In this article, we are going to explore the top API security risks you cannot overlook in 2022. The number of cyberattacks has increased over the years, and hackers have been using more sophisticated methods to infiltrate systems. Therefore, it is important to improve your API security platform and be prepared for the future — it is a critical step of your security strategy and one you should always try to streamline and update.
Secure API — a key component of modern web application security.
An API, or application programming interface, is a set of programming instructions that allow programmers to create applications. An API can be used to access data from a third-party source and use it in an application.
Currently, since there is so much overlapping between industries and companies, secure APIs are the backbone of almost all software systems. They facilitate the sharing of information between systems. They allow companies to include social media sharing into their apps and websites, maps, cloud computing and storage, easy sign-ups through Google, financial resources and e-wallets, scan for flights, get weather information, and even funnel clients to their Amazon affiliate programs.
Currently, apps and websites are puzzles — each piece is either an open-source code, a commercialized component or in many cases an API.
Top API security risk of 2022
The security risks of APIs are a major concern for many companies, as they use them to manage their data and to communicate with other systems.
Here are some statistics companies have to be aware of when it comes to API security:
- 15,564 is the average number of APIs an organization has in place today.
- 41% of organizations have had an incident or breach thanks to their lack of API security in the last 12 months.
- 87% are fortifying their PI security testing and pipeline,
Two types of security threats come with APIs- the risk of the API being exploited by hackers or the risk of exposing sensitive information. There are many ways in which companies can manage these risks. One way is to encrypt all data that is sent through an API, this ensures that no one can read the information if it is intercepted. Another way is to create a proxy server, this only allows access from a specific IP address, which makes it more secure than an open API.
Currently, API security is a hot topic and companies are constantly innovating ways to improve it. Why, because yearly, API breaches are skyrocketing — this year alone, breaches have increased by 123%. Let’s take a look at some of the most common API security risks of 2022.
Broken Object-Level Authorization – BOLA.
APIs in general are systems that enable a user to access a resource by providing the authorization token. It is broken when the token can be stolen and used to access the resource on behalf of the original user.
This kind of vulnerability can happen in two ways:
1) Attackers may steal tokens from other users.
2) Attackers may steal tokens by exploiting vulnerabilities in the authorization server.
Excessive Data Exposure
Excessive data exposure is a situation where the data leak is made by the API itself. This happens when the API returns sensitive data in its response to a query.
The term was coined by Professor Anita L. Allen in her book “Excessive Data: How Much Information Is Too Much?” (2012).
Broken Function-Level Authorization – BFLA.
APIs have security measures that restricts access to the system by users and their functions. BFLA occurs when these measures are faulty and user permissions are incomplete or broken. This allows attackers the ability to access systems including administrative protocols.
A data breach can happen due to a lack of encryption or authorization controls.
This is one of the most common threats that can lead to a data breach if not addressed properly.
Insufficient Authorization Controls
It’s important that you monitor and control who accesses your APIs and what they do with them.
This vulnerability is caused by not properly validating user input. If the input is not sanitized to remove potential extra queries it can execute modifications.
How to prevent API security issues
API security is a hot topic and it’s not going away anytime soon. With more and more companies relying on APIs to power their services, it is becoming increasingly important to have a strategy in place for API security.
There are many ways to prevent API security risks, here are some tips:
- Identify the API and assess its security level. This can be done by checking the documentation and looking for any vulnerabilities, then checking if there are any known vulnerabilities and patches available to fix them.
- Make sure that all the information that is being shared with the API is encrypted, whether it be a password or user credentials, or even data transfer protocols. The last thing you want to do is have your information leaked because of a simple mistake.
- Built-in or create tools that offer ways of sanitizing user input.
- Validate client permissions against resources requested.
- Don’t rely on API clients to filter sensitive data — data should not be returned by the API or if needed it should be returned in a redacted form.
- Perform object-level authorizations at endpoints.
- Prevent security misconfigurations by examining data returned and ensuring that services and security patches are up-to-date.
The importance of securing your API.
APIs are the building blocks of the digital world as they allow different applications and systems to communicate with one another. They are essential for enabling innovation and providing end-users with valuable services. A secure API is a must for all organizations that want to provide access to their data and services, as it ensures the security of the data and prevents third parties from accessing it without permission.