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Forms Authentication - Not timing out, not redirecting.

P: n/a
Hi,
I've come across this scenario in ASP.NET 1.1 with forms authentication
where the forms auth doesn't seem to timeout correctly, nor redirect to the
login page.

I have done some testing, and I believe I've found a solution, but I
would like some insight from Microsoft on whether the code I've implemented
is correct, and why it is even working.

Here is my scenario:

I initially implemented forms auth using the standard forms auth
declaration in web.config and it worked fine, and redirected alright. Then,
as I began going through my code during my security reviews I implemented
the encrypted auth ticket as described in the "Building Secure ASP.NET
Applications" on page 378 (document page number, not the PDF page number).
In this scenario, it describes how to build the login event from the login
page, as well as implementing the "Application_AuthenticateRequest" event in
the global.asax code.

Once I implemented that code, my forms auth stopped working. The ticket
was still valid after my timeout, and I was never redirected to the
specified login page. I was implementing SessionState with the same timeout
as the formsauth, and my session was timing out properly! I was also using
a non-persistent formsauth cookie. After going back over the documentation
several many times, and making sure I was implementing it as described, I
believe I found a problem with the code in the document. However, I don't
want to go as far as saying the code is wrong, but I've come up with a fix
that makes it work - but now I don't understand exactly why it fixes it.

Basically in Application_AuthenticateRequest, once the ticket is
decrypted from the cookie the code checks whether the ticket is null to
determine if there was one available. If it is, return. After that, it
extracts the roles, and sets up the HttpContext user identity information.
All fine and dandy. However, nobody checks whether the authTicket has
actually expired yet! So, immediately after the null=authTicket check, I
inserted a check whether the authTicket had expired, and it now works.

I understand sort-of why this works, but then I decided to go in with
Reflector and look at the FormsAuthenticationModule class and look at it's
"OnAuthenticate" event. In there, the framework checks whether it is
expired, et. al., exactly like I made my code do in Global.asax.

After doing some further research on the ASP.NET HTTP Pipeline, I see
that the application gets the pipeline call first, and passes it on to it's
modules. Then I read that global.asax's Authenticate_Request is called by
the security module that is in place - which in this case is the
FormsAuthenticationModule. Now if the FormsAuthenticationModule is doing
it's check, and then passing it onto my global.asax Authenticate_Request
code - wouldn't FormsAuthModule already have figured out the ticket was
expired and done something about it?

Or is it the fact that since I have implemented
Application_AuthenticateRequest - that my code then has some sort of
precedence?

My guess is this: Since the COOKIE is actually a non-persistent cookie,
it is valid while the browser is open. Thus, this entire time the cookie is
actually there, just not expired. Then in the
Application_AuthenticateRequest code, the authTicket is always extracted
(because we have a browser cookie full of encrypted data). But at the
FormsAuthentication level, which we're really concerned about, the
authTicket has expired - which is a separate expiration from the actual
cookie expiration. But nobody is checking for that. Thus, I get the
authTicket out of the cookie every time, and then fill the Identity object
on the current HttpContext every time. Even if it has really expired. So
when I place the additional check for expiration in there, it works as it is
supposed to.

I am glad the code works - but I'm primarily confused as to the why.
Was there a reason that the "Building Secure ASP.NET Applications" article
presented the code as it did? Or did I really find a bug in that code? I
guess I'm fairly concerned if the code is incomplete - the document has been
out for some time? Am I the first to run across this?

Additional question: Do I also need to conditionally update my
slidingTimeout in this code as well to match the FormsAuthenticationModule
"OnAuthenticate" code? Or will something else do this for me? From my
testing, it appears to be renewed for me, but I wanted to make sure this
wasn't some sort of fluke as well.

Here is my Application_AuthenticateRequest code:

protected void Application_AuthenticateRequest(Object sender, EventArgs e)
{

string cookieName = FormsAuthentication.FormsCookieName;

HttpCookie authCookie = Context.Request.Cookies[ cookieName ];

if( null == authCookie ) {

return;

}

FormsAuthenticationTicket authTicket = null;

try {

authTicket = FormsAuthentication.Decrypt( authCookie.Value );

}

catch( Exception ex ) {

AppHelper.LogEvent( ex.ToString(), 3 );

return;

}

if( (null == authTicket) || authTicket.Expired ) {

return;

}

string[] roles = authTicket.UserData.Split( new char[]{'|'} );

FormsIdentity id = new FormsIdentity( authTicket );

GenericPrincipal principal = new GenericPrincipal( id, roles );

Context.User = principal;

}
Nov 18 '05 #1
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1 Reply


P: n/a
Am I supposed to be hearing back from a Microsoft person on this within 2
business days using the MSDN Universal newsgroup MSDN stuff?

"AVance" <Aa***@noemail.nospam> wrote in message
news:%2****************@TK2MSFTNGP11.phx.gbl...
Hi,
I've come across this scenario in ASP.NET 1.1 with forms authentication where the forms auth doesn't seem to timeout correctly, nor redirect to the login page.

I have done some testing, and I believe I've found a solution, but I
would like some insight from Microsoft on whether the code I've implemented is correct, and why it is even working.

Here is my scenario:

I initially implemented forms auth using the standard forms auth
declaration in web.config and it worked fine, and redirected alright. Then, as I began going through my code during my security reviews I implemented
the encrypted auth ticket as described in the "Building Secure ASP.NET
Applications" on page 378 (document page number, not the PDF page number).
In this scenario, it describes how to build the login event from the login
page, as well as implementing the "Application_AuthenticateRequest" event in the global.asax code.

Once I implemented that code, my forms auth stopped working. The ticket was still valid after my timeout, and I was never redirected to the
specified login page. I was implementing SessionState with the same timeout as the formsauth, and my session was timing out properly! I was also using a non-persistent formsauth cookie. After going back over the documentation several many times, and making sure I was implementing it as described, I
believe I found a problem with the code in the document. However, I don't
want to go as far as saying the code is wrong, but I've come up with a fix
that makes it work - but now I don't understand exactly why it fixes it.

Basically in Application_AuthenticateRequest, once the ticket is
decrypted from the cookie the code checks whether the ticket is null to
determine if there was one available. If it is, return. After that, it
extracts the roles, and sets up the HttpContext user identity information.
All fine and dandy. However, nobody checks whether the authTicket has
actually expired yet! So, immediately after the null=authTicket check, I
inserted a check whether the authTicket had expired, and it now works.

I understand sort-of why this works, but then I decided to go in with
Reflector and look at the FormsAuthenticationModule class and look at it's
"OnAuthenticate" event. In there, the framework checks whether it is
expired, et. al., exactly like I made my code do in Global.asax.

After doing some further research on the ASP.NET HTTP Pipeline, I see
that the application gets the pipeline call first, and passes it on to it's modules. Then I read that global.asax's Authenticate_Request is called by
the security module that is in place - which in this case is the
FormsAuthenticationModule. Now if the FormsAuthenticationModule is doing
it's check, and then passing it onto my global.asax Authenticate_Request
code - wouldn't FormsAuthModule already have figured out the ticket was
expired and done something about it?

Or is it the fact that since I have implemented
Application_AuthenticateRequest - that my code then has some sort of
precedence?

My guess is this: Since the COOKIE is actually a non-persistent cookie, it is valid while the browser is open. Thus, this entire time the cookie is actually there, just not expired. Then in the
Application_AuthenticateRequest code, the authTicket is always extracted
(because we have a browser cookie full of encrypted data). But at the
FormsAuthentication level, which we're really concerned about, the
authTicket has expired - which is a separate expiration from the actual
cookie expiration. But nobody is checking for that. Thus, I get the
authTicket out of the cookie every time, and then fill the Identity object
on the current HttpContext every time. Even if it has really expired. So
when I place the additional check for expiration in there, it works as it is supposed to.

I am glad the code works - but I'm primarily confused as to the why.
Was there a reason that the "Building Secure ASP.NET Applications" article
presented the code as it did? Or did I really find a bug in that code? I
guess I'm fairly concerned if the code is incomplete - the document has been out for some time? Am I the first to run across this?

Additional question: Do I also need to conditionally update my
slidingTimeout in this code as well to match the FormsAuthenticationModule
"OnAuthenticate" code? Or will something else do this for me? From my
testing, it appears to be renewed for me, but I wanted to make sure this
wasn't some sort of fluke as well.

Here is my Application_AuthenticateRequest code:

protected void Application_AuthenticateRequest(Object sender, EventArgs e)
{

string cookieName = FormsAuthentication.FormsCookieName;

HttpCookie authCookie = Context.Request.Cookies[ cookieName ];

if( null == authCookie ) {

return;

}

FormsAuthenticationTicket authTicket = null;

try {

authTicket = FormsAuthentication.Decrypt( authCookie.Value );

}

catch( Exception ex ) {

AppHelper.LogEvent( ex.ToString(), 3 );

return;

}

if( (null == authTicket) || authTicket.Expired ) {

return;

}

string[] roles = authTicket.UserData.Split( new char[]{'|'} );

FormsIdentity id = new FormsIdentity( authTicket );

GenericPrincipal principal = new GenericPrincipal( id, roles );

Context.User = principal;

}

Nov 18 '05 #2

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