APIs provide great opportunities for businesses to interconnect systems and share data. However, they also introduce significant security risks if not properly protected. APIs have become the backbone of digital business, with over 90% of companies relying on them for their applications according to Red Hat. However, while APIs drive innovation, they also expand the attack surface. Recent data from Salt Security shows that APIs were implicated in over 80% of application security incidents in 2022.
To safeguard your APIs and prevent unauthorized access, compromise of data, or service disruptions, it is essential to implement a robust API security strategy. This guide outlines key best practices and technologies to harden your APIs against attacks:
According to Gartner, nearly 70% of unauthorized data breaches are traced back to flawed authentication practices. Enforcing strict API authentication is therefore crucial. Proper authentication ensures only authorized users and applications can access your APIs. Some recommended mechanisms:
Weak authentication makes APIs an easy target. Aim for standards-based authentication to lock down access.
Granular authorization prevents abuse of permissions. Studies by Imperva show that over 20% of internally developed APIs contain flaws enabling elevation of privileges. Authorization determines the resources and actions each user can access. Define and enforce granular permissions using:
Granular authorization minimizes exposure and reduces the API attack surface.
Per Akamai, DDoS attacks increased by 167% in 2020, with APIs being the most targeted applications. Effective rate limiting is key to deter such attacks. Rate limiting sets thresholds on the number of API requests permitted over a period:
IBM estimates the average cost of a data breach to be $4.24 million. Regular API testing can help avert such incidents. Veracode’s research shows over 90% of applications contain some form of security vulnerability.
Fix any issues prior to deployment. Schedule recurring tests to stay on top of vulnerabilities.
Proper error handling prevents information leakage.
Logs and monitoring data provide visibility into API activities.
APIs introduce innovative capabilities but also substantial risk. Prioritizing API security is crucial. By leveraging standards-based authentication, granular authorization, encryption, rate limiting, continuous testing, and robust logging, you can secure your APIs from compromise. Adopt these best practices to reduce API vulnerabilities and gain assurance against attacks.