An API – Application Programming Interface – is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications — it is normally used to connect two or more computer programs and the interface between them. The API is used to specify how software components should interact with each other. This type of application defines what functions are available and how they can be used by other programs. For example, the Twitter API allows developers to build programs that read tweets, post tweets, and get information about Twitter users. Most webs, most browsers, and most apps employ APIs. They are a core part of their functionality. This is how Slack links up to Google Docs. Or how a WordPress plugin allows users to post directly from their Facebook account. The world is full of APIs – from public to partner, to private and composite. This is the main reason why API security tools are such a hot topic right now — because all those APIs can be used as backdoors into our proprietary networks.
Common API security threats
The biggest API security challenge is that it is often overlooked in the development process. Developers work at breakneck speed, and security teams scramble to keep up with that pace — in many cases, open source codes, as well as APIs, are overlooked. The consensus is to focus on in-house creations and live under the assumption that outsourced codes or apps have been tested by their development teams. In other words, Google’s or Chase’s API have already been given a clean bill of health by their creators. This is rarely the case.
API security has been at the forefront of discussions for quite a while now. The more we open our codebase to outside or outsourced codes and applications, the more we expose our networks. Over 82% of surveyed APIs have at least one security weakness — in most cases, some even have reinstalled backdoors used by their originator to install patches or fix issues. These backdoors can also be exploited by bad actors. There are multiple reasons why API security tools are a necessary evil for all companies — big and large.
There are many different ways to secure an API, and there are various levels of access that developers can give to those who use it. However, API security often gets overlooked in the development process, which can lead to disastrous consequences.
For example, if a developer gives too much access to an API, then it might lead to data breaches or other cyber-attacks. This is why developers and business owners alike need to be aware of how APIs work and how they can be secured so that they don’t put themselves or their customers at risk.
API security threats
API security threats are on the rise with the rise in the number of API-based services and applications.
The most common API security threats include:
- Data leakage: when an application unintentionally or accidentally provides access to sensitive data to unauthorized users.
- Data manipulation: when an application is manipulated with malicious intent to change data or disrupt service.
- Denial of service (DoS): when a malicious user attempts to make a server unavailable by overloading it with requests, thereby denying legitimate users access to its services and information.
- Information disclosure: when an application inadvertently discloses private information about its operations, such as database credentials or API keys, that can be used by attackers for unauthorized access and service disruption or denial of service attacks on other systems that are connected
How to choose the right API security tool for your business?
Choosing the right API security solutions for your business is not always an easy task. There are many factors to consider, and it can be quite overwhelming.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is what are the needs of your business? What are you trying to achieve? And how important is security for your business?
Different businesses will have different demands, so it’s important to find out what they are and what their priorities are. This will help you decide which tools will be most effective for them and which ones they should avoid.
Top 3 Features of a great API security tool
Let’s take a look at some of the features you simply can’t ignore when it comes to API security.
CI/CD integration is the act of automating the deployment of software and services. It is a key part of agile development, which aims to deliver continuous value to customers. CI/CD integration enables developers and operations teams to automate the process of building, testing, and releasing new code into production.
CI/CD is important for all types of projects, not just complex software inventions, but for small designs and businesses. Something as simple as a blog also has APIs — apps that connect the user to social networks, apps that transfer users to a secure shopping platform, etc. Every single add-on or plugin can be considered an API. If you add a WhatsApp contact link, that’s an API. The more automated you have all those customizable, the better. For example, they will be able to update themselves without the need for continual supervision.
Testing the speed of API is an important metric for any API. It is a measure of how quickly the API can respond to requests. Many factors can affect the test speed, such as network latency and server load. To get accurate results, you need to have a proper testing methodology in place and have enough data points for your test.
API security tools need to give you a quick scan of all the APIs you are employing. In most cases, individuals aren’t aware of every plugin or app they have installed into their software.
What can a good API security tool ensure you?
An API security tool can ensure that your APIs are secure and safe. It helps keep the data of your users, your business, and your tech under wraps and locked tight. A good API security tool should be able to detect vulnerabilities in your APIs, monitor any changes in the code, and take preventive measures against any potential threats.