Here’s a Quick Way to Strengthen Your API Security

Published: November 27, 2022

The introduction of smartphones in recent years has caused an increased growth and adoption of APIs since most mobile applications and IoT rely on APIs.

APIs are primarily important to organizations for the security of their databases. However, with the development of APIs, cyber security has dramatically increased and has become a threat when securing APIs.

API developers are working hard to create and design APIs that are secure from cyber attacks to ensure that all requests are valid and are from a legitimate source.

This article will discuss some of the threats to APIs and how you can use them to strengthen your API security.

Types of Threats on APIs

We should first understand the types of threats that APIs face before we go through how to strengthen API security. Here are some of the threats that APIs face when they are not appropriately secured:

1. Injection Attack

This attack happens when a hacker sends a script to the application server through an API request. This script makes the hacker gain access to the software and can access or delete data, manipulate the software or plant false information.

This attack occurs when API developers fail to limit the inputs in the authentication and validation process.

2. Man-in-the-Middle Attack (MITM)

A Man-in-the-Middle attack happens when an API fails to use SSL encryption to secure data. The hacker can intercept and compromise the data between the API and the client.

Hackers can gather confidential information, access payment information, or log in to an account. Configuring APIs will help restrict attackers from accessing personal and sensitive information.

3. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack

DDoS attacks happen when an attacker makes too many API requests to the server for a specific duration. These requests exceed the capacity of the legitimate user to respond, causing the web server to crash or slow down.

4. Stolen Authentication Attack

If an authentication password falls into the wrong hands, it can be used to access the original user’s personal information without notice.

Hackers can also easily access APIs with weak authentication processes. It is necessary to input an intense authentication process to keep off attackers who can manipulate the user’s identity and access the controls of the API.

There are many API attacks, and hackers always come in different ways. It means new applications will be created daily and need to use APIs to integrate with other applications.

Therefore, despite these APIs attacks, you should be able to develop robust API security strategies that will help mitigate these attacks.

API Security Measures

Different companies will implement various security measures depending on the type of APIs they use. Here are some security measures that you can implement:

1. Always Use a Gateway

Use a gateway with your APIs. It helps to centralize traffic features such as blocking hackers and only authorizing legitimate users.

A Gateway helps ease the process of adding endpoints to these features. Also, it helps to monitor how the APIs are used by identifying and authenticating legitimate traffic.

2. Use Rate Throttling and Limiting

To prevent attacks such as DDOS, place a rate limit on when an API can get called or requested.
Using rate throttling also balances data access with data availability and throttles connections by slowing the user’s connection but still allowing them to use the API.

3. Data Encryption.

Another way to improve API security is by encrypting data using TLS (Transport Layer Security) or SSL ( Secure Socket Layer). They help prevent MITM attacks since they only encrypt data when transferred.

Using a Web Application Firewall (WAF) to monitor web traffic and prevent DDO attacks and code injections would also be great.

4. Use OAuth

Using OAuth controls the access of authorization and authentication. It holds the type of information to be accessed by a third party without sharing the original users’ credentials.

OAuth verifies the user identity that sent the request to ensure maximum security. It also enables the login of a third-party application that has passwords without showing the passwords.

5. Conduct a Security Test

Always conduct a security test on your APIs regularly. A security test involves hacking your API to check and expose potential vulnerabilities. This test will help safeguard your APIs from similar attacks.

In Conclusion

APIs will keep getting attacks as more and more softwares are being developed and upgraded. Therefore, it is necessary to keep practicing these security measures regularly.

It would also be great to partner with a great company such as Recursion that will deliver unique and hack-proof applications to your business.

At Recursion, we will secure your software and make it robust. Get in touch with us today to make your software and Apps secure.