What Is an API and How Can One Help Your Business?

3 min read

An API is an Application Programming Interface. It acts as a software intermediary to allow apps to communicate with each other. It allows data sharing between apps to be extracted and shared in an easy-to-use manner. These web APIs allow you to establish connections between apps, platforms, services, and devices. APIs are useful for gathering data and controlling other connected devices.

The APIs can be developed in REST APIs or SOAP APIs. SOAP APIs, or Simple Object Access Protocol APIs, are XML-based and serve as a messaging protocol between computers to exchange information. These APIs were developed using WS Security standards that use XML encryption, SAML token, and XML Signature to provide transactional security. It is also capable of supporting W3C and OASIS recommendations. The REST APIs, or Representational state transfer api proxies, are also developed for remote computers using HTTP to obtain data and perform specific operations. These APIs allow secure communication via SSL authentication and HTTPS. These APIs use JSON standards to consume payloads, which makes data transfer easier over the browsers. REST stands for stateless, which means that each HTTP request contains all information required to fulfill the request. Clients and servers are not required to keep any data.

API Security Threats

API is also known as self-documentation information. This means that the API’s internal structure and implementation could be used to launch a cyberattack. Cyberattacks can also be caused by additional vulnerabilities, such as weak authentication, lack of encryption, and flaws in business logic.

Cyber-attacks can often lead to data breaches that can cause damage to an organization’s reputation and threaten its relationships. Data breaches can often attract new fines under the latest GDPR guidelines. API security should be viewed in two ways: data breach and operations disruptions. It is imperative that your api proxies design protects you.

Let’s take a look at some of the API vulnerabilities.

MITM is a technique that allows two parties to obtain sensitive data by secretly relaying altered communications. This involves intercepting api proxies messages between the two. These MITM attacks are often seen as two-stage operations: decryption, interception and encryption. It is recommended that the API has a Transport Security Layer (TLS) to protect against MITM attacks. TLS can be an open invitation for attackers if your API does not have it. To protect your API from MITM, make sure you enable Transport Layer Encryption.

API Injections are the act of inserting malicious code into an API to attack a staging server. These are also known as XSS, Cross-Site Scripting, and SQLI (SQL injection). These types of attacks are most likely to be carried out by vulnerable APIs. Your API may not be performing the appropriate filter inputs or FIEO (escape output), so it’s a good idea to launch an attack through the end user’s browser. This attack could also include malicious commands such as SQL commands that delete or add tables in the database forms. This issue can be controlled by using input validation.

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