Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Improving API Security with Data Encryption

APIs are essential for data flows between software applications and end users, therefore digital infrastructures depend on them. APIs, which power most web and mobile apps, are internet-facing and open to assaults. Many APIs contain and send sensitive data, requiring strong security mechanisms and careful monitoring to prevent data theft.

Digitalized and cloud-based IT infrastructures are growing in enterprise enterprises. Compared to on-premises systems, digital solutions offer extraordinary flexibility, scalability, and speed.

API security explanation

API security is the methods and solutions a business utilizes to prevent API usage and harmful attacks. API security is becoming more difficult and critical as API ecosystems get more complicated, IoT platforms develop, and enterprises use 20,000 APIs on average.

APIs transmit data and information at process endpoints between IT resources and third-party software developers and individuals. These endpoints expose organization and user data to attacks and security threats, including:

  • Authentication-based attacks: Hackers guess or steal user passwords or exploit poor authentication to access API servers.
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks: Malicious actors intercept API calls and responses to steal or modify data like login passwords or payment information.
  • Code injection/injection attacks: The hacker sends a destructive script through an API request to insert fake information, remove or divulge data, or disrupt app operation by exploiting API interpreter flaws.
  • Denial-of-service (DoS) attack: DoS attacks send high volumes of API calls to crash or slow the server. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) assaults involve several attackers.
  • Broken object level authorization (BOLA) attacks: fraudsters modify API object identifiers to access user data. This happens when an API endpoint lets users access records they shouldn’t. Due to the difficulty and time required to perform object-level authorization checks, BOLA attacks are popular.  

These and other cyberattacks are nearly inevitable in today’s IT ecosystem. As thieves acquire access to more advanced hacking capabilities, API security procedures will become increasingly important to company data protection.

Best API security practices

APIs simplify cross-system interaction and data sharing, but they raise cyberattack risk. Most mobile and web app hacks access company or user data via APIs. API hacks can cause massive data breaches and service outages that expose personal, financial, and medical data.

Fortunately, API security improvements can prevent or limit destructive cyberattacks. Organizations can safeguard computing resources and user data with these 11 API security practices and programs:

1. API gateways: Restricting API access is easier using an API gateway. A single entry point for all API queries, gateways implement security policies, standardize API interactions, and offer request/response transformation, caching, and logging.

2.Strong authentication and permission: OAuth 2.0, API keys, JWT, OpenID Connect, and other industries-standard authentication methods restrict enterprise API access to authenticated users. Users cannot access resources they are not permitted to use with role-based access controls.  

3.Protocols for encryption: Teams can secure API-client interactions with SSL or TLS encryption technologies like HTTPS. All network data transmissions are encrypted with HTTPS to avoid manipulation. Stored passwords can be encrypted at rest to protect sensitive data.

4.Web application firewall. Enterprise: APIs are protected against injection attacks, XSS, and CSRF by WAFs. WAF may analyze API requests and block harmful traffic before it reaches the server.

5.Verifying data: Like people screen phone conversations and avoid opening attachments from unknown senders, corporations should screen everything their servers receive and refuse large data or content transmissions, especially consumer ones. XML or JSON schema checking and confirming parameters can also prevent attacks.

6.Rate-limiting: Limiting the number of queries a person or IP address may make in a given time protects resources from brute force and DoS attacks. Rate restrictions allow quick processing and prevent destructive requests from overwhelming the system.

7.Test security: To verify system answers, developers use an API client to make typical requests for security testing. Regular API security tests including penetration, injection, user authentication, parameter tampering, and others help teams find and solve problems before attackers do.

8.Monitoring and patching APIs: API security requires constant monitoring and maintenance like any software application or system. Check for suspicious network behavior and update APIs with security patches, bug fixes, and new functionality. Awareness and planning for common API vulnerabilities like those on the OWASP top 10 list should also be monitored.

9.Auditing, logging: Organizations can track user data access and API requests by keeping complete, up-to-date audit logs and reviewing them often. Monitoring API activity is difficult, but auditing and logging can save time when teams need to retrace their steps after a data breach or compliance breach. Audit logs also help identify anomalies by recording regular network behavior.

10.Limits and throttles: Throttling limits system demands like rate limiting. Throttling occurs at the server/network level, not the user or client. Limits and quotas safeguard API backend system bandwidth by restricting calls or messages per second. Regardless of quotas, system call traffic should be monitored over time to detect abuse and programming problems.

11.Documentation, versioning: Every API release includes security updates and bug fixes to close security gaps. Users can mistakenly deploy an obsolete or vulnerable API without sufficient documentation. Complete and consistent documentation should include input parameters, expected replies, and security requirements.

Secure AI and APIs

AI is a new and possibly powerful API security technique. Companies can use AI to discover API anomalies. After establishing a baseline of API behavior, a team can utilize AI to discover system aberrations (such strange access patterns or high-frequency requests), alert vulnerabilities, and respond quickly to assaults.

Threat modeling may be automated with AI. AI threat models can detect vulnerabilities and threats before criminal actors exploit them using past API data. An organization with a high volume of authentication-based assaults can utilize AI to install advanced user authentication techniques like biometric recognition to make it harder for attackers to get access.

API security testing processes can be automated by AI-powered technologies to uncover security flaws and hazards faster than manual testing. AI-based security methods can grow with API ecosystems. AI lets firms monitor and secure multiple APIs at once, making API security scalable.

Maintain API security with IBM

API security is crucial. API use will increase as digital transformation continues, as will security issues and criminal actors. Organizations can manage, secure, and comply with APIs throughout their lifecycle with API management technologies like IBM API Connect.

Businesses should view API security as a rolling process that requires monitoring, deftness, and openness to new technologies and solutions. Companies may secure IT resources and protect consumers and enterprises by combining traditional API security procedures with AI-based methods like Noname Advanced API Security for IBM.

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