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5 Tips For Securing Your API

APIs are the new frontier for developers and startups. Developers love APIs because they let them build apps that can interact with other services. Startups love APIs because they make it faster to build new digital services. Users want to use your app, but they don’t want their data to be compromised in the process. In this article, we will explore tips on securing your API so you can continue growing your business while keeping your users’ data safe. There are a lot of potential hazards when designing an API, but with the right knowledge, you can avoid them before they happen.

Use TLS And API Keys To Secure Your API

The internet is built on trust, which is why we use HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) to secure our websites. TLS, the encryption technology behind HTTPS, protects the privacy and integrity of data exchanged between users and applications. When your API uses TLS, users will see a green padlock next to the website address in their browser when they are using your API. The padlock icon indicates that the website is secured using HTTPS/TLS, which is a good thing. The padlock tells users that their data and browser sessions are secured and private. If your API uses TLS, you can rest assured that users’ data is protected when flowing through your API.

Rate-Limit all API endpoints

Rate limiting is a crucial security measure for any API. It ensures that no single client can exhaust your system resources and shut down your API. This is especially important if your API is public and used by many different people. With rate limiting, you can protect your service from being exploited, and avoid outages due to high load levels. To do this, you need to track the number of requests each user makes, and then move them to a wait queue when they go over the rate limit. Rate limiting can be implemented either on the client-side or server-side. Client-side rate limiting is useful when you want to only control the rate of a single user. Server-side rate limiting, on the other hand, is useful when you want to control the rate of many users at the same time.

Don’t Respond With Excessive Data

Your API should only return the minimal amount of data needed to respond to an API request. When an API responds to a request only the data required should be received. Often APIs will entire database entries when responding to a client request and then rely on the client to parse the required data. This should be avoided as attackers can use this to find extra sensitive information which should not be displayed 

Encode All Input to Protect Against Injection Attacks

If your API accepts user input, it is very important to sanitize and encode the input to protect against injection attacks. These attacks occur when malicious users try to inject malicious code into your API. APIs are renowned for being vulnerable to attacks such as SQL injection where users can from database queries in order to pull all the data from a database. But depending on where the data from the API is used it could also open up attackers to exploiting other injection vulnerable such as XSS ( cross-site Scripting).

Log All Requests & Responses

One of the best ways to secure your API is to log all API requests and responses. Logging lets you know who is using your API, what endpoint they used, and what data they sent and received. Logging helps you identify potential security threats, outages, and unexpected errors. If you notice a particular user is making a large number of requests in a short amount of time, for instance, you can block their IP address to protect your API. Logging can either be done on the server side or on the client side. Analyzing logs on the client-side is useful when you want to log data that is hosted on a single server. Logging on the server-side, on the other hand, is useful when you want to analyze data across multiple servers.

Conclusion

APIs can be attacked in many different ways there are ways to defend against them. Often it’s the case that security is missed during the development phase due to time restraints which is why Sencode offers API penetration testing in order to secure sensitive information before hackers can gain access. API Penetration testing acts as a secure simulated cyber attack to test for and find vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by hackers.