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    API Security: 5 Best Practices Everyone Should Implement


    The Application Programming Interface (API) plays a crucial role in modern enterprise’s API security. Its usage is expected to continue to grow as new applications and IoT devices are made. The API is an intermediate software found on the web that allows applications and websites to communicate. Most enterprises rely on APIs to deliver new products and services. API has grown popular since it enables the programmers to integrate functionality from offering it externally. This, in turn, saves them time since they will not have to build the functions by themselves.

    The API functions as an agent; it will complete the intended job and give you the results when you call it. However, it will need a secret password known as the API Token to identify friends from strangers. The service API and the client are the only parties that should have the password. However, API can be sniffed when it is half-way through a project to avoid such issues; API will need a secure method to receive requests from clients and share the data extracted from them. That is where the use of mobile API security comes to play.



    Must Read: 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using REST API for Your Next Project

    Why Should You Have API Security?

    The API was built to be secure, but it is exposed to numerous threats than any other online tool. When creating the APIs, developers focused more on functionality and agility than any other security measure. That is why each time a company is hacked, the chances are that it is the API that showed signs of security voluntaries. Since it is not possible not to use APIs, the best alternative would be to ensure that the APIs are as secure as possible. Find out about API security essential best practices you should consider implementing.

    Identify vulnerabilities

    The developers who create the APIs’ primary focus ensure that the system is as robust as possible. They only think about the system, but not the vulnerabilities that it might cause to the users. On the other hand, hackers are always on the lookout for a loophole that can serve their nefarious purpose. For that reason, it is paramount for you to understand the vulnerabilities that your API life cycle faces and secure them. When you take the time to understand how everything fits together, you will notice the weak areas where the API can be exploited. The information will help ensure that you put the right security measure in place.

    Always use encryption

    Padlock lying on the computer-keyboard


    Though vendors have been searching for ways to improve the API security and make the application easy to use, the outcome has been mixed. The Internet Engineering Task Force’s OAuth has designed an authorization standard that allows the clients to enjoy restricted access to the system. To get into the system, the clients will not be needed to share any credentials as they can use their Microsoft, Google, or social media accounts to log into third-party websites.

    The challenge is that the standard is based on HTTP, and it has a flow. Thus, this makes it an attractive exploitation point for the API. However, you can encrypt data using Transport Layer Security (TLS) to ensure that only the authorized users can access the information. You can avoid such insecurity issues by using HTTPS encryption.

    Focus on authorization and authentication

    The way the APIs have been developed, they need to be tied to other Software since they do not live alone. It is not easy for the code to be adequately secured as it calls for the developers to use several pronged approaches. One of the steps is the authentication phase. This is where one checks to find out if a person is who they claim to be. Passwords will no longer do, and the authentication is getting complicated to many companies using the biometric solution.

    Fingerprint authentication

    After they have passed the authentication, the other step is to check the authorization. Here you can gain access to various data and information. That means that the person who is accessing the data is authorized to get it.

    Share as little as possible



    Another API security measure you should implement is to avoid giving too much information. This is especially when you get an error message. It is possible to limit the number of data leakage by customizing your APIs to show predefined messages. You can also protect your clients by not storing the user password on JSONS WebTokens (JWTS) or cookies. Though they might appear to be secure, they can easily be decoded.

    It is also vital for you to limit the number of messages per second, depending on the server capacity you are using. You can also restrict abuse by restricting the access by API and the user. It is also best to use throttling as they limit the quota, which is crucial when it comes to stopping attacks from flooding into your system.

    Be ready for the worst

    It is important to note that not all the APIs are made equal, and also it is not possible to prevent all vulnerabilities. Thus, this is the reason you should always prepare for the worst. You can do this by assuming that anyone who wants your data is a threat. Thus, it would be best to take each API getting into your system is from a hacker. That way, you will put the right measure in place before releasing any data. If you are always ready to deal with hackers, should anything go wrong, you will handle the issue with ease.

    Conclusion

    APIs will expose an organization’s service and digital data and for that reason, it is paramount to have security measures in place. With the right security measures in place, you can be sure that only someone with authorization can receive any data. Thus, this is why you have to ensure you maintain the integrity of the data that is moving through the API. Highlighted are some layered approaches you can use to ensure that you have protected the API. Keep in mind that when there is a breach of data, then you will be putting your company, employees, and customer information at risk. Thus, this is the reason API security should be among the top priorities of any business.


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