API Penetration Testing

API penetration testing is the process of scanning your API to ensure vulnerabilities are minimized. The goal is to identify potential security weaknesses and, where possible, mitigate them before malicious actors discover them and cause further damage. API security testing is vital for organizations who want to ensure that the users of their APIs, external services, machines, or devices that interact with an API – have the utmost protection and security. Customers expect their personal and corporate data to be safe from potential threats. APIs should meet your (or your customers’) security and compliance expectations.

Why API Penetration Testing important?

API penetration testing is essential to ensure the security of an application. Testing the API allows potential security vulnerabilities to be identified and remediated before they can be exploited. Additionally, penetration testing can help to ensure that the API is functioning as intended and that there are no unanticipated security risks.

By conducting regular penetration tests, organizations can proactively reduce the risk of security breaches and ensure the safety of their data and systems.

In addition, API penetration testing can also help organizations to compliance and privacy regulations.

How API penetration testing differs from web application testing

API penetration testing is a type of testing that identifies vulnerabilities in an application programming interface (API). Unlike web application testing, which focuses on the user interface (UI) and transactions, API penetration testing drills down into the logic and functionality of the API itself.

To effectively test an API, penetration testers need a thorough understanding of its inner workings. They must know how data is passed back and forth between the client and server and how different inputs affect the output. To this end, API penetration testing is more technical than web application testing.

One of the critical differences between API and web application tests is the scope of what is being tested. A web application test focuses on the UI and the transactions between the user and the application.

On the other hand, an API test focuses on testing the API itself logic and functionality. This means testing how different inputs affect the output and what kind of data is passed back and forth between the client and server.

API tests are typically more technical than web application tests, as they require a thorough understanding of the API’s inner workings.

To effectively test an API, penetration testers need to know how data is passed back and forth between the client and server. They also need to know how different inputs will affect the output.

What are the risks?

API’s have increasingly become a target for hackers and malicious users over the years. Improper security can lead to massive data breaches and loss of user data which can go undetected due to the API being abused in a way that seems normal.

Not only are API’s becoming more of a target, but they are also given a lot more functionality of an application meaning that vital processes which may have been protected previously, can now be vulnerable to SQL injection, Cross-Site Scripting or other dangerous vulnerabilities which could be used to compromise the system or user data.

Best practices for API security

When it comes to ensuring API security, you need proper policies for authentication and authorization.

Some of the most common ways by which you can ensure API security include:

  • Access control:Authenticating API traffic using OAuth and JWT allows you to set access control rules to specific API resources.
  • Encryption:Encrypting data using TLS is a standard practice for API security. This would require users to provide a signature to decrypt and modify the data. It can help mitigate the risk of MITM attacks.
  • Vulnerability assessment: Doing automated penetration tests on your APIs can allow you to identify vulnerabilities at the right time and remediate them accordingly.
  • Quotas and throttling for APIs: Having quotas for how often an API can be called and tracking its usage over time can help you prevent abuse. Additionally, the throttling of APIs can mitigate the chances of DoS attacks.
  • Using an API gateway:An API gateway allows you to keep track of all API calls and do necessary monitoring to understand how the API utilization happens.

Our Methodology

We test a wide range of attack vectors including the OWASP API Top 10 2019, as well as our own specific testing methodology to ensure the best results. Much of what is tested for is to ensure the security of the application and its data, but also the security of other applications which may rely on the API for data or services. Authentication, authorisation, and injection as well as rate-limiting are just a small part of how we ensure the security of an API.