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APIs are a cohort of communication protocol that allows applications to communicate with one another. It works over the OS limitations and enables applications to share data without more complexities. And it is the magic bridge that possibly making things work together in our mobile applications and web interfaces.
Yet, its open doors and wide visibility makes it vulnerable to attacks. Also, attackers can easily find the way to the heart of applications and systems via APIs. Hence it is essential to fence APIs with all possible measures.
Let’s check what the best security practices are for APIs.
As APIs are the bridge to anyone, to access the backend of applications, authentication is an essential element to incorporate in security measures. Also, to know who all are using your app, an authentication and authorization gateway is imperative.
There should be a secret and unique key that the app can use for accessing the API gateway.
Further, observing which application is requesting the authorization token and for what purpose, you can implement app-appropriate usage policies.
You can employ identity services or make it directly to authorize access to the users via signed access tokens.
To authorize the resources based on the app purpose you can use policy-based access control or content-based access control measures. This will ensure that your core business data is secure from threats.
Encrypting the API communication channel is the best way to fence the data exchanging across the network.
An end-to-end encryption practice will work better than relying on a hypertext transfer protocol. It makes the connection private by cryptographic protocols and creates unique keys that are accessible to the right client.
Plus, each communication would undergo an integrity check with an authentication code to avoid alteration. In addition to the transmitted data, the stored data has to be encrypted and it should be restricted to access.
So, encryption makes the transfer tokens, keys and passwords protected.
There are many weak points we can find in API integration practice. The data coming from an external source to our application should be validated stringently.
It is not just covering the data input-output cycle. When an URL request access to the application, the API will accept the request based on the authentication parameters.
And this moment is very vulnerable than we usually think, further the attackers will wait to find a crack over here.
Hence validating every input request with the parameters is inevitable to carry out a secure data transaction. And for each kind of data, we have to set specific parameters.
Auditing and logging are critical and should be a continuous process in an API integrated system. It helps to detect security threats and breaches across the network.
Moreover, carrying out effective auditing will enable us to deter malicious injections. It will give a clearer picture of the number of attacks, vulnerable points and other sorts of data misuses.
Plus, all kinds of logging should be carried out systematically to resist all sorts of attacks.
It has to be observed over container environments for it entertains a minimum number of elements to functioning an application.
Besides, systematic audit logging helps to reckon the patches and enable you to make the remedies faster.
The RESTful API design is an effective way to secure APIs. It is compatible and can be used with almost every protocol.
Also, it offers exceptional flexibility that simplifies the security practice with its design traits. It follows a predefined set of parameters that add additional security to APIs.
It is capable to tackle various data sets and send different data formats as well.
Securing APIs are an important process in any application environment. Hence, you have to be vigilant from the integration point of view and keep an eye over the whole course of using its service.
Fencing the gateways to selecting the tool, has to be handled with significance. Along with tapping the advantages of APIs in the business, you have to spend enough time and effort to keep it secure as well.
Previously published at https://blog.westagilelabs.com/best-practices-for-api-security/
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