API security testing

APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are a key element of digital transformation strategies and innovation in today’s app-driven world. According to OWASP API Security Project, “APIs are a critical part of modern mobile, SaaS and web applications and can be found in customer-facing, partner-facing and internal applications. By nature, APIs expose application logic and sensitive data such as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and because of this have increasingly become a target for attackers. Without secure APIs, rapid innovation would be impossible.”


API security top threats:

Securing APIs is a top challenge. APIs are a rapidly growing attack surface that isn’t widely known and can be neglected by developers and application security managers.


Salt Security released the results of its API security report titled, “The State of API Security – Q1 2021.” Among its findings, the report revealed that 91% of organizations had an API security incident in 2020. More than half (54%) reported finding vulnerabilities in their APIs, 46% pointed to authentication issues, and 20% described problems caused by bots and data scraping tools.


By 2022, according to Gartner, API abuses will become the most-frequent attack vectors.


API security is nothing but securing the API endpoints from attackers.


Top risks of insecure API:

  • Broken Object Level Authorization
  • Broken User Authentication
  • Sensitive Data Exposure
  • Lack of Resources & Rate Limiting
  • Broken Function Level Authorization
  • Mass Assignment
  • Security Misconfiguration
  • Injection flaws, such as SQL, NoSQL, Command Injection, etc.
  • Improper Assets Management
  • Insufficient Logging & Monitoring


Why do you need API security testing?

  • To prevent data leaks of customers. This data is then sold on the Darkweb.
  • To prevent defacement of your website and business. It can severely affect your brand’s reputation.
  • To prevent lawsuits due to customer data exposure (if there is negligence on your behalf).
  • It enables you to meet compliance requirements.
  • It helps in preparing your security team to cope with a real-life cyberattack.


API security highlights strategies and solutions to recognize and mitigate the unique vulnerabilities and security risks of APIs.


Why we recommend manual penetration testing

For APIs, the process of penetration testing is still manual. It relies on humans to understand your code, craft tests to identify vulnerabilities, execute the tests and then interpret the results.


When it comes to the usage of automated tools, the outcome is not necessarily the conclusion. We should be aware that automated tools can only find certain types of vulnerabilities. There is no possible way to find logical vulnerabilities, such as broken access control by automated vulnerability scanning.


Manual analysis is often required to confirm all types of vulnerabilities. We can use automated security testing tools to finish the job as quickly as possible, so we have enough time to penetrate our application for logical vulnerabilities. Therefore, in such cases, an automated tool can be used to find the right target after which the manual vulnerability can be exploited.