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Plugging the Leaks: 5 Ways to Patch API Security Vulnerability

Patch API Security Vulnerability
Written by Michael Katz

Apps: interesting, innovative and everyone wants to have some fun trying them out. All is great from this point of view but where do we stand in terms of taking risks when it comes to API security that has been proven to make apps vulnerable? Numerous hacking attempts have been reported in the case of important company names worldwide which has left a lot of customers asking themselves whether it is really safe to use these apps that are being made available for them. Furthermore, what makes APIs such a tempting target for hackers worldwide and how can we patch API security vulnerability?

The first and most obvious reason would be that apps have become so popular in the last few years and it is a well-known fact that everyone uses them. Almost every big company in the world develops APIs meant to help them, support their mobile, and web applications. This way, the great range of APIs offered by companies nowadays has transformed them into the perfect playground for hackers. Everyone can easily access them as they run on web servers and this makes them an easy target for being crawled by engine bots and worldwide hackers.

Is there an actual way in which we can patch API security vulnerability? The answer is yes and here are five interesting and efficient ways of plugging the leaks so as to diminish the vulnerability of apps worldwide and ensure the best cyber security tools:

The authorization of the user and the authentication of the app

  • This is a very important measure to consider in the case of API security because in their case not only the end user needs to authenticate but also the app.
  • The way to go is to use a standardized protocol available both for the process of authentication and for the authorization one.
  • By taking this step, the amount of built-in security will be based on standards and will not be different from one app to another leaving less room for hacking attacks.

The encryption of sensitive data such as transports

  • The encryption of sensitive data is the second big step to consider for ensuring the patch of API security vulnerability.
  • What developers should consider using, in this case, are SSL certificates on web APIs so as to ensure the transfer of sensitive data between the endpoint system and the web service interface.
  • This will make it much more difficult for hackers to actually sniff and steal important data and help us all stay safe on the Internet.

Ensuring the protection of customer credentials

  • Every company developing APIs for their customers should make sure to be well aware of the way in which the credentials are managed for the app and how important these elements are for them and their customers.
  • One way to go at this stage is by using digitally signed tokens which have the advantage of uniquely identifying a user through character strings.
  • These strings can be easily and safely stored into a secure database which might allow access for the user only when both the name and the password have been correctly entered.

Avoiding the use of embedded or static passwords

  • Changing the logic that has been built into an app cannot be an easy thing to do.
  • This is the main reason why developers sometimes tend to use shortcuts such as easy passwords and caching IDs locally, but this is not the right way to go in terms of mobile security.
  • Static passwords are definitely not the most secure option and companies developing APIs should consider taking the necessary measures in this case as well so as to ensure data security for their customers.

Exposing only the kind of information that is strictly necessary to your API

  • The way most developers work in this case is by taking all the information obtained from a user and transferring it to the API which makes them worry less about the actual necessary type of information that should be transferred.
  • This is once again a wrong measure that makes apps vulnerable due to low API security.
  • What needs to be considered and done at this stage is the transfer of strictly necessary information about the user to the API thus making less of the important data vulnerable in terms of hacking attacks.

As a conclusion, the best way of diminishing our vulnerability as worldwide web users is to always stay one step ahead of hackers by taking efficient measures such as the ones mentioned above.

Feature Image By raedon via Pixabay

About the author

Michael Katz

Michael Katz is a technology and security writer who grew up around technology. From a very early age, he has been in love with computers and follows many of the companies that produce them, hoping to learn more about what makes them tick. When not writing about technology and internet security, he can be found on the pitch with his friends playing a friendly game of football.

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