6 Top API Security Risks! Preferred targets for attackers if left unmanaged

Security threats are always a concern when it comes to APIs. API security can be compared to driving a car. You need to be careful and review everything carefully before releasing it to the world. By failing to do so, you are putting yourself and others at risk.

API attacks are more dangerous than other breaches. Facebook had 50 million user accounts affected by an API breach, and an API data breach on the Hostinger account exposed 14 million customer records.

If a hacker breaks into your API endpoints, it could spell disaster for your project. Depending on the industries and geographies you’re talking about, insecure APIs could land you in hot water. Especially in the EU, if you serve the banking industry, you could face huge legal and compliance issues if you find out you’re using insecure APIs.

To mitigate these risks, you should be aware of the potential API vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit.

6 Commonly Ignored API Security Risks

#1 Absence of visibility of the API and risk of means of monitoring’

As you expand your use of cloud-based networks, the number of devices and APIs used also increases. Unfortunately, this growth also leads to less visibility into the APIs you expose internally or externally.

Ghost, hidden, or stale APIs that are beyond the visibility of your security team create more opportunities for successful cyberattacks on unknown APIs, API parameters, and business logic. Traditional tools like the API Gateway lack the capability to offer a complete inventory of all APIs.

Must have API visibility, includes

  • Centralized visibility and inventory of all APIs
  • Detailed view of API traffic
  • Visibility of APIs transmitting sensitive information
  • Automatic API risk analysis with predefined criteria

#2 API Incompetence

It is important to pay attention to your API calls to avoid passing duplicate or repeated requests to the API. When two deployed APIs try to use the same URL, it can lead to repetitive and redundant API usage issues. This is because both API endpoints use the same URL. To avoid this, each API must have its own unique URL with optimization.

#3 Service Availability Threats

Targeted API DDoS attacks, with the help of botnets, can overload the CPU cycles and processor power of the API server, sending service calls with invalid requests and making it unavailable for legitimate traffic. DDoS API attacks not only target your servers where APIs run, but also every API endpoint.

Rate limiting gives you the confidence to keep your applications healthy, but a good response plan comes with multi-layered security solutions like AppTrana API Protection. Accurate, fully managed API protection continuously monitors API traffic and instantly blocks malicious requests before they reach your server.

#4 Hesitating about using the API

As a B2B company, you often need to expose your internal API usage numbers to teams outside the organization. This can be a great way to facilitate collaboration and allow others to access your data and services. However, it is essential to carefully consider who you give access to your API and what level of access they require. You don’t want to open your API too widely and create security risks.

API calls should be closely monitored when shared between partners or customers. This helps ensure that everyone is using the API as intended and not overloading the system.

#5 API injection

API injection is a term used to describe when malicious code is injected along with the API request. The injected command, when executed, can even remove the user’s entire site from the server. The main reason why APIs are vulnerable to this risk is that the API developer fails to clean up the input before it appears in the API code.

This security flaw causes serious problems for users, including identity theft and data breaches, so it is essential to be aware of the risk. Add server-side input validation to prevent injection attacks and avoid execution of special characters.

#6 Attacks against IoT devices via APIs

Effective use of the IoT depends on the level of API security management; if this does not happen, you will have trouble with your IoT device.

As time progresses and advances in technology, hackers will always find new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in IoT products. While APIs enable powerful extensibility, they open new doors for hackers to access sensitive data on your IoT devices. To avoid many of the threats and challenges faced by IoT devices, APIs need to be more secure.

Therefore, you should keep your IoT devices updated with the latest security patches to ensure they are protected against the latest threats.

Stop API risk by implementing WAAP

In today’s world, organizations are constantly threatened by API attacks. With new vulnerabilities emerging every day, it is essential to regularly inspect all APIs for potential threats. Web application security tools are insufficient to protect your business against such risks. For API protection to work, it must be dedicated entirely to API security. WAAP (Web Application and API Protection) can be an effective solution in this regard.

WAAP Industry is a solution to the pervasive problem of API security. It allows you to limit the flow of data to what is necessary, preventing you from accidentally disclosing or exposing sensitive information. Additionally, the holistic Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) platform includes the trinity of behavior analysis, security-centric monitoring, and API management to keep malicious actions at bay on the APIs.

Lance B. Holton