Security :: Client Certificate Authentication With Splash Screen?

Mar 21, 2011

I'm running into an issue which has me going in circles with the references I've been able to find online. I have an application which is using client certificate authentication (with a removable token). It works well as long as a user doesn't leave their computer. If the token is pulled and any timer events fire on the page causing a postback the application loses its authentication and ends up at an error page.

I've seen some sites which use a mix of (presumably) forms authentication and windows authentication so that the network authentication only has to happen one time and then a token is built which the session relies on for future requests. I had hoped to use something similar to this so that when a new user enters the application they are redirected to a secure page which will request the client certificate (same principal as windows authentication) and then create the token before sending the user back to
their requested page. So far no luck with this.

If I try to setup a subfolder in my website with a different authenication scheme from the root ("windows" vs "forms") I'm given an error in Visual Studio about requiring a separate application in IIS for this to be valid. Working in a development environment this is not practical. Every other technique I've run across which tries to force one page (or folder) to use a windows credential is leaving me with an empty identity object.

Has anyone come up with a way of using a mix of authentication methods to reach the goal I have and still work inside of Visual Studio for development activities?

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