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Insecure authentication method - Basic


Secure authentication method


  • Usage of Swift 5.0 for iOS app development
  • Usage of Foundation for building responsive and accessible web interfaces


Non compliant code

import Foundation

let username = "admin"
let password = "password123"

let loginString = String(format: "%@:%@", username, password)
let loginData = String.Encoding.utf8)!
let base64LoginString = loginData.base64EncodedString()

// create the request
let url = URL(string: "")!
var request = URLRequest(url: url)
request.httpMethod = "POST"
request.setValue("Basic \\(base64LoginString)", forHTTPHeaderField: "Authorization")

let task = URLSession.shared.dataTask(with: request) { (data, response, error) in
if let error = error {
print("Error: \\(error)")
} else if let data = data {
let str = String(data: data, encoding: .utf8)
print("Received data:\\n\\(str ?? "")")


The above Swift code demonstrates a common, yet insecure method of authentication known as Basic Authentication.

The username and password are hard-coded as admin and password123 respectively. These credentials are combined into a single string loginString and then encoded into base64 format base64LoginString.

The base64 encoded string is then set as the value for the "Authorization" HTTP header field in the request object. This request is sent over an insecure HTTP connection to the server for authentication.

The vulnerability lies in the transmission of the credentials over an insecure HTTP connection. If an attacker is able to intercept the network traffic, they can easily decode the base64 string and gain access to the username and password. This can lead to unauthorized access and potential data breaches.

To fix this vulnerability, consider using a secure connection (HTTPS) and a more secure method of authentication such as OAuth or JWT. Also, avoid hard-coding credentials in your code.


  • Step 1: Replace Basic authentication with a more secure authentication method, such as OAuth or JWT.
  • Step 2: Ensure that the communication channel is secure by using HTTPS instead of HTTP.
  • Step 3: Implement proper user authentication and authorization mechanisms on the server-side.
  • Step 4: Use strong and unique passwords for user accounts.
  • Step 5: Implement secure password storage techniques, such as hashing and salting.
  • Step 6: Regularly update and patch the server to fix any security vulnerabilities.
  • Step 7: Perform security testing and code reviews to identify and fix any other potential vulnerabilities.

Compliant code

import Foundation
import Alamofire
import SwiftyJSON

let username = "admin"
let password = "password123"

let parameters: [String: String] = [
"username": username,
"password": password

let url = ""

Alamofire.request(url, method: .post, parameters: parameters, encoding: JSONEncoding.default)
.responseJSON { response in
switch response.result {
case .success(let value):
let json = JSON(value)
print("JSON: \\(json)")
case .failure(let error):

The updated code uses Alamofire and SwiftyJSON libraries to handle HTTP requests and JSON responses respectively.

The first change is the use of HTTPS instead of HTTP in the URL. This ensures that the communication between the client and the server is encrypted and secure.

The second change is the replacement of Basic authentication with a more secure method. In this case, we're sending the username and password as parameters in a POST request. This is just a placeholder for a more secure authentication method such as OAuth or JWT.

The Alamofire library makes a POST request to the server with the username and password as parameters. The server should then validate these credentials and return a response.

The response is handled in a closure where it's first checked if the request was successful or not. If it was successful, the server's response is printed out. If it wasn't, the error is printed out.

Please note that this is a basic example and real-world applications should have more complex and secure authentication methods. The server should also implement proper user authentication and authorization mechanisms. Passwords should be strong, unique, and stored securely using techniques such as hashing and salting. Regular updates, patches, security testing, and code reviews are also necessary to maintain the security of the application.