API usage is constantly rising, and they are empowering organizations around the world to make more accessible and dynamic products. However, with attacks against APIs continuing to increase, organizations are beginning to view the security aspects of API adoption more seriously.
According to Gartner, by 2022, API security will be the biggest cause of concern for organizations working with web applications. With APIs usage increasing rapidly in the modern software development era, the rise in security concerns is inevitable.
In a recent report released by Imvision, the company asked around 100 cybersecurity professionals in Europe and the US to understand the current state of enterprise API security. As per the report, 91% of IT professionals said API security must be viewed as a priority in the next few years, especially since more than 70% of organizations are estimated to use over 50 APIs.
As per a Salt Security report, in 2020, most enterprises were affected by API security incidents. Around 66% of enterprises had to slow down the rollout of a new application into production due to API security concerns. Issues like these force businesses and developers to understand the risks associated with API security and find ways to safeguard essential business resources.
Let’s look at how organizations can keep their APIs safe by following a few best practices in 2021 and beyond.
Authorization and Authentication
Organizations need to have a robust authentication framework in place. Today, it’s important to shift away from simple password systems to multi-step authentication approaches and biometric solutions like face and fingerprint scanning. When a person gets authenticated, they should pass a high-level authorization check to gain access to information.
Secure Backend Data
Organizations spend a lot of time securing information available on the frontend. But, attackers can also enter their system through backend resources. Therefore, another checkpoint needs to put in place to guard the backend data. Organizations can minimize the security threats if they can prevent data from being stolen through backend servers.
Secure Request-Response Lifecycle
The most common attack surface is in the space between API request and response. Organizations should maximize security on this front; they need to have high-level security controls like strong validation checks and swift rejection of requests.
Organizations should never be in a situation where a threat actor gets access to passwords via some API vulnerability. The best way to avoid this is by hashing all the passwords before making them accessible to APIs. Here, a scrambled version of the password and not the actual password is saved into the system. It prevents malicious actors from getting access to passwords and prevents them from getting “unscrambled.”
Organizations should set up multiple layers of authentication when designing their APIs to prevent unauthorized users from bypassing the system and getting access to critical and confidential data resources. Limiting access based on roles will ensure that only the right person with the right permissions will be able to access or modify the API resources.
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