How to close data security gaps with regard to APIs
More than 80 % of all attacks on the web today rely on APIs, which therefore pose an increased risk for any company or governmental agency. By 2022, Gartner estimates that the misuse of APIs will be the most common attack on security breaches in enterprise web applications. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) recently published a top 10 list of the greatest threats to API security. OWASP is well known for its top 10 list of application web security risks and has now expanded this to include API security risks.
APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) have been around for a long time, but their use has increased dramatically in recent years. The increasing prevalence of APIs is changing the way data is exchanged on the Internet. Machine-to-machine communication already takes precedence over data traffic between people and web pages. APIs enable interoperability between a variety of components and systems. They connect machines and software like the pieces of a puzzle. Application APIs are components of any application architecture such as micro services, single page applications (SPAs), mobile apps, IoT, etc.
While we expect the trend towards API development to continue, we also expect application web security breaches to increase. These will become more frequent and so sophisticated that API-specific security will become more important than ever before. APIs provide even more access to application logic and much more information (including sensitive data) as web pages or web applications do.
Application APIs – especially appealing to hackers
An application API is an essential entry point for attacks and data leaks, as it allows access by third parties. The fact that APIs allow easy transfer of mass data makes them particularly attractive to hackers. If you do not consider application web security, hackers can access numerous applications, which are then compromised by the unsecured interface. Depending on how developers program an API, it can reveal back-end data resources, back-end architecture and even back-end applications on servers. Rapid product development using agile methods has made API lifecycle management more complex than ever before. IT admins have to manage more and more APIs. They change frequently and run interdependently (sometimes unnoticed). While there are increasingly sophisticated lifecycle management methods for APIs, developers don’t rigorously apply these enough or they are only adopted to new APIs. And on top of that, they don’t have time for ensuring thorough API security.