Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become the lifeblood of modern software development. They enable the seamless exchange of data and functionality between applications, making it easier than ever to create innovative and integrated digital experiences.
However, this convenience comes at a cost: the risk of API breaches. As APIs continue to proliferate, so does the need for robust security measures to safeguard sensitive data and prevent breaches. In this blog post, we'll explore ten strategies to prevent API breaches and keep your digital fortress secure.
10 strategies that helps your cybersecurity
API is a type of mechanism that makes it possible for two sorts of softwares to communicate and exchange information.They use varied sets of protocols to share this data so the user experience is as flawless as possible. In short, these two softwares communicating are usually called a server (the one sending the information) and the client (the one receiving the information) - and it is thus the communication between the server and client that is crucial for a smooth and seamless experience to us.
- Below we’ve gathered a list of things you can do to protect your digital platforms - which all have APIs, we just don’t think about it.
1. Understand the API Landscape
Before we look further into what you can do to prevent any API breaches, you should first take a look at your API landscape and get a better understanding of this. Make an overview of all the APIs you use in the organization - both internally and externally. This should also include third-party APIs, in-house APIs, and the APIs that your partners use. Once you know which APIs you’re dealing with, you can secure them.
2. Implement Strong Authentication
Authentication is the foundation of API security. Make sure that you have strong authentication mechanisms in place for both users and apps that can access your APIs. Consider using OAuth 2.0, API keys, or token-based authentication to verify and authenticate the client’s identities. You should also add MFA whenever you can to enhance your cybersecurity.
3. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) is an essential principle in API security. You can assign roles and permissions to specific users and apps based on what they need to fulfill their jobs and responsibilities properly. You should thus limit the access to the bare minimum, so each role only has access to the necessary files and software - this will then minimize your attack surface.
4. Rate Limiting and Throttling
Rate limiting and throttling mechanisms can help you in preventing API breaches. Here, you control the number of requests that a client makes within a certain time frame. When you implement these measures, you not only protect the API but also ensure that real and legitimate users can access files and data that they need to do their job without any interruptions.
5. Data Encryption
Data that is being transported between users and APIs should always be encrypted to protect it from interception and espionage. We recommend you use industry-standard encryption protocols such as TLS (Transport Layer Security) to secure the data when it’s transferred. Additionally, you should also encrypt sensitive data that is "at rest" within your databases - in other words, not being used or transferred - to protect it from any unauthorized access attempts.
6. Monitor API Traffic
Another thing that is highly recommended is to monitor your API traffic in real-time. This is essential for identifying any suspicious activities and potential cyberthreats. So when you implement proper monitoring solutions to your API security, you can quickly detect any unusual activities in the traffic patterns. You should keep an eye out for unexpected spikes in traffic or atypical access patterns - this might indicate an ongoing breach attempt.
7. API Gateway and Web Application Firewall (WAF)
When you implement an API gateway and WAF (Web Application Firewall) you add an additional layer of security and protection from API breaches. The API gateways give you centralized control over the APIs you have, which allows you to improve your security policies, perform audits, and apply rate limiting. WAFs, on the other hand, protect you from any of the common website attacks (like typosquatting, SQL injection and clone phishing) that targets API as well.
8. Conduct security audits and penetration testing
You should conduct security audits and penetration testing on a regular basis to find any flaws and vulnerabilities in your cyber defense and APIs. Here you should involve cybersecurity experts to conduct these audits so they can make an assessment of your API infrastructure as well. They will thus uncover any potential weaknesses that can be exploited - this way you can prevent future breaches by knowing and fixing the gaps in your security.
9. Security by Design
Make sure to implement security measures into the design and development of your APIs. Here, you can use the principle of security by design. This considers all major security requirements there are in proper and good cybersecurity - from software to hardware, it looks at threat models, secure coding and regular cybersecurity audits to avoid any type of cyberthreat and attack.
10. Educate and Train Your Team
Lastly, it’s important to educate yourself and your employees on good cybersecurity. You can do this with awareness training that goes in depth with proper cybersecurity. Humans are often the weakest link in cybersecurity and hackers know this. In the awareness training you can educate your employees about the latest trends they should be aware of and the security measures your organization has implemented to better your cybersecurity and prevent breaches.
API has a fundamental role in our digitalized world so securing them is paramount. API breaches can have major consequences for any organization - this includes data breaches, financial loss and reputational damage. If you consider these 10 strategies we’ve given you here, you’re well on your way to a better cybersecurity.
Once you understand the API landscape, get better authentication, and conduct audits, you should stand better against the cyberthreats. With e.g. awareness training you can reduce the risk of API significantly - and that is something we’re all interested in.
Remember, though, that API security is an ongoing process, and not just a one-time task that you have to get over with. The cyberthreat constantly changes and evolves, so should your cybersecurity. So, stay informed and vigilant. This way you can stay one step ahead of cybercriminals and avoid becoming their next target.
Caroline is a copywriter here at Moxso beside her education. She is doing her Master's in English and specializes in translation and the psychology of language. Both fields deal with communication between people and how to create a common understanding - these elements are incorporated into the copywriting work she does here at Moxso.View all posts by Caroline Preisler