APIs play a key role in Digital Transformation
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are connected to the way modern software development has evolved in recent years. APIs, microservices, distributed applications and source data all go hand-in-hand with the way that new products are developed, deployed and delivered.
APIs have played a key role as organizations accelerate digital transformation. Development teams can leverage APIs to build and deliver products at a faster pace. APIs also help firms elevate digital experiences by integrating services with less friction and create new services and partnerships.
These benefits are driving the surge in API usage – tens of thousands of public and third-party APIs are accessible to firms and developers. According to the Rapid 2022 State of APIs report, the number of developers working with partner-facing and third-party APIs has grown in recent years and is expected to persist, as firms continue to develop APIs to reach their objectives.
But the rise in API usage has also spurred associated security challenges that firms can’t ignore.
Growing concerns with API security
Malicious attacks targeting vulnerabilities in APIs are on the rise. Average annual API-related cyber loss ranged from $12-23 billion according to a recent report on API security published by Marsh McLennan and Imperva. Furthermore, the report notes, “Industries most affected by API-related events include Information, Professional Services, Retail, and Finance.”
As a result, API security is a cybersecurity priority for CISOs and other leaders. According to a Salt Security survey, 48% of respondents say that API security is now a C-level discussion.
APIs are a frequent target of cyberattackers because of the data they commonly access including Personally Identifiable Information (PII), financial data or health care information, which malicious actors then market on the dark web.
A closer look at the vulnerabilities in APIs reveals a range of risks and concerns for organizations.
What are the main security concerns of APIs?
Bad actors can exploit APIs in a number of ways. APIs not only extend the attack surface area of an ecosystem but also carry additional risks.
The Open Worldwide Application Security Project® (OWASP) maintains a list of risks in their API Security Top 10. This list is updated periodically and the latest version includes the following most common types of API attacks:
- Distributed denial of service attack (DDoS)
- Broken authentication that allows unauthorized access
- Authorization hijacking
- Man in the Middle (MITM) attacks allowing hackers to steal tokens
- Injection attacks
- Data scraping
Meanwhile, TechBeacon describes additional critical API security risks including broken object level, user and function level authorization, excessive data exposes, security misconfiguration, and insufficient logging and monitoring.
Finally, other risks arise with factors such as API sprawl or the use of unauthorized or shadow APIs by users.
What are some top ways to secure APIs?
Organizations that leverage APIs in any way – as either creators or consumers — need a proactive and robust API security strategy to manage risks. Some industries (for example, financial services, banking, health care, or telecommunications) must consider a more stringent approach because they handle confidential or sensitive data.
An API strategy typically includes essential best practices that should be followed when building or integrating with APIs. Having defined API protocols and security is an important foundation for building solid security practices.
Many best practices include the following:
- Encryption with latest TLS protocol
- Reviewing approved and in-use ciphers and hashes regularly
- Applying Zero Trust as a methodology
- Limiting use of devices with legacy web browser implementations
- Requiring all users to implement multi-factor authentication
- Implementing OAuth/2 and Open ID connect with tokens
- Using credentials, security keys, certificates
- Maintaining and updating comprehensive documentation for all APIs
- Following a rigorous testing protocol
- Keeping an API inventory
- Maintaining Version control
- Limiting access to resources with IP Whitelist and IP Blacklist
- Establishing quotes to protect servers from DDoS attack
- Validate data with JSON
- Establishing API key management
Organizations need established standards for developers and others to follow, even if they are also using an API management solution.
Build a Secure collaboration solution with Cordoniq’s API-driven platform
Cordoniq’s API-driven development model means reliable APIs that won’t change or break with future updates to the platform. Developers can leverage Cordoniq’s benefits and features, especially if you’re facing challenges with cross-platform capabilities or you need customizations that suit specific business requirements.
Developers can build custom integrations on Cordoniq’s open developer platform. With Cordoniq, it’s easy to connect clients and provide partners with functionality and integrations unique to each organization.
Clients can automatically integrate Cordoniq’s APIs with the following programming languages, tools and programming platforms:
- C# (.net 2.0, 3.5 or later)
- Java (Jersey1.x, Jersey2.x, OkHttp, Retrofit1.x, Retrofit2.x, Feign, RestTemplate, RESTEasy, Vertx,
- Google API
- Client Library for Java, Rest-assured)
- Typescript (Angular1.x, Angular2.x, Fetch, jQuery, Node)
- C++ (cpprest, Qt5, Tizen)
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