Common API Attacks and Prevention

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are becoming increasingly popular in many businesses, and so are the common API attacks. Surveys reveal that 26 percent of companies have at least doubled the number of APIs they used a year ago. That’s because the APIs offer a significant level of impact on business success.

What are some common attack types on APIs?

Since APIs are integral components of any application, they have become must-have tools for all entrepreneurs. But since the APIs link each feature with multiple software or products, they have become a target for security hacks.

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  1. Broken User Authentication
  2. Improper Asset Management
  3. Broken Access Control
  4. Data Exposure
  5. DDoS Attack

1) Broken User Authentication

APIs authenticate users to access applications. So, a broken user authentication makes APIs more vulnerable to attacks. Attackers can steal the authentication tokens and use credential surfing or brute-force attacks to gain access to applications.

2) Improper Asset Management

Improper asset management occurs when there’s more than one version of an API and failing to delete the older versions. And since the APIs expose more endpoints, you should properly document and track them. Otherwise, outdated API versions and exposed debug endpoints will increase the risk of API attacks.

3) Broken Access Control

Most API attacks result from broken access control due to poor implementation of access control policies. Effective implementation of access control policies ensures that users can only access permitted information and perform authorized tasks. Conversely, poor access control policy implementation can result in theft, modification, and destruction of sensitive data.

4) Data Exposure

Failure to implement appropriate security measures on APIs can expose data to attackers. Unfortunately, most developers depend on client-side filtering, which can result in data exposure. When APIs don’t filter responses, data can get exposed on the servers, providing access to attackers.

5) DDoS Attack

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks occur when attackers try to make services, networks, or systems unavailable to authorized users. The attacks make endpoints unreachable after an attacker takes control of multiple systems and sends suspicious requests that overwhelm the API memory.

Security Practices to Prevent API Attacks 

Investing in security techniques can help to eliminate loopholes for API attacks. So, here are the tips to secure APIs from attacks.

  • Control access to sensitive data
  • Invest in secure API design and development
  • Test the security features of the APIs periodically
  • Log and monitor APIs regularly to discover abnormalities
  • Invest in multi-factor authentication to add an extra security layer
  • Keep an inventory of APIs for review, testing, and documentation purposes

Find Streamlined Cybersecurity for Your Business Today

Besides the common API attacks, the other common API vulnerability you should know is the Man in the Middle (MITM) Attack. An attacker acts as the MitM between a session token issuing API, an HTTP header, and a user. Also, you should beware of SQL injection attacks. Thankfully, you can find streamlined cybersecurity services at Enstep.

Contact us for reliable cybersecurity services for your business.

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