With more and more businesses going online, website development has become complex and complement. Nowadays, developers frequently look for fresh and innovative ideas to optimize the look and feel of web application. At the same time, they also need to ensure that the website is high performing, scalable and secure. As a rapid web application development framework, Microsoft Dot Net is widely used by programmers across the world to build websites, web application and web services.
The framework also comes with several features and tools that enable programmers to optimize the performance of the website without writing longer lines of code. Also, Microsoft regularly update Dot Net framework with advanced authentication configuration and security features to keep the web application safe and inaccessible. However, each enterprise must consider a number of additional factors to optimize the security of its website. Some of these points can even be incorporated in the initial ASP.NET development plan.
Enhancing the Security of Your Dot Net Web Application
1. Set Least Privileges for the Website: Often the security of a website depends on the specific privileges it has on the local as well as remote computers. So you must configure the ASP.NET process identity properly to avoid potential security threats. It is also important to minimize the practical privileges for users while running the application. At the same time, you need to ensure that the users have no option to run the application as an administrator.
Based on the resources needed by the website, you have to set permissions by defining Access Control Lists (ACLs). In addition to setting all your files as read-only, you must not allow users to access a specific a path. The configuration will ensure that the root of your sever remains inaccessible when the application is running.
2. Identify Each User: Many enterprises allow users to access the web application without providing any credentials. The anonymous access to your application resources will have a huge impact on its security. So you must restrict unauthentic access to the application both on the intranet and web. If the Dot Net application will run on an intranet, you must configure it using Windows integrated security. The configuration will allow users to access the resources using their Windows login credentials. However, you also have option to use the ASP.NET authentication strategies to compel the user to provide login credentials.
3. Eliminate the Impact of Malicious User Input: The Dot Net framework allows programmers to validate the user input using a set of advanced authentication methods. But you must not assume that the user input is safe and harmless. As the malicious users can damage your website by submitting potentially dangerous information, you have to consider several ways to eliminate the impact of malicious user input. The HTML tags can also be used to submit scripts. So you must filter user input to keep the ASP.Net web pages secure.
Also, you can encode the HTML before displaying the unfiltered user input convert the potentially malicious script into display strings. At the same time, you need to ensure that the unfiltered user input is not stored in a database. Along with filtering the HTML accepted from users manually, you can clearly explain what information will be accepted by the application. However, you should not create a filter to identify and remove the malicious input, as it is difficult to identify the user input that is malicious and harmful.
4. Keep Your Databases Secure: The security of a web application is directly related to the way your store and access data. So you must consider optimizing the security of your databases to keep the Dot Net web application secure. Each database comes with inherent security features. You must avail the feature to restrict the access to database resources according to the requirements of the application. Further, you enable integrated security feature of your website to ensure that the users can access the database only by using Windows-authenticated users.
Many security experts consider the integrated security feature to be more effective than login credential based access. If you want to allow anonymous access to the application, it is a good idea to create a single user that has limited permission to run SQL queries. Instead of processing user input by concatenating strings to create SQL statements, you can consider creating a parameterized query. The customized SQL query will receive user input, and use the information as parameter values.
Microsoft has also recommended several best practices to fix the potential security flaws. At the same time, an enterprise must avail the security features provided by the web server to deploy the website in a secure environment.
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4 Ways to Enhance Security of DotNET Web applications