Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are highly vulnerable to outside interference, particularly with the increasing threat of cybercriminal attacks.
By providing security awareness training and implementing best practices, API providers can protect users against any potential vulnerabilities.
Below are the top API best practices to include in your company’s security awareness training.
Use a Third-Party Identity Provider (IdP)
Delegating authorization of your API through third-party Identity Providers (IdPs) is the best way to maximize security. This is done using providers like OAuth to delegate all API responsibilities. In addition, these providers offer a mechanism to remember tens of thousands of passwords for your API.
For example, let’s say you register for a website and are asked if you would like to sign in using Google, Facebook, or Apple, instead of creating an account for every website– that is a third-party server managing authorizations.
This process protects the consumer as they don’t have to disclose their credentials and the API provider isn’t responsible for safeguarding authorization data.
Use Transport Layer Security (TLS) Encryption
Some organizations may not need to encrypt all API data. That data may be considered non-sensitive, but other organizations with an API deal in sensitive data exchanges, such as login credentials, social security numbers, and banking or credit card information, should consider TLS encryption a top priority.
Encryption will convert your information into code to protect internal and external company communications. One-way TLS encryption or mutual encryption using the latest versions will ensure maximum API security.
Monitoring is Crucial
Monitoring can be crucial regardless of the tools your organization uses for API security. This mainly involves a high level of vigilance and the ability to troubleshoot errors in real-time quickly. You can do this by auditing and properly logging relevant information on the server and keeping that tracked history for a reasonable amount of time. The log will also make anything suspicious clear. Your organization can then use those logs as a resource in the event of any incidents.
Remove Any Information Not Meant for the General Public
APIs are mostly for developers. So, they often contain passwords, keys, and other information that should be removed before the API becomes publicly available for developers to interact with. Often, front-end security is a priority, but that leaves cybercriminals working overtime to identify points of weakness in the back end to execute a security breach.
Overlooking this is a huge mistake. Instead, incorporating scanning tools into development, security, and operations processes can limit the accidental exposure of sensitive data.
APIs have become the preferred tool for building modern applications. While pulling publicly available information into a program isn’t a new concept, the evolving playing field means that organizations may not have a complete assessment of all potential risks involved in making APIs for public use.
The good news is that security awareness training on the best practices for API monitoring can help your business stay protected. Your company’s goal should be API security policies and to adapt to the changing landscape.
Name: Michael Bertini
Job Title: Consultant
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