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Improving Web Application Security: Threats and Countermeasures by Microsoft Corporation

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Authentication

Authentication is the process of determining caller identity. There are three aspects to consider:

  • Identify where authentication is required in your application. It is generally required whenever a trust boundary is crossed. Trust boundaries usually include assemblies, processes, and hosts.

  • Validate who the caller is. Users typically authenticate themselves with user names and passwords.

  • Identify the user on subsequent requests. This requires some form of authentication token.

Many Web applications use a password mechanism to authenticate users, where the user supplies a user name and password in an HTML form. The issues and questions to consider here include:

  • Are user names and passwords sent in plaintext over an insecure channel?

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