Auditing web site authentication

Friday, 25 April 2003, 12:22 AM EST

Consider this scenario: you build a Web site that requires some kind of user log-in. You allow users to create usernames and passwords and require a valid username and password to get in to your site. But is your Web site authentication scheme secure? Every time I register at a site, I marvel at the consistently laughable - sometimes pathetic - security among even the world's largest Web sites. As the Web becomes more a part of our personal lives, the threat of fraud and identity theft grows accordingly.

Inadequate user security is a problem that Web developers must address. Perhaps it is lack of standards. Perhaps it is a lack of auditing. This article addresses both of those issues by establishing a standard audit procedure by which to measure your own security. Test this list of questions against your own Web site's authentication scheme and see how it stands.

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