Top API Vulnerabilities that You Should be Aware of


Top API Vulnerabilities that You Should be Aware of

The constant evolution of technology has brought many new services and tools which completely depend on the integration between various software, application, and systems for better communication with consumers. These tools and services are attacked by malicious software and cause severe vulnerabilities.

The most prevalent API attacks are covered below, along with tips on how to completely avoid them. This will aid you in protecting your application from hackers and enhance the overall security of your company.

What is an API attack?

API (Application Programming Interface) is almost present everywhere in IT such as web platforms, mobile applications, cloud infrastructure, etc. The API facilitates the exchange of data with a wide variety of customers, partners, and employees. They form communication between the different systems with multiple codes without any help from the users.

Many APIs have become a challenging factor for many IT professionals. Cybercriminals are coming up with new techniques to attack the systems.  The hackers get access to sensitive, financial, and medical data information of an enterprise using vulnerable APIs which causes huge losses.

How does it work?

APIs are responsible for saving data on implementation techniques and their organizational structure. When a hacker gains control over this data, he can use it to carry out online assaults. Most of the time, the hacker will try to find API vulnerabilities. The difficulty in identifying API attacks is tedious because they differ from one another. Hence you must be familiar with the most typical types of API attacks and how they operate.

Let’s go deep to find the common API attacks and how to avoid them.

1. DoS/DDoS attacks

Denial of Service or Distributed Denial of Service aims to prevent the intended users from accessing the targeted system. DoS attacks have the complete potential to drain the victim’s resources with little bandwidth.

On the other part, a DDoS attack involves several terabits of incoming bandwidth per second. They attain so much publicity when these attacks occur on most known websites. These attacks have now been frequent among API endpoints.

2. SQL Injection attacks

It is a technique for inserting SQL queries through the system’s SQL database into input fields. They can be exploited if forms enable users to query the database using SQL commands. It is one of the long-standing attacks under API.

3. MITM(Man in the Middle)

It occurs when an attacker deliberately changes, relays, and intercepts requests and messages between two parties to get sensitive information. A hacker can completely manipulate the HTTP header, a user, and a session token issuing API.

This session token would give the hacker access to the user’s account and a wealth of private and sensitive data.

4. Excessive data exposure

Sensitive information like credit card numbers, passwords, session tokens, private health information, and others, is frequently processed and transferred by web apps. When this information is accessible to anyone on the server for anyone to access then it is information exposure.

This occurs mostly when an API does not filter the response before it reaches the client. It is considered the failure of the developer to handle the data correctly.

5. Improper assets management

When there are many versions of an API, and the developer forgets to remove the first one or in another case when a testing API endpoint is still connected to the production environment than an improper asset is created.

Updated documentation is highly important because APIs expose more endpoints than traditional web applications. Reducing concerns with outdated or vulnerable API versions is also largely dependent on effective inventory management.

6. Broken access control

Users are prevented from accessing outside the scope of their authorized permissions by an access control policy. Failure results in data deletion, data change, or information leakage. We can interfere with settings when searching for this kind of vulnerability and launch a successful attack. Depending on the vulnerability, the results could be disastrous.

An unauthorized person having access to a privileged function is the worst-case situation. As a result, they may be able to alter or remove website content or obtain sensitive user information.

7. Unencrypted communication

It is one of the simplest and most fundamental API security protection techniques is Transport layer security (TLS). It protects against the man-in-the-middle attack by encrypting the data transfer between the client and the server. Poodle is a famous TLS exploit that was discovered in 2014. It is a less secure.

How to avoid and defend from API vulnerabilities?

  • Make sure that only people with permission can access the system by using strong passwords and other security measures. Use two-factor authentication for users and make sure each user has a unique password. Stay up to date with the new security trends.
  • Regularly check your API for flaws. Before incorporating any user input into an application, developers must thoroughly verify it. To avoid Denial-of-Service attacks, you should also carefully manage the volume of incoming requests. Be cautious while building APIs to protect sensitive company information from exposure. Use penetration testing techniques to find any systemic flaws and address them as soon as you can.
  • Always confirm that user input is coming from a reliable source before acting on it. Online tools like the Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification (TRAC) program and the OWASP Top 10 for APIs are just a couple that may keep you informed.

Bottom Line

Information security is one of the crucial factors in the development life cycle. Hackers will continuously find new ways to exploit API security. Companies need to accomplish strong security strategies for the protection of API from hackers. API security should be the top priority if sensitive information is to be safeguarded.

We have looked at 7 different types of API vulnerabilities and how to defend them. Companies must be aware of vulnerabilities and take the required precautions to safeguard their APIs from malicious activities.

At Sapizon Technologies we write robust APIs for protecting your data and sensitive information.


Let’s work together to make your business journey successful.