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Security between app and server?

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I know that there are a ton of threads about this. But I'm still confused.

I've got an app that making request to my server(nodeJS) to get JSON-data. For the moment everyone can get everything at: http://myserver/allUpdates/ with no password. They just have to know the URL.

So I thought I would do it little more secure. I been looking at Basic Auth , that seems to work by sending username and password in the header for every request.

Is that enough?

Some guys say that it doesn't do much if youre not using SSL. But it must be better than nothing, right?

I've never used SSL and it seems there is a lot to learn.

So my question is, should I bother with auth when I'm not using SSL? Or are there other alternatives?

Problem courtesy of: Toydor

Solution Some guys say that it doesn't do much if youre not using SSL. But it must be better than nothing, right?

Unfortunately, those guys are right. Basic Auth is, when sent plaintext, probably worse than nothing as it gives you the vague feeling of some security without any actual security.

This is because it is trivial to intercept network requests through a proxy or similar. If you're not used SSL then every parameter you're sending is easily and readily visible, including your basic authentication credentials.

In answer to your question "should I bother with auth when I'm not using SSL?" - that depends. If you want to ensure your data is only accessed by authenticated users, then it's really SSL or nothing. But if all you're trying to do is reduce the burden on your servers (i.e, rate limiting), then maybe not. I'm going to assume you're looking to do the former, in which case I'd recommend taking the time to get to grips with SSL. There are lots of resources out there about using Node with SSL, depending upon what additional frameworks you might be using (Express, etc).

Solution courtesy of: lxt


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