Top 10 Application Security Vulnerabilities in Web.config Files - Part Two

Sliding Expiration Used

All authenticated ASP.NET sessions have a timeout interval to protect the application security. The default timeout value is 30 minutes. So, 30 minutes after a user first logs into any of these Web-based applications, he will automatically be logged out and forced to re-authenticate his credentials.

Vulnerable configuration:

<configuration> 
	<system.web> 
		<authentication mode="Forms"> 
			<forms slidingExpiration="true"> 
<configuration> 
	<system.web> 
		<authentication mode="Forms"> 
			<forms slidingExpiration="false"> 

The slidingExpiration setting is an application security measure used to reduce risk to Web-based applications in case the authentication token is stolen. When set to false, the specified timeout interval becomes a fixed period of time from the initial login, rather than a period of inactivity. Attackers using a stolen authentication token have, at maximum, only the specified length of time to impersonate the user before the session times out. Because typical attackers of these Web-based applications have only the token, and don't really know the user's credentials, they can't log back in as the legitimate user, so the stolen authentication token is now useless and the application security threat is mitigated. When sliding expiration is enabled, as long as an attacker makes at least one request to the system every 15 minutes (or half of the timeout interval), the session will remain open indefinitely. This gives attackers more opportunities to steal information and cause other mischief in Web-based applications.

To avoid this application security issue altogether, you can disable sliding expiration by setting the slidingExpiration attribute of the forms element to false.

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Bryan Sullivan United States

Bryan Sullivan is a development manager at SPI Dynamics, a Web application security products company. Bryan manages the

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