Experts Blog

Creating Secure Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)
July 6, 2023
Fortalice Solutions

What is an API, and how are they used?

An application programming interface (API) is a set of protocols, routines, and tools for building software applications. It is commonly developed to provide an interface with standard services for programmatic functionalities so that code for common functionalities do not have to be rewritten from scratch each time it is required. This is like code reuse, which is when developers reuse quality code to perform common tasks, without needing to rewrite code each time.

APIs are often used to facilitate interactions, most often between the frontend of an application and backend data servers that allow developers to access the features or data of an application or another service.

What is API security, and why is securing your APIs meaningful?

API security protects an API’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Securing your API is essential as it helps protect your application and your data from malicious attacks, such as data theft, malicious code injection, and denial of service attacks. It also helps ensure only authorized users can access your API and the data behind it. Do not wait until a security incident occurs to act. Prioritizing API security today will protect your business and customers from the devastating consequences of cyber-attacks tomorrow.

What types of security problems do APIs have?

  1. APIs can fall victim to many of the same vulnerabilities as applications. For a detailed list of the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) API Security Top 10 Vulnerabilities, click here.

How can I best secure my API?

There are several best practice steps you can take to secure your API from vulnerabilities:

  1. Implement strong authentication: Require users to authenticate themselves before accessing your API. Use secure authentication methods, such as OAuth or JSON Web Tokens (JWT), and enforce strong password policies.
  1. Use HTTPS: HTTPS encrypts all communication between clients and the API. This will help prevent man-in-the-middle attacks, where an attacker intercepts the communication and steals sensitive data.
  1. Validate user input: Ensure all user input is validated before the API processes it. This will help prevent attacks like SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS).
  1. Limit access: Only allow access to the parts of the API necessary for each user. Use role-based access control (RBAC) to limit users' actions within the API.
  1. Monitor and log activity: Keep track of all API activity, including successful and failed requests. This will help you identify suspicious behavior and respond quickly to security incidents.
  1. Regularly update and patch: Keep your API updated with the latest security patches and updates to address known vulnerabilities.
  1. Regular security assessments: Periodically conduct security assessments to identify and address any new or emerging security risks.

API development is incredibly popular due to accelerated digital transformation efforts. APIs play a key role in internet and mobile apps and Internet-of-Things (IoT) interactions. When dealing with APIs, it is important to understand that internal threats create external attack opportunities. The most significant data leaks are due to faulty, vulnerable, or hacked APIs, which can reveal medical, financial, and personal data to the public. Additionally, various attacks can occur if an API is not secured correctly, making API security a vital aspect for data-driven businesses today.

Fortalice is committed to providing you with the tools and confidence to fortify your interests, protect your organization, and maintain a strategic advantage over adversaries. If you have any questions or assistance in implementing necessary threat mitigation steps for your organization, please do not hesitate to reach out to us via email at

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