An application programming interface (API) enables multiple software applications to communicate with one another. An API is a necessary component of advanced software models, including microservices structures. API security refers to the processes used to safeguard it from being compromised. Additionally, given how widely APIs are used along with their ability to provide an access to delicate software features and data, their use has made them among the main goals for those who want to attack. API security represents a major element of today’s security of web software solutions. As such, these can suffer weaknesses such as inaccurate authentication and authorization, absence of rate-limiting, and code injection.
Companies need to periodically evaluate APIs to find flaws and remediate these issues by applying strong security practices. With this article, you will learn about various signs indicating you need to improve your API security, along with a set of best practices that you can use to safeguard your APIs.
1. API Gateway Security Policies
If in case you failed to deploy gateway security, the chances are that your API is exposed to the entire world. This calls one to act promptly. Alternatively, when your API gateway includes one or more security policies deployed, then the subsequent step is to evaluate the level of security offered by those policies. It is recommended to initially use a combo of OAuth with IP whitelisting. You can use this to permit access to your APIs only when it is authenticated, as well as to implement role-based access control (RBAC) and to make sure there are only trusted IP addresses that clients can use to send requests to your APIs.
2. Broken Object Level Authorization
Services are commonly not all monitored for access restrictions. You may frequently modify a resource ID in order to be able to access a file containing content that is intended for a different user. Specifically, which parameters can you test to check for this problem?
Consider any ID you can pass in the URL or part of any query parameters or body.
However, we are afraid that there are no automatic tools with which you could simply press a button and receive a precise report. Note that you can still use the exact same tools you normally use for testing.
3. Test for HTTP methods that are not handled
Web applications using API to interact with each other commonly use different HTTP methods. The HTTP methods serve as a means of storing, deleting, or retrieving the data.
In the case where a server is unable to support an HTTP method, then it would normally display an error. However, to be clear, this may not be the case all the time, particularly for vulnerable APIs. If you need professional help, visit l7defense.com.
4. API Inventory
There is no way to protect something that is unknown to you. Maintaining an inventory will be the essential starting point for API security management. In the absence of an inventory, this is where you must begin, at which point your security evaluation will read “requires improvement.” As for the remaining steps to the security evaluation, they will only be applicable once you understand what APIs you own, what their usage is, as well as where they reside.
5. Web Application Firewall
One of the most important things to do in your evaluation is to check if you have a WAF or hardware device. Otherwise, you are prone to the OWASP top 10 attacks such as SQL injection. However, a number of enterprises choose not to use a WAF as their API is not exposed to public access. Such private APIs simply do not need any additional protection.
But a WAF has to be implemented for every publicly accessible endpoint. Once a WAF has been deployed, your endpoints will be secured in accordance with best practices for keeping your APIs secure.
6. No rate limiting
Incorrect rate-limiting refers to a category of vulnerability that arises when an API does not have a limit placed on the amount of requests it sends towards other API or a server. There is a basic tactic to manage this, which is to set a limit that each API will not send in excess of the maximum requests set per second. There is a basic tactic to manage this, which is to set a limit that each API will not send in excess of the maximum requests set per second.
In fact, this strategy isn’t quite right. This is because when your client drives more traffic than some other client, it is important that your API is consistent for all clients.
You can solve this problem by using special status codes. It is possible to employ this status code as a way to restrict the rate. In addition, you can also use special proprietary headers. With these headers, you are able to adjust the amount of clients’ requests that can be sent in a given period of time.
Broken Function Level Authorization
The following vulnerability involves vertical authorization levels, which means that the user tries to obtain more permissions than he is allowed to have. As an example, a normal user who tries to become an administrator. The first thing you need to do in order to find this vulnerability is to comprehend how different roles and objects are linked in the application.
The second thing you need to do is to clearly grasp the access matrix that has been deployed in the application.
All that matters is to comply with the above-mentioned API security practices. Considering the fact that these can help ensure a satisfactory level of security for the API endpoint.
However, when your website’s API may have been compromised. Immediately reach out for expert assistance. You may consider it troublesome for an ordinary user to locate and resolve the vulnerability. In such a case, one can always opt for automated security solutions for testing and securing their API.