Home > Articles > Programming > ASP .NET

ASP.NET 2.0 Security

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Security Server Controls

The new Membership infrastructure feature of ASP.NET simplifies the management and storage of user credentials. Using APIs, such asMembership.ValidateUser(), for Forms Authentication definitely makes things easy. However, some techniques are made even easier through the use of several new security-related server controls. For example, you can author your own login page with zero lines of code by using the new Login control or create users using the new CreateUserWizard control.

The CreateUserWizard Control

Earlier in the chapter we showed the code required to create a new user. In the alpha version of ASP.NET (then code-named "Whidbey") this was the only way to create new users. In the beta version the new CreateUserWizard control can be used instead for a no-code alternative.

The CreateUserWizard control, <asp:CreateUserWizard runat= "server" />, uses the new Wizard control and allows for multiple steps to be defined during the user creation process. Figure 6.6 shows the CreateUserWizard control in design time. As you can see, the options available are specific to Membership, but we could just as easily add another step to the control for collecting more user information, such as first name, last name, and so on. Listing 6.9 shows the source to the control_createuser.aspx page.

Example 6.9. Using the CreateUserWizard Control


  <body style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">

    <H1>Validate Credentials</H1>
    <hr />
    <form id="Form1" runat="server">

      <asp:CreateUserWizard runat="server" />




06fig06.jpgFigure 6.6 The CreateUserWizard control

The Login Control

Figure 6.7 shows a control_login.aspx page that authenticates the user's credentials against the default Membership provider and uses the new <asp:Login runat="server" /> control. As you can see in Figure 6.7, it looks nearly identical to the login page we built with the Membership APIs. Listing 6.10 shows the source to the control_login.aspx page.

Example 6.10. Using the Login Control


  <body style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">

    <H1>Validate Credentials</H1>
    <hr />
    <form id="Form1" runat="server">

      <asp:Login id="Login1" runat="server" />




06fig07.gifFigure 6.7 The login control

When the username and password are entered, this control will automatically attempt to log in the user by calling Membership .ValidateUser(). If successful, the control will then call the necessary FormsAuthentication.RedirectFromLoginPage API to issue a cookie and redirect the user to the page he or she was attempting to access. In other words, all the code you would have needed to write in ASP.NET 1.1 is now neatly encapsulated in a single server control!

The <asp:Login runat="server" /> control automatically hides itself if the user is logged in. This behavior is determined by the AutoHide property, set to True by default. If the login control is used with Forms Authentication and hosted on the default login page (specified in the configuration for Forms Authentication) the control will not auto-hide itself.

We can further customize the login control's UI. To preview one UI option—we can't cover all of them in depth in this book—right-click on the login control within Visual Studio 2005 and select Auto Format. This will bring up the dialog box shown in Figure 6.8.

06fig08.gifFigure 6.8 The Auto Format dialog

Once you've chosen an auto-format template, such as Classic, you can see the changes in the login control (see Listing 6.11).

Example 6.11. A Formatted Login Control

<asp:Login id="Login1"
  <TitleTextStyle Font-Bold="True"

If you desire more control over the display of the control, right-click on the control, or from the Common Tasks dialog, select Convert to Template. You'll see no changes in the rendered UI of the control. However, you will see a notable difference in the declarative markup generated for the control. For brevity we are not including the updated markup. [9] What you will see is a series of templates that allow you to take 100% control over the UI rendering of the control. Note that it is important that the IDs of the controls within these templates remain because the control expects to find these IDs.

While the login control simplifies authoring the login page, several other controls help us display content to users based on their login status. Let's take a look at the login status control first.

The Login Status Control

The login status control, <asp:LoginStatus runat="server" />, is used to display whether the user is logged in or not. When the user is not logged in, the status displays a Login link (see Figure 6.9). When the user is logged in, the status displays a Logout link (see Figure 6.10).

06fig09.gifFigure 6.9 The login status control when the user is not logged in

06fig10.gifFigure 6.10 The login status control when the user is logged in

Listing 6.12 shows the code required.

Example 6.12. The Login Status Control


  <body style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">

  <h1>Login Status</h1>

  <hr />

  <form runat="server">
    <asp:LoginStatus id="LoginStatus1" runat="server" />



By default the text displayed for the link is "Login" when the user is not logged in and "Logout" when the user is logged in. [10] However, this text can easily be changed; you simply need to change the LoginText or LogoutText properties of the control:

<asp:LoginStatus id="Loginstatus1" runat="server"
                 LoginText="Please log in"
                 LogoutText="Please log out" />

Other properties can also be set to control the behavior of this control. For example, you can use the LoginImageUrl and the LogoutImageUrl to use images rather than text for displaying the login status. Finally, there are two properties for controlling the behavior upon logout:

  • LogoutAction: This property specifies the behavior when the logout button is clicked. Options include Refresh, Redirect, and RedirectToLoginPage.

  • LogoutPageUrl: When the LogoutAction is set to Redirect, the LogoutPageUrl is the location to which the browser is redirected.

Whereas <asp:LoginStatus runat="server" /> provides an easy way for the user to log in and log out, another server control, <asp:LoginView runat="server" />, allows us to easily determine what content is shown to the user based on his or her login status.

The Login View Control

The <asp:LoginView runat="server" /> server control is used to display different output depending on the login status of the user. Furthermore, the control can also be used to display different content based on the role(s) the user belongs to. Figure 6.11 shows an example of what the control might display for an anonymous user. The code that generates this page appears in Listing 6.13.

Example 6.13. Using the Login View Control


  <body style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">

  <h1>Login View and Login Name Controls</h1>

  <hr />

  <form runat="server">

    <asp:LoginView id="Loginview1" runat="server">
        Unknown user please <asp:LoginStatus runat="server"
                                        logintext="login" />

        <asp:rolegroup roles="Admin">
            This is admin only content!

        You are logged in as: <asp:LoginName id="LoginName1"
                                         runat="server" />



06fig11.gifFigure 6.11 The login view for an anonymous user

In this code you can see that two templates are defined for the <asp:LoginView runat="server" /> control:

  • <anonymoustemplate /> is used to control the displayed content when the user is not logged in.

  • <loggedintemplate /> is used to control the displayed content when the user is logged in.

In addition to the templates, there is also a special <rolegroups /> section that allows us to create different templates that are displayed if the user is in a corresponding role or roles. If the user is logged in but no roles apply, the <loggedintemplate /> is used. [11]

You'll notice that we also made use of another control in Listing 6.13: <asp:LoginName runat="server" />. This control simply displays the name of the logged-in user. If the user is not logged in, the control does not render any output.

The last security-related server control is <asp:PasswordRecovery runat="server" />, which is used to help users obtain their forgotten passwords.

The Password Recovery Control

The <asp:PasswordRecovery runat="server" /> control works in conjunction with the Membership system to allow users to easily recover their passwords. [12]

The <asp:PasswordRecovery runat="server" /> control relies on the <smtpMail /> configuration options to be correctly set to a valid SMTP server—the control will mail the password to the user's e-mail address. By default, the <smtpMail /> section will have the SMTP mail server set to localhost and the port set to 25 (the default SMTP port).

Similar to <asp:Login runat="server" />, this control supports auto-format and full template editing. Assuming we select an auto-format template, such as Classic, and use the default Membership settings, we should see the page shown in Figure 6.12.

06fig12.gifFigure 6.12 Password recovery

Listing 6.14 presents the code that generates this page (auto-formatting removed).

Example 6.14. Using the Password Recovery Control

  <body style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">

      Password Recovery
    <hr />
    <form id="Form1" runat="server">
      <asp:PasswordRecovery runat="server">
        <maildefinition from="admin@mywebsite.com" />



If we attempt to use the control with the default Membership settings—which do not allow password recovery—we will receive the following error:

  • "Your attempt to retrieve your password was not successful. Please try again."

To allow us to recover the password, we need to change some of the default membership settings. Below are the necessary changes to the <membership /> configuration settings to allow for password recovery:

  • enablePasswordRetrieval="True"

  • passwordFormat="Clear"

The enablePasswordRetrieval attribute must be set to True to allow for password retrieval, and the passwordFormat attribute must be set to either Clear or Encrypted. [13] Another alternative is that when enable PasswordReset is set to True, the new password can be e-mailed to the user.

In addition to configuring the <membership /> configuration settings, we must specify the <maildefinition /> element of the <asp:PasswordRecovery runat="server" /> control. The <maildefinition /> names the address from whom e-mails are sent.

Finally, we can also use the <asp:PasswordRecovery runat="server" /> control to retrieve the user's password using the question/answer support of Membership (see Figure 6.13). The control still requires that we enter the username first, but before simply mailing the password it will first also request the answer to the user's question.

06fig13.gifFigure 6.13 Password recovery with question and answer

This behavior is forced by setting the <membership /> configuration setting requiresQuestionAndAnswer to true (the default is false). [14] Note that this configuration change is in addition to changing the enablePasswordRetrieval to true and setting the passwordFormat to a value other than Hashed.

Managing and storing user credentials are only one part of securely controlling access to resources within your site. In addition to validating who the user is, you need to determine whether the user is allowed to access the requested resource. The process of validating credentials is known as authentication; authorization is the process of determining whether the authenticated user is allowed to access a particular resource.

ASP.NET 1.x already provides authorization facilities, but just as we have shown with Membership, there is more simplification to be done.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020