Today internet has become a major source for various activities including information gathering, product buying and selling, communication and much more. Through internet, everything is so easy and done at a click of button thereby ensuring the best of the user's convenience. Though it seems so interesting and easy, sometimes internet may bring in more threats and security concerns for the users as the web assets get more vulnerable to hackers, spammers and other undesired resources. As such the web applications in the present era are more vulnerable to security threats and hence, need to be protected with much care. Similar, is the case for ASP.NET web applications as well that are vulnerable to various security threats as shown below. This article presents important tips to consider when one goes for developing web applications using ASP.NET. These tips can ensure better security of your web applications.
Most Common Security Threats and Ways to Prevent Them:
Sessions are the identifiers generated by web applications for authenticated user's identification. These sessions are usually stored in cookies and URLs that travel to and from the server. Here the attacker will steal the session id and get illegal access to the web application with that session and hence, access anything from it.
1. Session hijacking is usually done by XSS attacks where the attacker injects some script that sends cookie information to the attacker. Hence, in is important to prevent cross-site scripting vulnerabilities in web applications in order to prevent this security attack.
2. Never store secure or private information in Query Strings, Hidden Fields, Form Fields etc.
3. Go for using HTTPS on pages and modules that perform some critical transactions.
4. Do not give access to multiple users to connect to the same session through various systems.
5. It is better way to go for re-authentication or two way authentication when user is performing secured transactions with the web application.
6. Ensure the identity of the user by making your application ask for multiple security verification questions before granting access for security concerned transactions.
Here the attacker seals the identity of the existing user and gains access to restricted sections of the application. This kind of attack is usually done using username and password stealing tactics, network sniffer tools and sql injection techniques.
1. Use strong passwords for your web applications. Using the mix of characters, special characters, numbers and symbols can be useful in creation of strong password.
2. Using SSL certificates on authentication pages that handle critical transactions can be a good technique to prevent identity spoofing.
3. Prevent code injection attacks.
4. Ensure user's re-authentication to the web application by displaying the last visited time and IP form where he/she had visited the application.
5. Set stricter password policy making the users to change their passwords frequently. This can be a very good way to prevent password attacks.
When the data packets are sent from server to the application for transfer of some critical data, these can be stolen in between by the attackers using some network monitoring tools. This kind of attack is named as network eavesdropping. Here network sniffer tools are used to steal data over the non-SSL communication links.
1. The best way to ensure safety of your ASP.NET application from network eavesdropping attack is to use SSL certificates or say HTTPS on authentication pages that perform some secure or critical transactions.
2. Never store sensitive data in entities like hidden fields, form fields, query strings, view state etc.
Although the above mentioned tips can be followed to ensure web applications developed on any platform, these are important for ASP.NET web applications that are widely used for web interactive applications that handle sensitive data and hence, are more sensitive and vulnerable to these kind of security attacks. Every developer should ensure these techniques are taken care while ASP.NET application development process in order to ensure that much secure web applications are developed on the basis of this platform.