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Authentication Cases You Could Handle

Authentication is a big job at the start of building a web application. These days, there are a lot of options on how to do it. The technical implementation and possibly 3rd party service you choose can depend on what use cases you want to support. This is the start of a series on authentication and authorization. Authentication is determining "who" is using the app, while authorization is determining "what" that person can access within the app.

Below are some cases that you could choose to handle or not worry about with designing your authentication.

  • User is able to enable staying logged in or remembering username the next time they visit
  • Logging in or out in one tab is reflected in other browser tabs
  • Enable users to log out of all devices
  • A user can request a password change or password reset
  • Changing password logs out all devices
  • Failed password attempts are handled to increase wait time and decrease remaining attempts on all devices
  • An excessive amount of failed attempts forces a password change and logs out all devices
  • Force a user to change a password for an expiration date on the password
  • Force a user to change a compromised password
  • Automatically log out a user for inactivity
  • Allow users to enable or require 2 factor Authentication
  • Detect IP to require additional authentication steps on a computer the user hasn't used previously
  • Oauth option with multiple providers available that result in same user
  • Allow Active Directory
  • Set rules on passwords that can include a variety of possibly good or terrible restrictions
  • Encrypt password wherever a browser user or server hacker could access them