CryptographicException: Padding is invalid and cannot be removed and Validation of viewstate MAC failed

Monitoring my global exception logs this error seems to be impossible to remove no matter what I do, I thought I finally got rid of it but it’s back again. You can see a strack trace of the error on a similar post here.

Notes about the environment:

IIS 6.0, .NET 3.5 SP1 single server ASP.NET application

Steps already taken:

    <machineKey validationKey="big encryption key"
      decryptionKey="big decryption key"
      validation="SHA1" decryption="AES" />

In my Page Base for all of my pages

  protected override void OnInit(EventArgs e)
    const string viewStateKey = "big key value";

    Page.ViewStateUserKey = viewStateKey;

Also in the source of the page I can see that all of the ASP.NET generated hidden fields are correctly at the top of the page.


Thank you for visiting the Q&A section on Magenaut. Please note that all the answers may not help you solve the issue immediately. So please treat them as advisements. If you found the post helpful (or not), leave a comment & I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Method 1

First of all lets start from the fact, that this error of view state happens on PostBack.

Also I must say that I have done all the things that every one suggest to do to avoid this problem. And I have single machine, but 2 pools that run the same Pages.

So someone do an action, ether a man, ether some other search machine by ‘clicking’ on your pages, or some hacker try to check your system for problems…

I have similar problems (rare but existing ones), and I finally found that people try to hack-test my pages. (from the same IP I have and dos attacks)

I modify the function LoadPageStateFromPersistenceMedium() that translate the viewstate, and see by logging what exactly was the input, and from what IPs… then I started monitor these results and see that the view state was changed by hand – or was totally empty.

On error I just redirect him to the same page…

Here is what I did…

public abstract class BasePage : System.Web.UI.Page
    protected override object LoadPageStateFromPersistenceMedium()
            .. return the base, or make here your decompress, or what ever...
            return base.LoadPageStateFromPersistenceMedium();            
        catch (Exception x)
            string vsString = Request.Form[__VIEWSTATE];
            string cThePage = Request.RawUrl;

            ...log the x.ToString() error...
            ...log the vsString...
            ...log the ip coming from...
            ...log the cThePage...

        // check by your self for local errors
            Debug.Fail("Fail to load view state ! Reason:" + x.ToString());

        // if reach here, then have fail, so I reload the page - maybe here you
        // can place somthing like ?rnd=RandomNumber&ErrorId=1 and show a message
        Responce.Redirect(Request.RawUrl, true);        

        // the return is not used after the redirect
        return string.Empty;

Second Reason

Now there is one more reason why this can happen, and the reason is because some one click on your page before the __EVENTVALIDATION is loaded.

This eventValidation is placed on the last button-even that found, and if you have some of them on many place on the page, or near the button, then this go to the end of the page.

So even if you see the viewstate on the top of the page, where is the Validation ??? maybe this never loaded – page corrupt ?, too fast user click on page ?

<input type="hidden" name="__EVENTVALIDATION" id="__EVENTVALIDATION" ... >

To avoid this kind of problem I made a simple javascript that I do not let it press the button unless this input have been loaded !!!.

One more comment, the __EVENTVALIDATION is not always presents ! so is maybe safer not to search for this field if you make a general solution, but to make a javascript trick to just check if the full page is loaded, or something else that you think.

Here is my final solution with jQuery: (note that I check on PageLoad if eventvalidation exist !). I have this placed on my MasterPages.

<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript">
    function AllowFormToRun()
        var MyEventValidation = $("#__EVENTVALIDATION");

        if(MyEventValidation.length == 0 || MyEventValidation.val() == ""){
            alert("Please wait for the page to fully loaded.");
            return false;

        return true; 

protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
    // I do not know if Page can be null - just in case I place it.
    if (Page != null && Page.EnableEventValidation)
        Form.Attributes["onsubmit"] = "return AllowFormToRun();";

You can test by placing near the button of your page a delay.

<% System.Threading.Thread.Sleep(5000); %>


Today I see in log this message again for WebResource and what I discover is that a bot getting the pages and make all the character on the links in lower case, including the parameters, so this was one more reason to not getting the correct encoded string, and throw a message like Padding is invalid and cannot be removed.

Hope this help you more.

Method 2

A survey of the web pages found with several of the keywords from the error message indicate that this type of error is relatively common, usually random (at least in appearance) and unfortunately rarely inclusive of an explicit work-around or explanation…

The existence of many similar-yet-different situations is probably tied to the very many different architectures and underlying configurations which can somehow lead to the inability of the crypto layer to assert the authenticity of the MAC (Message Authentication Codes) in the request pages:

  • Server farm setup
  • Cross domain / syndicated pages
  • third party widget libraries and such
  • Actual ASP program logic (of course)

One relatively frequent “marker” around these bug reports is the mention of resource requests (eg. WebResource.axd).
Note that such requests are often not logged (lest they inflate the log files size with event of relative little interest). This absence from the log file and the fact they are often cached (and hence the relative random and infrequent occurrence of the bug) may explain how this possible origin of the bug go “under the radar”. This also suggests that in trying to recreate the bug, (while tracking in the logs, in real time etc) it may be useful to prevent the web browser from caching (or for the least to clear it cache initially).

In short, here are a few ideas and things to look for:

  • start logging the *.axd requests
  • try and co-relate such axd requests with the error events in the exception log
  • look for pages with resource references
  • if in a Farm setting, ensure that all instances use the same key (apparently the snippet provided in the question hint at multiple IIS servers)
  • Be suspicious of pages with 3rd party tie-ins (search services, affiliate programs…)

Hope this helps 😉

Method 3

Are you sure your problem is cryptography related, and not caused by oversized ViewState?
If ViewState is the problem, you can chunk it – change the value of pages / MaxPageStateFieldLength in web.config

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x