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API Security – What is API Security?

What is API security?

Application Programming Interface (API) is a mechanism through which software applications can interact with each other.  APIs are considered fundamental in most modern software systems, such as microservices structures. 

These APIs can come under attack, and API security is used to protect them.  Unfortunately, APIs are becoming the prime targets of cyberattacks because they are commonly used to access sensitive software functions and data. 

The process of API security is one of the most critical components of overall web application security.  APIs can be vulnerable due to broken authentication or authorization, among other threats. These vulnerabilities need to be identified and addressed to ensure safe practice.

What are the advantages of API Security?

Protecting the transfer of any data on the internet through APIs comes under Web API security. Open Authorization of OAuth is the open standard for all access delegations.  Through it, users can give third parties access to resources while bypassing the need for passwords.  For example, when you find a funny cat video that you must share with your family that very instant, OAuth allows you to press share and not be bothered with various passwords for each application. 

Usually, API implementations are REST which is Representational State Transfer or SOAP, the Simple Object Access Protocol. 

REST APIs support TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption and use HTTP.  The TLS makes sure the internet connection is private and that the data sent is encrypted between the two servers or the server and clients.  This helps keep pesky thieves out that might be trying to steal your credit card information but would be unable to read any sensitive information or modify it. 

REST APIs can also use JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), making data transfer easier across web browsers.  Both HTTP and JSON eliminate the need for storing or repacking or any data making REST APIs faster to process than SOAP APIs.  In addition, JSON Callbacks and Formatting is provided by Mailboxlayer, making your experience more straightforward. 

On the other hand, SOAP APIs use built-in protocols known as Web Services Security or simply WS Security.  These protocols have a set of rules regarding privacy.

Why Do We Need API security?

APIs are used commonly in the modern software world, especially by businesses and enterprises, to trade services and transfer data.  However, there is also the ever-increasing threat of data breaches and hacks affecting big businesses and millions of end-users.

Broken, exposed, or hacked APIs are ways these attacks can occur.  Once a vulnerable API has been identified, any major industry or business can be hit, including banks, hospitals, schools, e-stores, or even security agencies themselves.  API security differs for each place according to the type of data and the type of protection needed.

How to Use API Security?

API security is not so different from you taking various steps to ensure that your house is secure, that your money is kept in a safe bank, and that your valuables are locked away in a passcode-protected safe. 

You can take the following measures to improve your API security:

Using Tokens

You can set up trusted identities and then take control of the access to information, services, or any resources by using the tokens assigned to these specific identities.

Using Encryption 

You can encrypt your data using standard industry methods such as HTTPS encryption to secure the established connections.

Using API Verification

You can also use API access keys to verify accounts requesting access to the APIs for data transfer. This verification and authentication are done through a unique passcode assigned for every user. This step again is made simple and easy through Mailboxlayer.

Identifying Vulnerabilities 

You should always keep up with your operating system, network, drivers, and the various API components. How all of them are working together, the links and weak spots must be known to address in time before any breach occurs. This can be done through routine inspections and using dedicated identifiers.

Using Throttling 

You can track the frequency of your API calls and overlook the historical patterns.  Too frequent requests may point to something malicious.  These can, however, be just programming mistakes called endless loops.  Throttling and managing the request frequencies can keep you safe from intentional attacks.

Using API Gateway 

API gateways are reverse proxies in between clients and the backend services.  These can be used to enforce API traffic, and a tool gateway tool can help you authenticate and analyze the usage of your APIs.

What about enterprise usage of API Security?

Thanks to the IoT (Internet of Things), data transfer is becoming a currency running the world as we speak.  As a result, big businesses and industries rely on data protection to maintain a secure environment.  This security is a must for giant industries to fully function and run the wheel of today’s modern economy. 

Enterprises need to use API security to keep off malicious attacks on their companies and protect their important consumer basis.  Likewise, government and intelligence agencies must ensure their sensitive data is safe across the web.  Finally, any service-oriented business needs to provide a well-protected market to their clients. 

From data encryption, data transfer, authentication, and security from hackers, API security provides the tools for organizations to essentially be on the internet and be a part of the modern software atmosphere.

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