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Chapter 28. Security and User Authentication > Securing ASP.NET Applications

Securing ASP.NET Applications

As with the ASP server model, you can take advantage of user authentication using ASP.NET. Unlike ASP, the ASP.NET server model offers more robust options when it comes to storing user information. Traditionally with ASP, usernames and passwords are stored in a data store such as an XML file or database. Performing data retrieval from an XML file was tedious at best, providing few other options than to use a database for user validation storage. Although these options are still available using the ASP.NET server model, retrieving and reading XML data is far simpler than traditional methods. Three user authentication methods are available using the ASP.NET server model:

  • Windows Authentication Windows authentication uses IIS in conjunction with operating-system-level permissions to allow or deny users access to your Web application.

  • Forms Authentication Offering the most flexibility, forms authentication allows for the most control and customization for the developer. Using forms authentication, you now have the capability to rely on traditional methods of validation (XML file, database, hard-coded) as well as new methods (Web.Config, cookies) or a combination of both.

  • Passport Authentication By far the newest addition to user validation methods, passport authentication is the centralized authentication service provided through the .NET initiative by Microsoft. Because users rely on their MSN or Hotmail emails as their passport, developers need never worry about storing credential information on their own servers. When users log in to a site that has passport authentication enabled, they are redirected to the passport Web site where they enter their passport and password information. After users' information is validated, they are automatically redirected back to the original site.


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