Tag Archives: ViewState

How to make your ViewState secure?

ASP.Net viewstate is client side state management and is stored in hidden field with id __VIEWSTATE as shown below:

<input type="hidden" name="__VIEWSTATE" id="__VIEWSTATE" value="/wEPDwULLTE2MTY2ODcyMjkPFgYLl/p5/cggNdr/yAizfkifBJ20CwQ=" />

Now the string in value is is not encrypted but serialized(encoded) use Base64 en ccoding, which can be easily decoded using many tools.

Now there are mainly two approach to secure your Viewstate:
1) EnableViewStateMAC / Hash code (Hashing)

<%@ Page Language="C#" AutoEventWireup="true" CodeBehind="DataSetToViewState.aspx.cs"
EnableViewState="true" EnableViewStateMac="true" Inherits="WebWorld.DataSetToViewState" %>

Make sure viewstate data is tamper proof using Hash Code, you can do this by adding EnableViewStateMAC=true. MAC stands for Message Authentication Code. It internally added a Hash code with ViewState content and store in hidden field. During postback, the checksum data is verified again by ASP.Net and if there is mismatch, the postback will be rejected.
2) Encryption

<%@ Page Language="C#" AutoEventWireup="true" CodeBehind="DataSetToViewState.aspx.cs"
EnableViewState="true" ViewStateEncryptionMode="Always" Inherits="WebWorld.DataSetToViewState" %>

The second option ViewStateEncryptionMode=”Always”. It will encrypt the viewstate, there are three option
Always: Encrypt the viewstte always.
Auto: Encrypt if the control require for encyrption. For this to happen, the control must call the Page.RegisterRequiresViewStateEncryption() method.
Never: Never encrypt the viewtate.

We can also enable these settings for EnableViewStateMAC and ViewStateEncryptionMode in web.config:

<pages enableViewStateMac="true" viewStateEncryptionMode="Always"></pages>

Note: Try to avoid ViewState encryption if it is not necessary as it can cause performance issues.


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Can we store DataSet into ViewState?

DataSet is a disconnected object. DataSet is a fully serializable object. It can be serialized in three different ways—to a standard .NET formatter, to an XML writer, and through the XML serializer.

//Create new dataset :
DataSet ds = new DataSet();
//Store the dataset directly into view state
//retrieve the dataset where it required
GridView1.DataSource = (DataSet)ViewState["dsn"];

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How to store object in ViewState?

We can store objects in viewstate like we store string or integer. But before storing we need to convert them into stream of bytes to keep tem in hidden field. So we need to use Serialization. And object which can’t be serialised, they will not be able to keep in viewstate.

public class Student
public int Roll;
public string Name;
public void AddStudent(int intRoll, string strName)
this.Roll = intRoll;
this.Name = strName;

Now we need to store them to viewstate.

Student _objStudent = new Student();
_objStudent.AddStudent(2, "Max");
ViewState["StudentObj"] = _objStudent;

//Retrieving student
Student _objStudent;
_objStudent = (Student)ViewState["StudentObj"];

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State Management


  • The ViewState property provides a dictionary object for retaining values between multiple requests for the same page only.
  • ViewState is lost if the user visits a different Web page, so it is useful only for temporarily storing values. They are saved in hidden fields.
  • The viewstate for all of the controls on the page will be stored in a single hidden control called __VIEWSTATE.

<input type=”hidden” name=”__VIEWSTATE” id=”__VIEWSTATE” value=”/wEPDwUKMTIxNDIyOTM0Mg9kFgICAw9kFgICAQ8PFgIeBFRleHQFEzQvNS8yMDA2IDE6Mzc6MTEgUE1kZGROWHn/rt75XF/pMGnqjqHlH66cdw==” />

We can encrypt viewstate to make it more difficult for attackers. To configure view state encryption:

At Application Level:



<pages viewStateEncryptionMode=”Always”/>



At Page level:

<%@ Page AutoEventWireup=”true” CodeFile=”Default.aspx.cs” Inherits=”_Default” ViewStateEncryptionMode=”Always”%>

View State is enabled by default, but we can disable it by setting the EnableViewState property for each web control to false.

Data Types You Can Store in View State



Boolean values

Array objects

ArrayList objects

Hash tables

Custom ViewState

ArrayList PageArrayList;

//Get value from ViewState

if (ViewState[“PageArrayList”] != null)


PageArrayList = (ArrayList)ViewState[“arrayListInViewState”];


//To saves into ViewState

ViewState.Add(“arrayListInViewState”, PageArrayList);


A query string is information sent to the server appended to the end of a page URL.

Benefits: –

• No server resources are required. The query string containing in the HTTP requests for a specific URL.

• All browsers support query strings.

Limitations: –

• Query string data is directly visible to user thus leading to security problems.

• Most browsers and client devices impose a 255-character limit on URL length.

If you have more than one query string then using “&” sign.



We can use the above queryString in C# as:

string loginType = Request.QueryString[“type”]

string userid = Request.QueryString[“uid”]

To access QueryString using javascript:



1. Persistent cookies are stored in text file at the client side. Non-Persistent cookies are stored in the RAM at client.
2. They are permanent cookies. They are destroyed when the browser is closed.
3. Session Id is not stored in them. Session Id is stored in non-persistent cookies.

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