The stakes are always high when it comes to API security. And when was the last time you checked your company’s API for any vulnerabilities? If you’re not sure what to look for when conducting an audit, this blog post is a great place to start. We’ll discuss some of the basics of API security testing and why it’s important that all APIs be tested regularly.
What is API Security Testing?
API Security Testing is the process of testing APIs for security vulnerabilities. This type of testing typically includes input validation, authentication and authorization mechanisms, session management, cryptography practices (encryption/decryption), back-end processes that handle user transactions, and data storage in order to find bugs or other issues within an API’s codebase.
Why should I conduct an API Security Test?
The reason you should be conducting regular audits on your company’s APIs is that hackers are constantly looking for opportunities to exploit weaknesses in software architecture. If they succeed at breaking into one small area of a system like an unauthenticated endpoint or method then it could lead them down the path towards discovering sensitive information or even taking over entirely. You can prevent these types of situations (and many others) from happening by proactively testing your company’s APIs for vulnerabilities.
What should I look for when conducting an API security Test?
There are a wide variety of things you should be looking for when conducting an audit. Some areas to focus on include:
Input Validation – is the data that’s being passed into your APIs safe? What about parameters like IDs and usernames, can they be easily manipulated by hackers who want to cause harm or gain access where they shouldn’t?
Authentication and Authorization – is it easy for hackers to gain access by simply guessing usernames or passwords? Or, are there features in place that help prevent this type of attack from being successful? Is the authentication process itself secure enough so they can’t discover your login information through brute force methods like dictionary attacks?
Session Management – how are sessions managed in your APIs? If they’re not being managed correctly it can lead to cross-site scripting attacks where hackers are able to hijack the session of an authenticated user, allowing them access (or worse).
Cryptography – how is data encrypted before storage and what protocols are used for key exchange when communicating with other systems or devices within your infrastructure?
Back-end Processes – hackers are looking for ways to take advantage of business logic and potentially change data in a way that can cause problems. Examples would be manipulating prices, payments or even transferring funds from one account to another without the proper authorization. You want to make sure this type of activity isn’t possible through an attack on your APIs.
Benefits of API Security Testing
There are a number of benefits that can be seen when performing API security testing, including:
– Identifying critical vulnerabilities in software before hackers do.
– Reduced costs associated with fixing issues after they are live.
– Improved customer satisfaction due to the confidence it provides them knowing their information is protected from both external and internal threats.
– Increased revenue opportunities through new features, faster time to market for products and services.
– Improved website security testing of the organization due to thorough risk assessments conducted on all systems (internal & external).
– Compliance with industry standards, policies, and governing bodies.
API Security Testing Tips
The following tips should help make your company’s APIs more secure against attacks by leveraging human intelligence along with automation technology :
– In addition to scanning for many types of general vulnerabilities there are also specific checks you will want to include which focus on areas such as session management and cryptography within an API system. This includes things like checking for weak ciphers, insecure algorithms, and authentication issues.
– When it comes to API security testing, the more thorough you are in your efforts the better off you will be when putting together a complete picture of potential risks. This means not only checking for well-known vulnerabilities but also looking at things like how session IDs are used throughout an API system so that attackers can’t hijack sessions within different components without being detected.
– If possible, try to create alerts for any events linked with APIs such as unusual traffic spikes which could indicate something suspicious is going on behind the -scenes. You should also look into using tools designed specifically for monitoring API transactions which provide real-time data about each request made against your company’s systems along with details surrounding the request itself.
– When it comes to the creation of an API, there is no one size fits all solution. Different companies will have different needs which means you’ll need to adjust your security testing efforts accordingly.
– One last tip – don’t forget to allocate time and resources for continuous API security testing. While performing this type of testing as part of a one-time or quarterly audit is helpful, it’s not enough. You’ll want to make sure that you’re constantly checking APIs on an ongoing basis so that any issues can be immediately identified once they arise instead of waiting until the next scheduled scan takes place.
In conclusion, API security testing is a proactive way of identifying vulnerabilities in your company’s APIs before they become serious and costly problems. When putting together an API security test plan it’s best to use both automation technology along with human intelligence so that you can perform thorough checks while also being able to ensure the changes made don’t negatively impact existing functionality within your systems.