Top 10 Best Practices for API Security

Top 10 Best Practices for API Security

Amidst the rise of cyberattack threats, it is the need of the hour to secure Web APIs. And as a solution, certain practices need to be followed. APIs have the potential to deal with a lot of vulnerabilities.

To hinder the functionality of an application for other users or to access sensitive data, a client-side program is frequently sidestepped during a cyber assault. That’s why API security focuses on protecting this application layer and considering what may occur if a hacker interacted with the API directly.

Irrespective of the attack vector, a data breach is a data breach: it can ruin your company’s brand and reputation also could result in significant fines and lost revenue.

Also, APIs play a crucial role in mobile application development, hence it’s important to restrict the chances of vulnerabilities and attacks for cross-platform mobile app development.

So, how is it possible to keep the doors open for the API ecosystem while keeping hackers out at the same time?

There are some methods and tactics you may use to take advantage of APIs while maintaining the security of your entire data set. So, let’s review some best practices for API security.

And here, we have enlisted the topmost API Security practices that will come in handy while designing and creating it.

1- DON’T PLACE YOUR TRUST EASILY-

API should only allow incoming traffic to be trusted. The use of HTTPS for all API traffic is the first step toward developing zero-trust. Using HTTPS internally whenever possible to prevent service traffic from being snooped is preferred.

Your services must always check incoming JWTs, even if the Gateway converts them from an opaque token. This aids in mitigating scenarios in which a request manages to get past your gateway, preventing an intruder from entering your organization or infrastructure.

2. JWT VALIDATION-

Validating JWT correctly is important for the security of your APIs. However, if each team builds their own JWT validation method, there is a risk of making the system more vulnerable as a whole. Errors are more frequent, and fixing faults is challenging.

Instead, develop a company-wide JWT validation solution that is based on commercial libraries and specifically designed to meet your API’s requirements. Creating a company-wide standard for JWT validation will help ensure the same level of security on all of your endpoints. Teams will have a better chance of solving problems as they come up. The quick threat response is crucial for security-sensitive operations like JWT validation.

3. AUDITING-

It is not easy to maintain high standards for your APIs from a security and design perspective. As a result, think about assigning tasks to several teams and having outside teams examine your APIs.

There are various methods for establishing control over your API. You may assemble a guild of API experts chosen from various categories to provide advice, or you could have a dedicated staff of API specialists assesses the design and security elements. Make sure you constantly have additional eyes checking your APIs, regardless of how you organize governance.

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4. APIs SHOULD BE PROTECTED-

Make sure all of your APIs are protected. Even internal APIs should have security measures in place. By doing this, you can be certain that the API is secure against any attack coming from within your company.

Commonly, APIs are first developed for internal usage and then released to the public. In these situations, appropriate API security frequently goes unnoticed. The API is open to assaults when it is made public outside of the company.

Keep in your mind that security through obscurity is not advised. A complex name for an endpoint or Content-Type does not guarantee that the API will be secure. Before someone utilizes the endpoint, it’s simply a matter of time.

5. API GATEWAY:

In microservice-based applications, the client has to address lots of complexities such as aggregating the data from various services, maintaining several endpoints, separate authentication for each service. This makes it hard to refactor the services.

The easy way out is to hide these services by a new service layer known as API gateway and provide APIs that are fitted to each client. There are fortunately many API Gateway options on the market.

6. USAGE OF OpenID & OAuth:

All tasks, including the authentication and permission of your APIs, should be delegated.

OAuth is a method that eliminates the need for you to remember 10,000 passwords. You can log in using the credentials of another provider, such as Google or Facebook, rather than creating an account on each website.

The API provider employs a third-party server to manage authorizations, and this is how APIs function. The customer gives a token that is provided by the third-party server rather than their login credentials. The customer is protected since they don’t have to provide their credentials, and the API provider is relieved because it simply receives tokens and doesn’t have to worry about preserving authorization data.

OAuth is a popular protocol for the delegation that transmits authorizations. Add an authentication method to your APIs to further secure them.

7. AUTHENTICATING PARAMETERS:

By validating the arguments, we could make sure that no damage was being done to the API by the incoming data. Create a tight schema that outlines the system’s permitted inputs, then pass the incoming parameters through it to validate the parameters. Only those who adhere to the confirmed schema would be allowed to access the API, and the developers can prevent malicious attempts to contact it by validating the parameters.

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8. PROVIDE LIMITED INFORMATION-

Some APIs give away excessive amount of information. Make sure APIs only return the data required to carry out their intended function. Additionally, if the response contains secret data, obfuscate it and implement data access constraints at the API level.

9. RATE LIMIT IMPLEMENTATION-

The most popular method of assaulting an API is known as DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service), which involves flooding it with an infinite number of API requests. The availability and efficiency of APIs are impacted by this attack.

The technique of enforcing a cap on how frequently an API is called is known as rate limiting, sometimes known as API limitation (to ensure that an API remains available to legitimate requests). In addition to limiting DDoS attacks, it also restricts abusive behaviors including aggressive polling, credential stuffing, and quick configuration updates. In addition to addressing fair use of shared resources, API rate limitation can be used to:

Implement several levels of access for API-based services.

Measure the usage of the API Ensure the performance of the API Ensure system availability

10. SEEK HELP-

Don’t be hesitant to enlist some assistance. Bring in some security professionals. To assist you with scanning the payload of your APIs, use knowledgeable antivirus systems or ICAP (Internet Content Adaptation Protocol) servers. It will assist you in keeping your systems safe from any harmful data or code.

You can utilize a variety of security APIs to safeguard your data. They may be able to:

  • Incorporate two-factor authentication
  • Create time-based one-time passwords or password less logins.
  • Send push notifications if there is a breach.
  • Defend against malware and viruses
  • Avoid fraud
  • Inform you if hackers have previously used a password.
  • Includes threat intelligence
  • Monitoring security services

Additionally, you can identify and mitigate security problems before they materialize if you combine the appropriate technology with a more methodical procedure and incorporate security into the design process from the outset.

Author Bio :

Himanshu Mehra is the digital marketing manager and technical content writer at Competenza Innovare, a web & mobile app development company. With 10 years of content writing, inbound marketing, and lead generation experience, Himanshu has helped SaaS companies and small-to-large-size tech businesses to grow their brand & revenue. His specialized areas are technical research, content creation, and PPC which empowers him to deliver quality and excellence. In his free time, he likes to research technical innovation & business growth. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, he will be happy to hear from you.

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