ ,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     cn: read member: cn=webapp 
     objectClass: groupOfNames 
     objectClass: top 
     dn: cn=write,cn=com.acme.myfirstrealqueue,ou=Queue,ou=Destination,ou=ActiveM Q,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     cn: write 
     objectClass: groupOfNames 
     objectClass: top member: cn=webapp 
     dn: ou=Topic,ou=Destination,ou=ActiveMQ,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=co m 
     objectClass: organizationalUnit 
     objectClass: top 
     ou: Topic 
     dn: cn=ActiveMQ.Advisory.Consumer,ou=Topic,ou=Destination,ou=ActiveMQ,ou=sys tems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     cn: ActiveMQ.Advisory.Consumer 
     objectClass: applicationProcess 
     objectClass: top description: Advisory topic about consumers 
     dn: cn=read,cn=ActiveMQ.Advisory.Consumer,ou=Topic,ou=Destination,ou=ActiveM Q,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     cn: read member: cn=webapp 
     objectClass: groupOfNames 
     objectClass: top 
     dn: cn=ActiveMQ.Advisory.TempQueue,ou=Topic,ou=Destination,ou=ActiveMQ,ou=sy stems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     cn: ActiveMQ.Advisory.TempQueue 
     description: Advisory topic about temporary queues 
     objectClass: applicationProcess 
     objectClass: top 
     dn: cn=read,cn=ActiveMQ.Advisory.TempQueue,ou=Topic,ou=Destination,ou=Active MQ,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     cn: read member: cn=webapp 
     objectClass: groupOfNames 
     objectClass: top 
     dn: cn=ActiveMQ.Advisory.TempTopic,ou=Topic,ou=Destination,ou=ActiveMQ,ou=sy stems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     cn: ActiveMQ.Advisory.TempTopic 
     objectClass: applicationProcess 
     objectClass: top 
     description: Advisory topic about temporary topics 
     dn: cn=read,cn=ActiveMQ.Advisory.TempTopic,ou=Topic,ou=Destination,ou=Active MQ,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     cn: read 
     member: cn=webapp 
     objectClass: groupOfNames 
     objectClass: top 
     dn: ou=Group,ou=ActiveMQ,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     objectClass: organizationalUnit 
     objectClass: top 
     ou: Group 
     dn: cn=admin,ou=Group,ou=ActiveMQ,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     cn: admin 
     member: uid=admin 
     objectClass: groupOfNames 
     objectClass: top 
     dn: cn=webapp,ou=Group,ou=ActiveMQ,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     cn: webapp 
     member: uid=webapp 
     objectClass: groupOfNames 
     objectClass: top 
     dn: ou=User,ou=ActiveMQ,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     objectClass: organizationalUnit 
     objectClass: top 
     ou: User 
     dn: uid=admin,ou=User,ou=ActiveMQ,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     uid: admin 
     userPassword: {SSHA}j0NpveEO0YD5rgI5kY8OxSRiN5KQ/kE4 
     objectClass: account 
     objectClass: simpleSecurityObject 
     objectClass: top 
     dn: uid=webapp,ou=User,ou=ActiveMQ,ou=systems,dc=acme,dc=com 
     uid: webapp 
     userPassword: {SSHA}j0NpveEO0YD5rgI5kY8OxSRiN5KQ/kE4 
     objectClass: account 
     objectClass: simpleSecurityObject 
     objectClass: top
  4. Start up ActiveMQ Classic

  5. Test it out

Security and ActiveMQ Classic Components

Along with the message broker, you can optionally execute several additional “components”, such as Camel and/or the Web console. These components establish connections with the broker; therefore, if you have secured your broker (i.e., enabled authentication), you will have to configure these components in order to have them provide the required security credentials (username, password) when they connect to the broker.


You may have the following Camel context defined in your broker’s XML configuration file.

<!-- ** Lets deploy some Enterprise Integration Patterns inside the ActiveMQ Classic Message Broker ** For more details see ** ** http://activemq.apache.orgFeatures/ -->
<camelContext id="camel" xmlns="">
    <from uri="activemq:example.A"/>
    <to uri="activemq:example.B"/>

The above configuration is not set up to work within a secure environment.

If the application is running in an OSGi container, add the following line before the CamelContext definition:

<osgi:reference id="activemq" interface="org.apache.camel.Component" />

This allows any pre-configured instance of the ActiveMQComponent deployed in the container to take precedence on the default ActiveMQComponent.

That is, with the above configuration, Camel will establish a connection with ActiveMQ Classic, but will not provide a username and password. Therefore, when ActiveMQ Classic security is enabled, the above configuration results in a security exception. The exception will be thrown multiple times, because Camel will continue to retry the connection. If you’re not using Camel, comment out the above XML code. If you are using Camel, add the following bean definition to your broker’s XML configuration:

<!-- configure the camel activemq component to use the current broker -->
<bean id="activemq" class="org.apache.activemq.camel.component.ActiveMQComponent" >
  <property name="connectionFactory"> 
    <bean class="org.apache.activemq.ActiveMQConnectionFactory">
      <property name="brokerURL" value="vm://localhost?create=false&amp;waitForStart=10000" />
      <property name="userName" value="system"/> 
      <property name="password" value="manager"/>

With the above bean definition, Camel will pass the specified security credentials when it connects to the broker.

If the broker is running in an OSGi container, add the following line after the ActiveMQComponent bean definition:

<service ref="activemq" interface="org.apache.camel.Component"/>

Web Console

If you want to use the Web Console with a secured broker, you have to change connectionFactory bean in your webapps/admin/WEB-INF/webconsole-embeded.xml to something like this:

<bean id="connectionFactory" class="org.apache.activemq.ActiveMQConnectionFactory">
  <property name="brokerURL" value="vm://localhost"/>
  <property name="userName" value="system"/>
  <property name="password" value="manager"/>

Default Credentials

Starting with version 5.3, all of the above configuration details are included in the default ActiveMQ Classic configuration. Also, there is a central place where you can set credentials that these components will use to connect to the broker. Just set your desired username and password in the conf/ file, which by default looks like this:

activemq.username=system activemq.password=manager

Encrypted Passwords

As of version 5.4.1 you can also use Encrypted passwords with your broker

Message level Authorization

It’s also possible to authorize each single message using some content based authorization policy of your choosing. In comparison to the other security options described before, Message level Authorization requires a bit more than just some configuration. You have to start with creating a new maven project and add the activemq-all maven dependency (in the same version as your activemq installation) to the pom.xml of your new project.
In the next step you have to create a new Java class and let it implement the interface. After that, simply add a method with signature:

public boolean isAllowedToConsume(ConnectionContext context, Message message){...}

to the new Java class. For usage of your own Message level Authorization policy, the Java class has to be packaged as jar and added to the /lib folder of ActiveMQ Classic to make it available. In the last step, it has to be configured on the broker directly by using the * messageAuthorizationPolicy* property or add it to the XML as follows

    <bean class="com.acme.MyMessageAuthorizationPolicy" xmlns=""/>

Implementing your own custom Security Plugin

All of the various security implementations are implemented as Interceptors so its very easy to add your own custom implementation. Its probably easier to start with one of the simple implementations though if you are using JAAS you could derive from the JAAS implementation.

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