Microsoft is famous for its gaming consoles and Windows-based games on desktops as well as now on mobiles. Games have captured a big market for software developers, and designers and contribution of ASP.NET to create web-based game applications is great. Similarly, ASP.NET has a big role in various web application developments and website development.
Therefore, any mistake made by the ASP.NET developer may cost dearly regarding the loss of sensitive data, money, and most importantly trust of game owners as well as end-users or players. Microsoft is known for its security and quality software as well as operating system, so it has taken various measures to mitigate such mistakes by the developers using its technologies and tools.
In due course, Microsoft developer forums are providing good tips and tricks time-to-time to help developers up front and some of that advice we have captured the most significant ones to cite here in the current post. For the sake of convenience, we have divided those into game developer and application developer mistakes sections. It again fragmented into subsections to ease the comprehension.
Recommended Read: Why Select Microsoft .NET for Software Development?
Possible Mistakes by Game Developers
1. When Game Requires Administrative Privileges
Microsoft respect user account control system for all operating systems including Windows and its latest versions. UAC (User Account Control) is one of the ways to provide security in the game application by restricting file, folder, registry, and application writing accesses.
Those full accesses have left for only administrators. Therefore, Microsoft has issued guideline to run separate modules when an application requires elevation of administration privileges as well as it must declare in the application manifest.
Thus, ASP.NET developers should not much embark on admin privileges during the running game application phase. It must be accomplished while game installation process and using the separate installer with enough notifications and precautions.
2. Missing Automated Protections
To mitigate the multiple exploits, recent tools are efficient, such as:
- Data Execution Prevention (/NX): What developers need is to execute switch in the build command to flag the code, which has right to or not.
- Buffer Security Check (/GS): It causes compiler to check stack-based buffer overrun.
- Image has Safe Exception Handlers (/SAFESEH): It instructs linker to generate an executable or DLL.
3. Using Forbidden APIs
There are many APIs including strcpy and strncpy, which are prone to ASP.NET programming errors and can cause to generate security holes in the game. The best way to avoid these is to replace with safe APIs.
Probable Mistakes by Application Developers
ASP.NET web applications are running on the various computing devices including desktops and mobiles using the internet. Therefore, ASP.NET web application developers have responsibilities to prevent user assets including data and devices from malicious elements throwing malicious data, user modifications, and tampering.
In due course, several mistakes by ASP.NET programmers may become the source of various vulnerabilities and may damage the entire ecosystem. We have classified those in three main classes, such as:
- Standard compliance mistakes
- Security mistakes
- Reliability and performance related mistakes
Let’s check all one-by-one with required tips or suggestions to avert them.
Let’s check following standard compliance to avert some ASP.NET programming mistakes.
It introduced to render the presentation code to customize different devices and their environment in Dot Net 2.0. However, today CSS and HTML accomplish adaptive rendering more securely.
Therefore, ASP.NET developers are advised to stop using control adapters for adaptive rendering and replace the process with CSS like media queries and standard-compliant HTML.
Style Properties on Controls
Web server controls have a number of properties to set inline style properties. Unfortunately, those are on control markup and prone to performance degradation or vulnerabilities.
Thus, it is recommended to use the best standard CSS style sheets to set formatting values instead of control markup.
Page and Control Callbacks
For a dynamic update of web page content without refreshing the entire page, earlier versions of ASP.NET offering Page & Control callback methods. Fortunately, today we have safer and secure alternatives such as AJAX, MVC action methods, UpdatePanel, and Web API or SignaIR.
Therefore, it is recommended to use those safer methods including AJAX, instead of Page & Control callback for dynamic updates.
Browser Capability Detection
In the earlier versions of ASP.NET, browser capability or features were detected using a static lookup using XML file. Today we have Modernizr like dynamic feature detecting framework, which is included by default in Web Application Templates of the latest version of ASP.NET.
So, avoid static browser capability detection and prefer dynamic framework for more robust and secure results in ASP.NET programming.
There are many security-related features and functions in ASP.NET development that may cause simply threatening mistakes. Following are most common and must avoid during programming.
ASP.NET checks each request and can stop it if it contains any threat. However, cross-site scripting attacks are prone to override the preventative measures taken by request validation methods. Therefore, you have to look at regular expressions in limited cases while .NET classes with a value matching to validate each user input and encode the output for solid security.
Validate each input and encode output for each user request.
Cookie-free Forms Authentication and Session
If you are using ASP.NET 4.5x or older version, you need to set EnableViewStateMac with true value because setting it to false can cause application vulnerable to cross-site scripting attacks. However, the latest version of ASP.NET has default EnableViewStateMac=true.
Therefore, it is recommended to never set the EnableViewStateMac value to false.
In many instances, we need to run ASP.NET web application/website on shared hosting but with virtual partitions. However, it does not render it safe, and you need to separate it using Full Trust level.
In such conditions, using partial trust levels like Medium Trust may prone to security threats and attacks.
Thus, it is recommended to avoid partial trust level like Medium Trust as a security boundary.
In ASP.NET programming element is holding several critical values, which are essential for security updates. Therefore, disabling it may prove fatal, and you must remember to set it to enable after deploying an update if you have disabled it.
In short, never disable element.
Many ASP.NET programmers are using UrlPathEncode method to encode and secure the URL and application. Unfortunately, it was introduced to resolve the very specific browser compatibility issues. Thus, it is not capable enough providing your application security at the desired level and you must use UrlEncode method instead.
Therefore, use only UrlEncode method to encode URL and secure application.
Reliability and Performance
For the sake of application reliability and enhanced performance, ASP.NET developers should avoid making following errors:
PreSendRequestHeaders and PreSendRequestContext
Both are events, and ASP.NET development team must not use it with managed IIS modules to implement IHttpModule, as it can generate asynchronous request issues.
Instead, you can use events with native IIS modules to make your application safe and secure.
Asynchronous Page Events with Web Forms
When ASP.NET developers use asynchronous page events with async or void methods, they are unable to terminate the tasks or determine that when it asynchronous event is finishing.
Therefore, using Page.RegisterAsyncTask method may help developers to define when the event is completing and saves from creating a loop.
Your web application running with ASP.NET may get out of sync if you use fire-and-forget work. It is because it can destroy your app domain and ongoing processes may not match with the current status of the application.
The best way is to move this type of work outside of app by using Web Jobs, Windows Service, or Web Worker services on a cloud like Azure.
You can run Fire-and-Forget work using WebBackgrounder like packages in the ASP.NET app or run outside of the application.
Request Entity Body
When ASP.NET programmers request entity body, they must keep differences in between Web Form and MVC application. Web Forms has the Page as the handler to execute event while in MVC, it is Controller, which is a handler and executing events.
Therefore, if your application read the request entity body earlier before it executing events, it may interfere with processing of the request.
Response.Redirect and Response.End
In the synchronous process, Response.Redirect(String) calls Response.End and immediately abort the process. However, in the asynchronous process, ASP.NET developers never experience immediate abortion, and code execution remains to continue for the request.
Therefore, in the MVC projects, developers should return a RedirectResult method instead of these.
EnableViewState and ViewStateMode
When ASP.NET programmers set EnableViewState=False, they disable view state for all controls within the page.
If you want to set view state to disable for selected controls, you must use ViewStateMode command.
In the latest version of ASP.NET, this command is replaced in project templates by apd.net Universal Providers and available as NuGet package.
So, avoid using SqlMembershipProvider command and use Universal Providers instead.
Long Running Requests (>110 seconds)
By default, ASP.NET is releasing the lock on session objects after 110 seconds because default timeout setting is 110 seconds. It is because long-running requests in application suppress the speed and performance or make application unresponsive if it includes blocking I/O operations.
If you want to use long-running requests in the ASP.NET application, you must use WebSockets or SignalR for connecting clients to the server.
We have explored code glitches when made by ASP.NET developers in ASP.NET applications or games. With such insights, developers may not commit the same mistakes and avoid for rapid development and quality results.
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