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Security gaps in APIs must be closed

API Security

APIs are becoming more and more popular with companies - which naturally means that interest on the dark side of the force is also increasing. APIs are a favorite target for hacking, as this is where the most important information is transmitted. How can I ensure the security of my API?

API Security

API security - a prerequisite for modern companies

Modern companies maintain modern technologies. Startups and SMEs have been making use of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), so Programming Interfaces, use. API security is a prerequisite here. Secure APIs enable the secure transfer of data between (distributed) systems so that companies can share information reliably.

As a supplement, many APIs are based on the REST software architecture (REST API). During data transfer, protocols for data exchange are transmitted here in specific return formats, e.g. SOAP for XML.

API security - the three pillars

The accessibility of your company via APIs is now essential, because processes can be made more efficient and in some cases even completely automated as a result. How App Developer also can API developers Leverage resources to help users make the best use of them. The big challenge is to program application interfaces in such a way that API security, defined by the three pillars of authentication, authorization and accountability of users as well as applications, is high:

This is where the source of the HTTP call is determined.

Because each HTTP call is handled independently in the context of a stateless REST API, the scope of action must be defined anew each time.

Here, the processing of the resource is logged in detail.

Security measures for APIs

API security - there is no guarantee

API developers are specialised in securing Java REST API so that REST API security is guaranteed.

API security can never be guaranteed 100 %, because APIs are exposed to the mechanisms of the web - and here, unfortunately, there are not only white hats, but also black hats. Cleaning up security holes is part of the daily routine of a good CTOs and its team. German and international companies can take measures to e.g. Java REST APIs to secure optimally.

Basically, then, there is a kind of API security ideal: on the one hand, you want to be a (REST) API developers make life difficult for attackers, and on the other hand, the programming interfaces should still be easy for users to operate.

API security - API management tools as a potential security risk

The tools for administering APIs, so-called API management tools or API management solutions, which are implemented by agencies for API Development throughout Germany (Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Berlin, etc.) and used by companies, have various components for securing APIs. These usually include methods for authentication and data rate limiting (synonymously bandwidth control). Such methods allow secure access by employees, partners, customers and third-party developers to protected information.

Unfortunately, despite these tools for managing APIs, conventional security measures can be partially circumvented. Where API Management Solutions and their methods fall short, customized solutions for API security must be created so that API attacks are successfully prevented or averted.

The following are potential threats to API security not only for German companies but to companies around the world that have caused serious problems even for those with the best IT infrastructure and top API developers:

API security - potential threats

API management tools block invalid login attempts. However, they often do not prevent login attempts from being repeatedly exercised. API hackers keep login requests in the just inconspicuous range and operate with different IPs.

Hackers gain access by directing unsuspecting internal users to log into a compromised system. Here, API tokens and API keys - for more complex cases, you should move away from API keys to OAuth2 and OpenID Connect - can be tapped by the hacker, which then allow access to API services that appear completely ordinary.

In a DDoS attack, multiple ordinary API requests (read / write) are orchestrated across different clients, with the sheer volume of API access crippling the API service. In this way, API systems can be compromised (e.g. domain hijacking through fake DNS responses).

With injection attacks, a hacker can "inject" untrusted elements into programmes or application services by means of a query: the queries are read and processed by an interpreter and the programme execution changes, e.g. API services can be manipulated by loading files of excessive size.

It is not only with injection attacks that hackers (employees not excluded) can extract, steal, destroy or manipulate data. In addition to injection attacks, there are other threats to API security such as the introduction of malicious code and overload due to extreme use (server response times increase).

All actions (read and write) performed with or on an API should be documented in a reporting API. For this purpose, a kind of API activity log file should be accessible. This way, an analysis can be carried out during or after an API security threat situation in order to react optimally and perform API security prevention.

API Security - Conclusion

The trade-off between taking a defensive stance and providing user experience should definitely play a central role in the implementation and assessment of API security. API development agencies like appleute are at your side with advice as well as practical support - you'd better be "safe than sorry".

Secure APIs

You want to connect multiple apps via an API securely?

Contact our team - we will be happy to help you!

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