Is ASP.NET secure?

ASP .Net as an intuitive, open-source server side web framework has been enabling developers to create dynamic and interactive performance oriented web pages. The application framework, built on Common Language Runtime (CLR), lets users design web products that are rich, performance-oriented, and simple. However, security vulnerabilities in web development frameworks often complicate the whole procedure of designing a web application. While ASP .Net has given instances of efficient handling of cross-site scripting and SQL injection in recent times and make the industry to believe in its authenticity. Still we need to examine it for our sceptical psychology and it should be!

To understand better whether ASP .Net is really safe or not, here’s a detailed insight:

Is ASP.NET secure1. The flagship web framework from Microsoft that lets ASP .Net developers build quality web applications provides an extremely safe approach. There are three distinctive ways for building standard web based apps – the Web Forms integrate an event-model and controls while ASP .Net Web Pages lend support to a singular page mode. This one helps in combining the HTML markup with code behind the screen. ASP .Net MVC understands the significance of division of concerns and allows users to experience simple test-driven development. The three parts i.e. Model, View and Controller helps in isolating the core logic section of application from the front end part i.e. View. In this process, the application becomes more stable and reliable and hence scalable one for improved performance. All these three techniques contribute, in a way, in building safe websites or web applications.

2. It enables developers to white list the request URL. Usually in ASP.Net web application development, there is an incredible potential of view state information to be leaked like UserId, Password and user details. These credentials are highly vulnerable because of their importance in any application. Well, it can be handled by the session() methods of ASP .Net; still there is chance of user data leak during the transportation through URL. Traditionally, those data were sent over the URL in a bare format which is absolutely inefficient and highly precarious for any web application. So, critical data is often at a high risk of security vulnerability and hence the framework allows ASP .Net Developers to white list the entire URL (which basically signifies disinfecting the URL). One can use a set of white listed characters from their data and remove the harmful ones for a secure connection over the server.

3. Visual Studio has significantly been enhanced by ASP .Net. As a result, numerous complexities are taken care of by ASP .Net and Two-Factor Authentication has made building an ASP .Net Web Forms application even safer. The added security factor actually allows developers to generate a unique Personal Identification Number while they log-in – which can further be used as an additional security, authentication measure when log into their application. The added advantage of multi tier security features can’t be ignored as well. With two or three stage security measures, the application becomes highly secure for the user to communicate with the server with their data.

4. While its two-factor security layer has somewhat been questioned for how it sends user’s credentials to the server in obvious text; ASP .Net provides another unique approach ‘Silverlight.’ Users can simply embed this on any sensitive page and have encryption of any submitted data. One can further benefit from ASP .Net’s advanced authentication methods – Password Hashing & the permission to guess credentials in order to avoid brute force attacks. The former advises developers to hash all their passwords and should they manage an authentication store; the latter lets developers have a casual holdup of a few seconds upon failed user login. This is considered as the most powerful technique of the industry to deal with security loopholes for any web applications. In fact, this technology is usually coupled with 32 bit or even 64 bit encryption technology (Encrypt- Decrypt- Encrypt) to make the process much more secure than the hacker’s expectations.

5. Data validation is another good aspect that helps ASP .Net look secure as a framework. Although it’d be wise to not rely completely on requesting validation as a way to protect an application from malicious threats, developers should validate user input and encode the output. This feature, in ASP .Net, helps users examine every single request and halt the request if any possible threat is detected. It is performed in the back end side to avoid unethical access from the users who tries to enter into your database with corrupt data by disabling the front end JavaScript on the browser.

6. Technically, ASP .Net is quite a safe open-source framework – make sure to always create new encryption keys and admin passwords (particularly, when migrating an application to a production phase). Users should also stay away from saving passwords straightaway or in any encrypted form. It’s advised to always store one-way hashed passwords and to never keep sensitive information like passwords in cookies.

7. At the same time, make sure to use parameters to avoid SQL Injection in the SQL queries (here, users are recommended to install URLScan on their IIS servers). This can be well avoided by highly efficient database query being used in the back end programming instead of skeptical things. The query must be of enterprise standard so as to avoid any such incidents. In fact, if it is not taken cared properly by the web developer, the hacker may take over your admin in no time and control the whole web application from anywhere. Fortunately ASP .Net provides adequate support to avoid these types of attacks from hackers by avoiding SQLInjection from the application. Also, Microsoft’s Developer Highway Code emerges to be a significant contribution towards making ASP .Net a secure web app development framework.

In a nutshell, ASP .Net is a very useful web application framework that allows web developers to develop dynamic web pages. However, by following certain security measures as mentioned above, ASP .Net developers may well prevent security vulnerabilities to their websites and web applications. So, it is not the task of the framework; in fact the developer needs to be highly sensitive while dealing with user’s data. Undoubtedly ASP .Net is efficient enough in crafting enterprise standard secure web solutions; but we must understand that “No framework is perfect; it only provides support and facilities to the developer in building highly secure environment for their application; at the end of day, the developer needs to execute those documentation or tricks to avoid such vulnerabilities”.

Mindfire Solutions, 16 year old offshore software development company from India is a Microsoft Gold partner and has been executing quality ASP.Net development projects for its customers for more than a decade now. If you would like to avail the services of Mindfire, send in your requirements to sales at Mindfire Solutions dot com and we would revert to you in 72 hours.