How API attacks work and how to identify and prevent them.
What is an API attack and how does it work ?
The API, also known as application programming interface, is an intermediary tool within software that makes it easy for apps to connect with one another. The API will offer tools, routines and different protocols that make it easy to share and also extract data with ease. The web API will connect the app with other different services and platforms. Unfortunately, in recent years there have been a massive number of API attacks, and these continue to increase every month as well. But what is an API attack exactly and how does it work? Let’s find out.
How does the API attack work?
Most of the time APIs will keep information regarding implementation methods and their structure. When a hacker accesses this information, he can use it to launch cyber attacks. Usually, the attacker will try to find different API security vulnerabilities. These vary quite a bit, from no encryption to poor authentication and many others. The thing to note about API attacks is that they can be extremely different, so they are harder to spot. Which is why you need to know the most common API attack types and how they work.
Which are the most common API attacks?
DDoS attacks are in the headlines quite a bit these days. They are very common because they are easier to do by a lot of hackers. These are using multiple different systems with the idea of flooding the bandwidth of a website or website. This will overwhelm the web API memory with thousands upon thousands of connections at once. Hackers usually send a lot of information per request, and they issue lots of requests at once.
Aside from that, there are Man in the Middle attacks. The attacker will relay, modify and also intercept messages and communication between two parties. The hacker will intercept the session between two users, access the user accounts, and that will open the door to a lot of personal info and sensitive data the hacker can use at his disposal.
API injection attacks appear when hackers inject all kinds of malicious code into software, like XSS or SQLi in order to access private information. Of course, these are only a few API attack examples, there are many others like reverse engineering, spooring, session replays and so on.
What can you do?
The best thing you can do is to hire the right security team and ensure that you have the best possible cyber security protection. On top of that, you also want to use push notifications that automatically let you know whenever there are problems. In addition, you also want to apply solutions like two factor authentication, which adds an extra layer of protection to the system at hand. It’s also imperative to encrypt your data, which makes it way harder for attackers to identify your information and share it or use it in any way. It all comes down to protecting yourself, keeping your data safe and installing multiple protection layers that will restrict access to sensitive, private info!
API ATTACK TYPES
DDoS, short for distributed denial-of-service is a type of malicious attack on your website to disrupt the traffic of a particular network or targeted server. It is attempted by overwhelming the surrounding infrastructure of your website through internet traffic.
In general, a DDoS attack creates an unusual traffic jam on your website by clogging up the surrounding infrastructure. Consequently, the traffic is unable to reach your website.
API Injection Attacks
SQL Injection attacks are methods for inserting SQL queries into the input fields through the SQL database underlying the system. These defects can then be misused if forms enable users to query the database using SQL statements directly.
Man in the Middle (MITM)
A Man in the Middle attack exactly what it means; an attacker discreetly alters, relays, and intercepts messages and requests between two parties to obtain sensitive information. A hacker can act as a man in the middle between a session token issuing API to an HTTP header and a user. If the hacker can intercept that session token, it would grant him access to the user’s account, which can lead to (possibly) a tonne of sensitive and personal information.
The Web Parameter Tampering attack is based on the manipulation of parameters exchanged between client and server in order to modify application data, such as user credentials and permissions.
Web applications frequently process and transfer sensitive data: credit card information, passwords, session tokens, private health information, and more. If an application does not handle the data correctly—for example, by not encrypting in transit, or at rest—then it could be compromised.
Attackers might attempt to bypass or break the authentication methods that the API is using.
Transport Layer Security (TLS) is one of the most elementary API security protection method. the TLS encrypts the data exchange between client and the server, so you could avoid man in the middle attack.
API Attacks 2022
API Attacks 2022 by Gartner
Recent studies performed by Gartner suggest that in 2022, API attacks will become the most common attack vector. They are set to be the primary cause behind data breaches for web applications, business software and anything in between. There are many API security vulnerabilities that are already damaging many businesses all over the world.
In one of their studies, Gartner also found that around 40% of the web enabled apps are actually going to deal with API attacks instead of interface attacks. This will only get worse in the long run, a testament to the challenges faced by the industry at this time.
Why are API attacks so prevalent in 2022 and beyond?
The reason is simple, APIs are the main gateway to organization data and critical assets. Attackers use these API attacks to breach any type of security and sell sensitive, private data to the highest bidders. Many APIs create risks and paths that attackers are able to follow, until they reach the desired information. Over the past years, APIs managed to grow in functionality and scope, not to mention volume. That’s why they are now very attractive targets for hackers, hence the larger number of API attacks happening recently.
Companies lack a proper security strategy
Another reason why many API attacks are successful is the fact that many companies don’t have a proper security strategy. In fact, around 25% of the organizations running APIs don’t’ have any security strategy at all. On top of that, many businesses also lack any knowledge, expertise or personnel that would actually handle these challenges appropriately. Which is why it’s more important than ever to implement the right strategy and ensure that the company has ways to deal with any type of attacks.
Some organizations also have issues creating API inventories. Many times, the API documentation is inaccurate, incomplete or downright missing. That’s why some companies lack confidence when it comes to the API inventory.
What can we expect from API attacks in 2022?
It’s important to understand that API security attacks will become more complex and diverse in 2022. According to the Gartner studies, hackers have become a lot more powerful and they are trying to uncover new ways to access private data and ruin company reputations. Thankfully, security software and privacy solutions have evolved too, which is why API attacks might not be as problematic in the year to come.
With that in mind, it all comes down to the APIs companies are using and how they protect themselves from attackers. There’s still a low number of companies that are actively focused on protecting themselves and their assets, which is why it’s imperative to focus a lot more on API attacks in 2022. These cybersecurity threats can have a devastating effect on any business, regardless of the industry. That’s why investing in the best cyber security solutions which use state of the art technologies is incredibly important, as it can bring in outstanding protection!
Prevent API Attack
Performing all the API security checklist tasks like push notifications, 2FA or encrypting data won’t always protect you. That’s the reason why you want to uncover better, more comprehensive security solutions, and AI based API security can be the right option. What makes L7 Defense unique is that it uses a distinct, powerful approach designed to analyze traffic and identify any possible problems. L7 Defense cutting-edge AI based solution approach makes easier than ever to not only identify API attacks very quickly, but also eliminate them before they cause any type of damage. That’s why L7 Defense was awarded the Frost & Sullivan’s 2020 Global Product Leadership Award recently. With its automated, AI based API, machine learning is a lot better, more comprehensive, efficient and it can deliver outstanding benefits to businesses all over the world!
API security attacks are growing more advanced all the time and there are a wide range of algorithms and support items that can help to protect against attacks as well as block incoming threats. With the advanced nature of many API attacks today, there are a number of API security providers that are now introducing machine learning and different aspects of data science in order to improve the level of protection available to their clients.
API security attacks are some of the most significant threats to small and large businesses today. With API security using AI technology it’s possible to use a supervised and unsupervised technique to improve the detection of a threat. Deep learning in AI is able to offer a 96% accuracy for the classification of various API threats using a safe connection.
Some of the top ways that AI solution can assist with identifying threats includes the process of managing data for various attributes in a rapid format.
AI can also be used to gather and collect data about exploratory threats. Using various AI systems, it can be possible to interpret data surrounding the nature of AI threats and to make sure that as strategies are changing it’s possible to learn and improve performance from a security perspective. By gathering new data sets regarding API security attacks and finding better evaluation standards for new threats, it is possible to scale performance and to offer a greater accuracy in the detection of new threats.
Ammune™ Makes API Security Simple
“Local” and fast installation (on-premise, cloud, or hosted)
Automaticaly detects and mitigates attacks instantly
The proven AI technology keeps the error rate low and close to zero
Ammune™ is deployed in datacenters, public clouds and local on-premise, operating as a standalone or hybrid solution in these environments.
L7 Defense operates at leading public clouds, collaborating with major tech vendors, to provide organizations with top-notch inline API security.