Dos and Don'ts of Client Authentication on the Web

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Executive Summary

Client authentication has been a continuous source of problems on the web. Although many well-studied techniques exist for authentication, websites continue to use extremely weak authentication schemes, especially in non-enterprise environments such as store fronts. These weaknesses often result from careless use of authenticators within Web cookies. Of the twenty-seven sites the authors investigated, they weakened the client authentication on two systems, gained unauthorized access on eight, and extracted the secret key used to mint authenticators from one.

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