The API in API security testing stands for Application Programming Interface. It facilitates the communication of several applications based on a set of rules. An API security breach might expose sensitive data to hostile parties.
API, in layman’s terms, is a language chosen for a myriad of applications, along with its associated security testing tools. It has been used for decades by software quality assurance professionals, developers, programmers, and their clients are here to stay. So, what makes API security testing so important?
So, what makes API security testing so important?
Tens of thousands of APIs are made available on the internet every year. And one of the major factors driving the growth of the API industry is the accelerated embrace of cloud use. Hence APIs steadily evolved into the dominant language of enterprise integration and brought its own set of security risks along. This is why there is a high need for API security testing in this digital era.
API abuses will become the most common type of web app attack soon. So, securing them is critical for the seamless operation of secure digital organizations with the best security testing tools. And the initial approach to that is by conducting an API security assessment.
And before we head out, let’s go through everything that’s crucially related to API security testing.
What Exactly is API Security Testing?
API security testing is simply protecting API endpoints from attackers and developing safe APIs. A flaw in an API might result in:
· Unauthorized access
· Leakage of data
· Permitting Fuzzy input
· Injection Flaws
· Tampering with parameters, and more
How API Security Testing Works
It ensures that fundamental security needs, such as user access, encryption, and authentication issues, are addressed using the top security testing tools. API scanning works by crafting inputs to coax vulnerabilities and undefined behavior out of an API, basically emulating the behaviors and attack vectors of potential hackers in the future.
Benefits Of Using API Security Testing
- At its most basic degree, it aids in the detection and elimination of vulnerabilities and related potential business risks using essential security testing tools.
- API security testing is specifically tailored to the API being evaluated as well as an organization’s integrated strategy and best practices. API scanners analyze the APIs that enable single-page web apps, IoT devices, or mobile apps at a deeper level. API scanners can intelligently fuzz data to identify hidden flaws by knowing what an API expects as input.
- API security testing tools also assist ensure the correctness of an API by scanning the business logic of an API instead of just the input validation delivered by the front end.
- API security testing can also assist in determining when an API deviates from stated API requirements. If something is found, the testers will notify the appropriate stakeholder. This helps to guarantee that developers who use the APIs have a consistent experience with the published specs.
Why Is API Security Testing Necessary?
Since API enables data transmission between applications, hackers who break API security might gain access to sensitive data stored on your website.
Other severe repercussions can occur if you don’t use the right security testing tools. The outcome of an API security compromise includes:
· Customer data leakage paves the way for the information to be sold on the dark web
· Your website and company have been defaced hurting you and your brand’s market reputation
· The number of users and revenue are both dropping in numbers
· Associated lawsuits due to inattention from your end
API Security Testing – Rules and Checklists
Authentication in API security testing guarantees that your users are genuine as they claim to be. Hackers that take advantage of authentication flaws can impersonate other users and get access to sensitive information.
· Get rid of basic authentication such as unencrypted HTTP authentication and use a more secure approach, such as JWT or OAuth instead
· Don’t send a DIY fix such as your own methods of authentication, token creation, or password storage. Use existing solutions or security testing tools with proven security corresponding to the language or framework of your application. Learn how to implement these solutions by reviewing the language or framework documentation.
· Use the Max Retry and Jail safety features when attackers try to authenticate using a variety of credential combinations. This API security testing measure puts users who exceed the number of max retries in a “jail” to prevent further login attempts from their IP address until a certain amount of time passes.
· Everything must be encrypted both during transmission and at rest so that it becomes more difficult to compromise passwords and other sensitive information.
In order to wreak havoc, attackers do not need to be authorized so you need the best measure and the top security testing tools to prevent it.
· Requests must be limited to combat DoS (Denial of Service) attacks. Throttle or ban IP addresses and collaborate with companies that can prevent DoS attacks from reaching your servers to enhance your API security testing.
Force encryption encrypts data between clients and servers using Secure HTTP (HTTPS), preventing cybercriminals from accessing it. If not encrypted with the right security testing tools, it exposes your users to Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) attacks, which allow a hacker or a third party to intercept sensitive data.
When it comes to API security testing, users cannot be trusted simply because they can access your API. Some of the web’s most crippling vulnerabilities, such as Remote Code Execution, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), and SQL injections, are caused by failing to verify user input.
· HTTP methods must be enforced for each endpoint of your API. It should support a variety of HTTP methods such as GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE related to the action being attempted by the user. Any actions that do not match those methods should result in a 405 Method Not Allowed response. This protects users from completing the incorrect action by using the faulty method by mistake (or on purpose) apart from using security testing tools.
· Perform Content Negotiation to validate the content that is being sent while transferring data between the client and server. And only accept requests with the set Content-Type header that you expect from the client to make your API security testing effective. Respond with 406 Not Acceptable if the content type is not the one you need or supported.
· Verify User-Generated Content
4. Vulnerable Components
Unused dependencies, features, components, files, and documentation should be removed for better API security testing. Check the versions of your dependencies on a regular basis for known security issues. Also, consider monitoring for libraries and components that are unmaintained or do not produce security updates for earlier versions.
· Look for credible sources to add code using secure connections when adding new dependencies and before depending on security testing tools. Signed packages are useful because they decrease the possibility of a changed, harmful component being included in your program.
5. Processing Of Data
Attacks can’t always be avoided by scrubbing input. Payloads that have been specially constructed can still execute code on the server or even cause a DoS before API security testing is done.
· Endpoint Security ensures that all endpoints having access to sensitive information requires authentication to prevent unauthenticated users from accessing secure portions of the program and acting as anonymous users.
· Avoid using IDs that auto-increment since they make it easy for attackers to guess the URLs of resources they may not have access to. To identify resources, instead, utilize universally unique identifiers (UUID) to power your API security testing.
· Debug Mode should be turned off before deploying your application by ensuring that it is in production mode. Running a debug API in production might cause performance issues, unexpected activities like test endpoints and backdoors, and expose sensitive data to your company or development team.
6. Logging & Monitoring
Ensure that all login, access control, and server-side input validation errors are documented with enough user context to identify suspicious or malicious account, and that they are kept for a long enough period of time to allow delayed forensic examination. Logs should be created in a format that a centralized log management system can simply consume and to aid your API security testing.
API Security Testing: Winding Up
The most crucial thing is to adhere to the API security testing practices outlined above. Since they provide an extra degree of protection to the API endpoint with the best security testing tools, reducing all your concerns.And if you find it a hassle, you can always seek the expertise of a renowned and credible software quality assurance professional.