Redirect from http to https yes or no?

By Ugo Lattanzi on Feb. 17th , 2015 in aspnet | comments

Share On Google Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

In the previous post, I wrote about HTTP security, particularly about "special" headers. This post is partially related to the previous one, it means I am writing about security in a common scenario for web applications.

How many times did you add a redirect from an HTTP request to an HTTPS? I think you did it more than one time and, looking on internet, there are several simple solutions.

If you are using OWIN it's enough to create a custom Middleware like this:

public class ForceHttpsMiddleware : OwinMiddleware
    private readonly int port;

    public ForceHttpsMiddleware(OwinMiddleware next, int port) : base(next)
        this.port = port;

    public override Task Invoke(IOwinContext context)
        if (context.Request.Uri.Scheme == "http")
            var httpsUrl = string.Format("https://{0}:{1}{2}", context.Request.Uri.Host,


        return Next.Invoke(context);

Nothing complex here, but the question is: "Is it correct to redirect a user from an unsecure connection to a secure connection?" Basically the answer should be yes, but you must be careful about a particular scenario.

An unsecure request (HTTP) that includes a cookie and/or SessionId is subject to hijacking attacks and we don't want that to happen on our website. The easiest way to prevent this is to release the cookies only in a secure mode, it means that the cookies are not available from an unsecure request, but only from an HTTPS preventig a MITM (Man in the middle) attack.

Using Aspnet and Owin you can do it easily

app.UseCookieAuthentication(new CookieAuthenticationOptions
    AuthenticationType = "Cookies",
    CookieSecure = CookieSecureOption.Always,
    CookieHttpOnly = true

Here the most important part is CookieSecure property. It defines that only HTTPS request can access to cookie. To complete the security scenario, you could add also HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) explained here.


OWIN - katana -