4 API Design Security Tips

Security Holes

Updated on May 21st, 2019

APIs are huge nowadays. Developers and teams heavily rely on them to support the delivery of new services and products.That’s because an API can save you a ton of time and money by allowing you to add certain functions and features to your app without actually building them from scratch.

And while APIs aren’t exactly new – they were around when the first modern computer programs were being written – at the moment, they are going through a renaissance of sorts.According to Programmable Web, there are more than 15,000 APIs available for both web and mobile apps.

That’s because most legacy apps are now being rooted, companies are breaking down their apps into smaller pieces, and more and more apps are being connected to new front ends through APIs. However, things aren’t all that perfect in the API industry.

Security Problems That Come With APIs

As you already know, API design process is not exactly an easy thing. In fact, people have problems with everything from simple team communication to coming up with a single useful API documentation example. Security is a whole another animal.

Data safety nowadays is vital. It seems like not a day goes by without a new data leak/breach/theft scandal in the headlines. However, most developers tend to focus on agility and functionality rather than on safety.That’s not going to cut it.

You, as a developer, need to put security on the top of your priority list and come up with clear guidelines that will ensure that your API deployment doesn’t create any unnecessary security gaps.

In order to help you come with these guidelines, here are a couple of security tips –


1. Look For Security Holes

 Security Holes

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First off, you need to recognize that the fact that your can, in fact, create a certain security risk for the company that plans on using it.

All of your team members need to be on the same page about this. You can’t just get caught up in making your feature set as robust as possible and ignoring everything else.Basically, you can’t afford to think inside the box.

Cybercriminals definitely think outside of out. What’s worse, they are constantly looking for new ways to bypass your security measures and use your code for nefarious purposes. So establish that there are certain security risks and look for gaps all the time.


2. Test The API Multiple Times

API Multiple Times
While DevOps has made the whole development process much faster and easier, it has also given us more security holes than ever.

Due to a number of connections we now have, the need to test our software time and time again has become essential. Even if you follow the programming procedures closely, it doesn’t you’ll come up with a secure product on the first try.

According to research from the University of Virginia anywhere from 67% to 86% of modern apps have security holes their developers don’t even know about.


3. Keep An Eye On Add-On Software

Best Life Insurance Policy


As we keep on mentioning, API software is now more sophisticated than it ever was. This is a double edged sword because while it opens up new possibilities for developers, it also creates new problems.

Now, the most popular use of APIs is to allow 3rd-party devs to write add-on apps for certain platforms.The problem here is that this action gives the developers a high authorization level.

In some cases, the developers get the functionality of a system administrator. Some cybercriminals will try take advantage of this function and try to find new vulnerabilities of your API system.


4. Focus On Authentication

Focus on Authentication

The last security tip we have for you is to focus on authentication on the front end of the API. You see, APIs require other pieces of software to function properly. If you want to secure your code properly, you need to take the multi-authentication approach.

And as you probably know, this approach starts with authentication that checks to see if the person using the program is who they say they are.

That includes providing your username and password. But that’s not all, if you really want to make sure that the person is not a cybercriminal you should have them go through at least one more step of the authentication process.

The Bottom Line On API Safety

API usage is on the rise. This empowers companies of all sizes to build more versatile and dynamic apps. Nonetheless, API designers need to be aware of all the security risks that come with the territory if they want to continue putting out useful and valuable products.

We hope you enjoyed our article and that you found it useful. Do you have any questions? Do you feel like we missed out on something? If you have anything to add to the conversation, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.

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