Session Tokens

Cryptographic Algorithms for Session Tokens

All session tokens (independent of the state mechanisms) should be user unique, non-predictable, and resistant to reverse engineering. A trusted source of randomness should be used to create the token (like a pseudo-random number generator, Yarrow, EGADS, etc.). Additionally, for more security, session tokens should be tied in some way to a specific HTTP client instance to prevent hijacking and replay attacks. Examples of mechanisms for enforcing this restriction may be the use of page tokens which are unique for any generated page and may be tied to session tokens on the server. In general, a session token algorithm should never be based on or use as variables any user personal information (user name, password, home address, etc.)

Appropriate Key Space

Even the most cryptographically strong algorithm still allows an active session token to be easily determined if the keyspace of the token is not sufficiently large. Attackers can essentially "grind" through most possibilities in the token's key space with automated brute force scripts. A token's key space should be sufficiently large enough to prevent these types of brute force attacks, keeping in mind that computation and bandwith capacity increases will make these numbers insufficieint over time.