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APIs and Ransomware

NetworkTigers discusses how APIs and ransomware and how APIs affect your network security.

APIs allow software apps to communicate with each other by regulating how requests are handled and created. They have become a crucial component in today’s digital world due to the rise of cloud computing. According to a recent report released by CPO Magazine, most respondents said that successfully implementing an API strategy is critical to securing their company’s future growth and revenue. This means API security is essential in protecting confidential data. 

What is API security?

APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are software intermediaries that enable applications to interact with each other seamlessly. When you use a gaming, social networking application, or any other application to receive or send messages, your actions pass via an API linking you to the receiver or sender.

APIs are designed with Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) or REpresentational State Transfer (REST). SOAP is a message protocol that enables smooth communication between the components of an app, while REST has a simplified architectural style for designing web services.

SOAP APIs work with HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), while REST works primarily with Javascript Object Notation (JSON), HTTP, and transport layer security. The information you send across can be confidential, and with the increasing data breaches, cyberattackers can access this information and use it illegally. 

Cybersecurity threats are on the rise due to compromised APIs and identities. Threats affecting APIs include man-in-the-middle, parameter attacks, and identity attacks. To improve your security measures, use a different authentication method that verifies the identity of your employees.

Ensuring APIs are secure for your workers to send messages to their colleagues is the primary function of API security.

Why is API security important?

API security protects your application software and web service from cybercrimes such as confidentiality breaches and cross-site scripting. Here are other benefits of API security:

  • Enhances industry-level collaboration – APIs allow organizations to connect with other businesses across various industries, which can make the online platform and services robust. In turn, this improves the efficiency of the organization’s operations, creates new business opportunities, and strengthens partnerships.
  • Creates new revenue models – APIs provide companies with different platforms to market and sell their products and services. Through the model, companies can design new software or sell data to other businesses using the current APIs.
  • Improves customer service – By connecting different software, API provides enterprises with well-researched views of their clients and the solutions they’re looking for. This data helps organizations make sound decisions and interact with their customers better.
  • Collects information for business intelligence – Enterprises can use API to gather data about their consumers’ behavior and preferences. The data can then be evaluated to understand customer needs and market trends. 
  • Saves costs – APIs allow organizations to use the data and functions of other businesses, eliminating the need to design those features in-house.

API security best practices

The need for API security is critical as cybercriminals continue to expose the weaknesses in APIs. Implement these five best practices to strengthen your API security structure. 

Encrypt responses and requests

Encrypt all API responses and requests, which may contain confidential information and credentials. Since API clients may fail to behave as expected, enabling HTTP Strict Transport Security and redirecting HTTP traffic to HTTPS is essential. All APIs should also require and use HTTPS.

Perform regular security tests

Regularly monitor the security controls that protect live APIs to ensure they behave as expected and operate as documented. Have an incident response team to develop a plan that handles security controls indicating API attacks and the alerts generated by threat detection.

Only share necessary data

API responses usually include an entire information record, relying on the client app to filter what users view. Responses should include relevant data to fulfill a request to prevent hackers from accessing more data about the API and its resources. 

Validate the data

Instead of assuming API data is validated or cleansed correctly, put your own data validation and cleansing routines in place to block cross-site request forgery attacks and standard injection flaws. Debugging tools such as Chrome DevTools and Postman can analyze the API’s information flow and detect errors.

Evaluate your API risks

Conduct a risk assessment for APIs in your current registry to ensure they’re not susceptible to known risks and comply with security policies. Whenever the API is updated or new threats arise, document repeat assessments and review dates to ensure data handling and security requirements aren’t compromised. 

Offer your company the agility and speed it needs to succeed

Cybercrimes are scary, but there are measures you can implement to improve your security. An effective API strategy is essential as it can help you mitigate risks. It is a good idea to use an API manager that manages the developer, apps, and API roles, an identity provider hub that supports different authentication protocols, and a traffic manager that ensures the policies from the API manager are implemented. Contact us today to know which areas of your network security require attention. 

Maclean Odiesa
Maclean Odiesa
Maclean is a tech freelance writer with 7+ years in content strategy and development. She is also a pillar pages specialist and SEO expert.

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APIs and Ransomware