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Security considerations

The access control example shows how a programmer can specify when elements of a page can be accessed or not. Behind the scenes however, the framework needs to enforce those rules in such a way that a user with malicious intent cannot circumvent the access control measures. The things an attacker could attempt have to do with the lower level implementation details we’d like to alleviate the programmer from thinking about...but it is worthwhile knowing something about what the framework does to safeguard its own security.

Firstly, some Widgets are deemed security sensitive – either because they have been marked as such by a programmer, or if the framework can deduce from the underlying access control rules that their contents should not be visible to just anyone. Any page that contains a security sensitive Widget is automatically served via an encrypted connection. Button clicks on such a page are also submitted via encrypted connection. This happens automatically, but it is useful for a programmer to know when this mechanism will kick in.

Doing communication via encrypted connection prevents someone from snooping on your network traffic to learn sensitive info, but it does not protect against a malicious user or browser. A malicious user with enough technical know-how can modify the HTML rendered in his browser to, say, make a greyed out button active again so that it can be clicked upon. This avenue of attack is blocked on the server, based on the fact that all the access control rules are available server-side. The server refuses Button clicks that are not allowed and will discard input for a Field unless allowed.

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