API Attack

API AttackAs a small business owner, APIs may not be a daily business concern, but they are necessary to understand because they represent a new attack vector in the cybersecurity landscape. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are the pathways that connect different software programs to one another. For example, when you search for a hotel on a travel aggregate site, you are utilizing APIs. The site can access hundreds of hotel databases and return search results that fit your parameters. APIs are the connections that make those search results possible.

However, criminals recognize APIs commonly transmit personal, medical, or financial data and are finding new ways to attack the connections. Criminals are using many of the attack vectors we have covered in the past to steal or disrupt the data that flows over an API. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), Man-in-the-middle (MitM), and stolen credentials are all techniques criminals use to steal data that moves over APIs.

Financial services, manufacturing, and healthcare are some of the leading industries that use software connected by APIs. This software streamlines communication, improves collaboration, increases productivity, and helps manage business documents. Like all technology, the benefits of API also introduce data security risks. Any time you give a third party access to your company’s data, it exposes that data to some risk.

It’s important to understand the risk, ensure the vendor or software solution is trusted, and only give access to the data needed to perform the job. Authentication is another critical step in securing data that moves over an API. Higher-level authentication keys and tokens are now available to avoid access with stolen passwords. Lastly, encryption is vital for the data stored and moving across the web. It’s estimated that 80% of web traffic moves through APIs, so advanced encryption should be at the top of the list of any new API tool.

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Posted by Charles Wright