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How to Secure an API Best Practices for Developers


It’s great to start working on web applications by implementing an API. It’s fantastic for third-party developers who want to integrate with the app, amazing for customers who are benefited from the app’s integrations and excellent in terms of profitability as it attracts more people to the platform. New APIs are unfortunate because they give hackers yet another way to access the data companies save on their servers.

In order to enjoy the advantages of this method without its drawbacks, this article will cover the principles of API protection, including typical attacks involving a list of free APIs and the best techniques to defend against them.

Kinds of Breaches Using API

  • Theft of Authentication

Stealing the credentials of an authorized user is one of the quickest ways to gain access to free API. For instance, if an authentication credential is misplaced, it may be exploited to access resources fraudulently while looking to be valid.

  • Attack by Man-in-the-Middle

When a hacker decrypts an end-or user’s API request or answer, it is known as a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack. They might take this communication’s private information (such as payment or account login credentials) or alter the substance of the request or answer.

  • Injections of code

Code injections, in which a hacker sends a program to the server of an application through free APIs requests, are another threat to APIs with holes in authentication and validation. This program aims to damage the application’s internals, disclose or remove data, and/or spread misleading information.

  • Attack via Denial-of-Service

Attacks known as denial-of-service (DoS) try to slow down, disable, or crash a web server by flooding its resources with API requests. This type of assault, known as a dispersed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, frequently originates from numerous malicious sources at once.


Methods for Securing APIs

  • Make security a top priority

Security for APIs shouldn’t be neglected or viewed as “someone else’s concern.” Organizations stand to lose a lot if their API free is unsecured, therefore make security a top priority and incorporate it into the API design from the start.

  • Manage the API inventory

No matter how many publicly accessible APIs a company has, it has to first be cognizant of their existence in order to safeguard and manage them. Unexpectedly, many of them are not. Perform perimeter scans to find and catalogue existing APIs, then collaborate with DevOps departments to maintain them.

  • Utilize a reliable solution for authentication and authorization

One of the biggest problems with many publicly accessible APIs is weak or nonexistent authentication and authorization. It’s crucial that an organization rigorously restricts access to API products because they serve as a gateway to its databases. Use OAuth2.0 and OpenID Connect-based solutions, which are based on reliable, tested authentication and authorization techniques, whenever possible.

  • Use the least privilege principle

This fundamental security principle states that just the minimal access required for a topic (people, processes, programs, systems, or devices) to perform a declared purpose should be granted. Best free APIs should be subject to the same rules.

  • TLS traffic encryption

While some organizations may decide not to encrypt API-transmitted data that is regarded as non-sensitive, TLS encryption should be seen as absolutely necessary for organizations whose APIs frequently share sensitive information (such as login information, debit card, social security, financial data, and health information).

  • Remove any information that is not intended for sharing

Since free API list is essentially developer tools, they frequently include credentials, passwords, and other data that needs to be removed before being made available to the general public. But occasionally this action is disregarded. To reduce unintentional disclosure of sensitive information, organizations should include vulnerability scanners in their DevSecOps procedures.

  • Limit the amount of data you disclose

Some best APIs give away a great deal of information, whether it be in the form of an excessive amount of irrelevant data or information that gives away a great deal about the API endpoint. This often happens when an API assigns the responsibility of data filtering to the interface rather than the endpoint. Make sure APIs only return the data required to carry out their intended function.

  • Verify the input

Never send endpoint input out of an API without first verifying it.

  • Utilize rate-limiting

Denial-of-service assaults can be avoided by setting a limit above which more requests will be turned down.

  • Make use of a web application firewall

Make sure it can comprehend API payloads.


Building modern applications, particularly for smartphones & Internet of Things (IoT) devices, has arguably shifted to using free public APIs. API keys play a crucial role in enabling developers to access and use these APIs. Although the idea of bringing data into a program from an external source is not new, some organizations might not yet be aware of the possible risks associated with making their APIs publicly available due to the rapidly changing app development methodologies and the need to innovate. Most businesses currently have defenses in place against well-known threats that might target APIs, like distributed denial-of-service, cross-site scripting, and injection. However, failing to protect API keys can lead to data breaches, unauthorized access, and misuse of sensitive information. Therefore, it’s crucial for organizations to implement proper security measures and safeguards to ensure that their API keys remain secure and protected.

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