API security refers to the creation of APIs so that attackers cannot exploit their vulnerabilities and other security features. Modern web application security includes API security. API vulnerabilities include code injection, rate-limiting issues, broken authentication, authorization, and rate-limiting issues. APIsec and Postman are two of the most popular API security test tools on the market. Before we can understand how to perform API security testing, it is important to understand what a vulnerable API could mean.
- Unauthorized Access
- Data Leakage
- Sanctioning Fuzzy Input
- Injection Vulnerabilities
- Parameter Tampering
API Security Trends and Attacks
- Salt Labs’ report shows an astonishing rise in API attacks in the first half 2021. The monthly API call rate increased by 141% while malicious traffic increased by a staggering 348%.
- 94% of Salt Security Survey respondents experienced an API security breach in 2020.
Common Security Issues in Production APIs
- Salt Labs states that 62% of organizations have very basic or no strategy in place for API security which is concerning.
- In the year 2019, Airtel API was found leaking the information of their customers by using their numbers. It affected around 325 million users of Airtel.
- In 2019, a bug CVE-2019-5786 was found in the File Reader API. Almost, all major browsers were impacted by this, and hackers exploited it wildly to target Chrome users.
Top 10 API Security Problems
1Broken Object Level AuthorizationEvery API function should have object-level authorization checks that access a data source using input from a user2Broken User AuthenticationIncorrect implementation of authentication mechanisms in API allows attackers to compromise authentication tokens or implementation flaws3Excessive Data ExposureMost developers look for generic implementations in API and are likely to expose all object properties without considering their sensitivity4Lack of Resources and Rate LimitingMostly, APIs do not impose any restrictions on the size or number of resources that can be requested by the client/user. It can result in low server performance, leading to denial of service (DoS) attacks5Broken Function Level AuthorizationSometimes APIs tend to have an unclear separation between administrative and regular functions that lead to authorization flaws6Mass AssignmentThe binding client-provided data (e.g., JSON) to data models, with improper filtering of properties based on an, allow list, leads to mass assignment7Security MisconfigurationSecurity misconfiguration is due to misconfigured HTTP headers, open cloud storage, unnecessary HTTP methods, and error messages containing sensitive information8InjectionInjection flaws include command injection, SQL injection, etc. The attacker’s malicious data can force the interpreter to execute any script or command to access data without proper authorization9Improper Assets ManagementTo mitigate APIs’ security issues, they should be properly managed hosts and deployed API versions inventory10Insufficient Logging and MonitoringInsufficient logging and monitoring can encourage attackers to attack systems that may allow them to tamper with, extract, or destroy data
API Security Testing Methods
- Input Fuzzing
- Command Injection
- Parameter Tampering
- Test Unhandled HTTP Methods
API Security Best Practices
Several of the most popular ways to ensure API security are:
- 1. Access ControlYou can set access control rules for specific API resources by authenticating API traffic with OAuth or JWT
- 2. EncryptionTLS encryption is a standard practice in API security. To decrypt or modify data, users must provide a valid signature.
- 3. Assessment of vulnerabilityTo ensure that vulnerabilities are detected at the correct time, it is vital to conduct penetration tests of your APIs.
- 4. API Throttling and QuotasIt can help you secure API quotas by limiting how often it can be called, and keeping track of its usage. This can help reduce DoS attacks.
- 5. Partner with an API Testing Services ProviderPartner with a provider who can implement strong API security testing processes, such as Offtheshelfexhibits. Offtheshelfexhibits’s professional QA engineers can use automated testing techniques to improve the comprehension and efficiency of API tests.