Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have been around for decades, but their usage has exploded in recent years as enterprises have ramped up their digitization efforts.
API attacks are getting increasingly common as API usage rises. Many CISOs have realized that their API security has to be reviewed. API assaults frequently result in data breaches, exposing sensitive medical, financial, and personal data as firms utilize APIs to build greater communication and transmit data.
While the effort may appear onerous at times, CISOs may take some basic actions to ensure API security.
Leaning on user-controlled input isn’t a good idea
CISOs should not rely on user-controlled inputs to give any response or data for improved API security. Any user’s sensitive data can be obtained by fiddling with a request or response. CISOs should get the majority of the needed inputs through secured signatures rather than relying on a user’s request input. A small example is when an individual goes to their profile page to check their credit card information. The user identity is utilized by the API to get the information, and it is returned to the user as a response. The user identification in this situation is a user-controlled input. Using any proxy tool, the users can alter their user ID to that of another user and obtain that person’s sensitive information.
As a result, CISOs should avoid depending on user inputs wherever possible, but if they must, they should ensure that the information is only shared with the appropriate parties. A checksum is one method of accomplishing this. It prevents others from issuing payment requests in their name or meddling with other ones, for example.
Also Read: API Security: Four Best Practices Enterprises need to consider in 2022
Build an appropriate security culture
APIs included, culture and connections are an often-overlooked part of cybersecurity. A lack of knowledge and comprehension of the business risks is at the root of many security issues. CISOs can play a crucial role in creating a cross-functional security attitude inside a company. Securing APIs necessitates the development of partnerships. Security teams should establish and maintain positive connections with people from all levels of their businesses. It’s simpler to strengthen API security without making anyone’s job harder after relationships have been built. Healthy connections foster teamwork, allowing security teams to shift from a reactive to a proactive mode of operation. Instead of telling others what they can’t do, they can equip them with answers, solutions, and appropriate tools to prevent problems from occurring.
Implement a rate-limiting strategy
Excessive usage of an API can degrade performance, which is why CISOs must impose a restriction on API calls, known as rate-limiting, which restricts the number of times a user can access a specific service in a given time. It relieves the load on web servers and protects against malicious actions such as brute-force attacks.
Rate limitation is an integral part of API security because it prevents a Distributed Denial of Service (DoS) attack from inundating the server with unrestricted API requests. Rate limitation also aids API scaling by effectively managing enormous traffic and preventing the server from decelerating.
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