Computers and Technology

API Security: 10 Essential Practices One Should Keep in Mind

With an upsurging demand for info-centric projects, organizations have quickly unlocked their data to their ecosystem, through REST or SOAP APIs. APIs are the doors to closely guarded data of an organization, curating the following challenge.

How can we keep the doors open for the ecosystem and confined from hackers at the same time?

API security crucial practices: 10 simple tips and tricks to secure your APIs.

1. Encryption

Be cryptic. Nothing should be in the clear, for external or internal communication.

You and your partners should cipher all exchanges with TLS, whether it is one-way encryption or even better in the case of mutual encryption.

2. Authentication

You should always know who is calling your APIs, at least through an API key or basic access authentication (user/password), to increase the difficulty to hack your system.

3. OAuth & OpenID Connect

Delegate all Responsibilities. You should be delegating authorization or authentication of your APIs.

What is OAuth? It is a procedure preventing you from having to remember ten thousand passwords. Instead of creating an account on each website, you can connect through other provider’s credentials, for example, Instagram or Google.

In the case of APIs, they work in the same way: the API provider relies on a third-party server to manage authorizations. The consumer doesn’t give their credentials, but rather gives a token provided by the third-party server.

OAuth is a generally used delegation protocol to transport authorizations. To secure your APIs even additionally and add authentication, you can attach an identity layer on top of it.

  1. Call Security Experts

You should always rely on experienced Antivirus systems or Internet Content Adaptation Protocol (ICAP) servers to help you with security.

5. Monitoring: Audit, Log, and Version

You should be ready to troubleshoot in case of error: to audit and log relevant information on the server – and keep that history as long as it is rational in terms of amplitude for your production servers. You should twist your logs into resources for debugging in case of any incidents. Also, monitoring dashboards are a highly advocated tool to track your API consumption.

6. Share as Little as Possible

Be paranoid. Showcase as little information as possible in your answers, mainly in error messages. Lockdown email subjects and content should be predefined messages that can’t be customized because IP addresses can give locations.

Use IP Whitelist and Blacklist, to restrict access to your resources. Restrict the number of administrators, separate access into different roles, and hide sensitive information in all your interfaces.

7. System Protection with Throttling and Quotas

Throttle yourself. One must limit access to your system to a limited number of messages per minute, to safeguard your backend system bandwidth according to your server capacity.

8. Data Validation

Be fault-finding and reject surprise gifts, specifically if they are big. You should check everything your server allows in. Be careful to refuse any extra content, and always check the content that consumers are sending you.

9. Infrastructure

Network and be up to date. An excellent API should rely on a good security network, infrastructure, and up-to-date software to be rigid and always benefit from the latest security fixes.

10. OWASP top 10

Avoid wasps. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a list of the 10 vulnerabilities, ranked according to their exploitability and impact.

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