Monday, 23 April 2012

How the ASP.NET authentication process works?

ASP.NET does not run by itself, it runs inside the process of IIS. Therefore, there are two authentication layers, which exist in ASP.NET system. First authentication happens at the IIS level and then at the ASP.NET level depending on the WEB.CONFIG file.

Below is how the whole process of authentication in ASP.NET works?

1. IIS first checks to make sure the incoming request comes from an IP address that is allowed access to the domain. If not it denies the request.

2. Next IIS performs its own user authentication if it is configured to do so. By default IIS allows anonymous access, so requests are automatically authenticated, but you can change this default on a per – application basis with in IIS.

3. If the request is passed to ASP.NET with an authenticated user, ASP.NET checks to see whether impersonation is enabled. If impersonation is enabled, ASP.NET acts as though it were the authenticated user. If not ASP.NET acts with its own configured account.

*Impersonation:  Impersonation is when ASP.NET executes code in the context of an authenticated and authorized client. By default, ASP.NET does not use impersonation and instead executes all code using the same user account as the ASP.NET process, which is typically the ASPNET account.

4. Finally, the identity from step 3 is used to request resources from the operating system. If ASP.NET authentication can obtain all the necessary resources, it grants the users request otherwise it is denied. Resources can include much more than just the ASP.NET page itself you can also use .NET’s code access security features to extend this authorization step to disk files, Registry keys and other resources.

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