Authentication refers to identifying a subject and verifying the authenticity of the identification. The most common authentication mechanism is a username and password combination. Other common authentication mechanisms use shared keys, smart cards, or fingerprints. The outcome of a successful authentication is referred to as a principal, in terms of Java Enterprise Edition declarative security.
The JBoss Enterprise Application Platform uses a pluggable system of authentication modules to provide flexibility and integration with the authentication systems you already use in your organization. Each security domain contains one or more configured authentication modules. Each module includes additional configuration parameters to customize its behavior. The easiest way to configure the authentication subsystem is within the web-based management console.
Authentication is not the same as authorization, although they are often linked. Many of the included authentication modules can also handle authorization.