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Adjusting the browser timeout of a website

Hi All,

A company has provided us with a website for collecting data which is confidential.  The users  typically want the websites session to stay active for up to 1 hour of inactivity so they can leave and return as they please without losing their progress, but IT security want this to be 10 minutes... both are valid and understandable.

Most PC's have a screen lock of 10-15 minutes and will enable users to log back in and continue with their web session without losing data. We also have shared PC's that do not lock and I am looking for ideas of how we can adjust the times the session logs off locally or if this is possible at all?

Each computer have IE11 and Chrome installed

The risks are if the timeout is too long we have a data breach and if too short the system will not get used.
Matthew Emery
Matthew Emery
1 Solution
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
There are several ways to do this but an obvious way is with a cookie.

For an X minute timeout:

When an HTTP request is received from a browser, check to see if that browser has a timer cookie from your site.

If not, provide the requesting browser a cookie with either a lifetime of X minutes, or (current time + X minutes) encoded in the cookie content.

If it already has a cookie, see if it has expired.

If so, forcibly log out the user and send them back to the home page.

If not, update the cookie expiration time to be the current time plus X minutes.

Encrypt the cookie content using (at least) a large pseudoprime and the browser's IP address as part of the en/decryption key so that it cannot easily be spoofed.
Matthew EmeryAuthor Commented:
Thank you Dr. Klahn,

Although most of the development is in the hands of the supplier I like to have an understanding of how their system works to ensure access and data is secure in this case.  I will go away to research and test further.
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