asp.net qr code generator Lesson 1: Configuring Authentication in ASP.NET Applications in .NET

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Lesson 1: Configuring Authentication in ASP.NET Applications
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For best results, configure Windows authentication in both IIS and your applica-
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7. Click OK twice to return to the IIS Manager console. At this point, all Web requests to the virtual directory will require Windows authentication even if ASP.NET is configured for anonymous access only. Even though configuring IIS is sufficient to require users to present Windows credentials, it is good practice to edit the application s Web.config file to also require Windows authentication. To configure an ASP.NET application for Windows Authentication, edit the <authentication> section of the Web.config file. This section, like most sections related to ASP.NET application configuration, must be defined within the <system.web> section. The <system.web> section, in turn, must exist within the <configuration> section. This example shows the <authentication> section of the Web.config file configured to use Windows authentication, which is the default when you create a Web application project with Visual Studio .NET:
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<configuration> <system.web> <authentication mode="Windows" /> <authorization> <deny users= /> </authentication> </system.web> </configuration>
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The <authorization> section simply requires all users to be successfully authenticated. Authorization is discussed in Lesson 2 of this chapter. For now, understand that specifying <deny users= /> within <authorization> requires users to be authenticated, whereas specifying <allow users= * /> within <authorization> bypasses authentication entirely. Unless your application requires no specific configuration settings, you should distribute the Web.config file with your ASP.NET application. To enable Windows authentication for an ASP.NET application, edit the Web.config file with a text editor such as Microsoft Notepad or Visual Studio .NET. Scroll through the document to find the <authentication> section. If this section already exists, edit it so that the <authentication> section includes the mode section with a setting of Windows , as shown in the previous example. If the <authentication> section does not exist, the ASP.NET application will use the setting configured in the Machine.config file. To override the Machine.config setting, add the authentication section to the application s Web.config file.
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How to Configure Web Applications for Only Anonymous Access
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You can explicitly disable authentication for your application if you know that it will be used only by anonymous users. However, in most cases where your application does not require authentication, you should simply not provide an authentication configuration setting in the Web.config file, and allow the system administrator to configure authentication with IIS. This example shows a simple Web.config file that allows only anonymous access to an ASP.NET application:
<configuration>
<system.web>
<authentication mode="None" />
</system.web>
</configuration>
How to Create ASP.NET Forms to Authenticate Web Users
Windows authentication presents the end user with a browser-generated dialog box. Although giving the browser the responsibility of gathering the user s user name and password enables automatic authentication in intranet sites, it gives you as a developer very little flexibility. Web applications developed for external sites commonly use formbased authentication instead. Form-based authentication presents the user with an HTML-based Web page that prompts the user for credentials. Once authenticated, a cookie with information about the user is stored within the user s browser. The browser presents this cookie with all future requests to the Web site, allowing the ASP.NET application to validate requests. This cookie can optionally be encrypted by a private key located on the Web server, enabling the Web server to detect an attacker who attempts to present a cookie that the Web server did not generate.
Lesson 1: Configuring Authentication in ASP.NET Applications
See Also
For general information about creating custom authentication mechanisms, see Lesson 4 in 5, Implementing Role-Based Security.
The sections that follow teach how to configure an ASP.NET configuration file to require Forms authentication, how to add user credentials to a Web.config file, and how to create an ASP.NET Web form to authenticate users.
How to Configure a Web.config File for Forms Authentication
To configure form-based authentication (or Forms authentication), you have to create an authentication page that uses an HTML form to prompt the user for credentials. Therefore, forms-based authentication can be used on only those ASP.NET Web applications developed with this authentication method in mind. Although you can choose to rely on administrators to configure Windows or anonymous authentication, you must distribute a Web.config file for your application to use Forms authentication. Administrators deploying your application should not need to modify the Web.config file, but they can control some aspects of how Forms authentication behaves, such as to configure the timeout period after which a user will need to log on again. A simple Web.config file requiring Forms authentication is shown here:
<configuration> <system.web> <authentication mode= Forms"> <forms loginUrl= LoginForm.aspx /> </authentication> <authorization> <deny users= /> </authentication> </system.web> </configuration>
In the preceding example, all users who have not yet signed in will be redirected to the LoginForm.aspx page when they attempt to access any ASP.NET file. Typically, the form will prompt the user for a user name and password and handle authentication within the application itself. In whatever way the application handles the user s input, the user s credentials will be sent to the server as a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) request without any automatic encryption. HTTP is the protocol Web browsers and Web servers use to communicate. The best way to ensure privacy of user credentials submitted by using Forms authentication is to configure an SSL certificate within IIS, and require Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) for the login form. HTTPS is an encrypted form of the HTTP protocol, used by virtually every e-commerce Web site on the Internet, to protect private information about end users and to protect end users from submitting private information to a rogue server impersonating another server.
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