APIsec Resource Center

Check out our latest articles covering how you can protect your APIs from vulnerabilities and other threats

FEATURED ARTICLE

What Is OWASP API Security Top 10: A Deep Dive

The rise of APIs has changed the landscape of vulnerabilities so fundamentally that a new approach was necessary, and 2019 OWASP added the API Security Top 10 list.
July 20, 2021
 • 
10 min read
Read Story
Tags
No items found.

Christine Bevilacqua

API Security

HIPAA (Data Privacy) vs 21st Century Cures Act (Interoperability): Reducing the Conflict in the Healthcare Industry

HIPAA (Data Privacy) vs 21st Century Cures Act (Interoperability): Reducing the Conflict in the Healthcare Industry Interoperability in healthcare is essential for creating a more connected, patient-centered healthcare system that delivers better patient outcomes, improves efficiency, and reduces costs. So, in December 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law. This act aims to promote innovation, improve patient outcomes, and strengthen public health through various initiatives and funding measures – including interoperability. The Cures Act contains key provisions to improve the interoperability of electronic health records (EHRs), making it easier for healthcare providers to access and share patient data. What Role Do APIs Play in the Interoperability of EHR? APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are crucial to delivering EHR interoperability. APIs allow different EHR systems to communicate with each other and exchange data in a standardized and secure manner. With APIs, disparate providers and institutions can easily communicate to support clinical decision-making and enable telehealth platforms and patient portals, improving the quality of patient care and outcomes. APIs can also enhance the efficiency of healthcare workflows by automating data exchange between different systems, reducing administrative burdens, and enabling healthcare providers to focus on delivering high-quality care. Security vs Access and Quality of Care The challenge? How to balance the benefits that EHR interoperability brings with the need to maintain patient privacy and comply with regulations like HIPAA, which establish stringent standards for safeguarding the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information (PHI). Fortunately, some simple steps will ensure sensitive patient data remains protected and secure while providing the right people with access to information at the right time to deliver high-quality care. Here are some critical steps to ensure interoperability while maintaining patient privacy: 1. Use standardized protocols: To ensure that patient data is transmitted securely between different EHR systems, it is essential to use standardized protocols such as FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) and HL7 (Health Level Seven). These protocols are designed to protect patient privacy and ensure data integrity.‍ 2. Implement access controls: Access controls can help ensure that only authorized individuals can access patient data. This can be achieved through role-based access control (RBAC), which assigns different levels of access based on an individual's job responsibilities.‍ 3. Implement API governance: Ensure that all internal or external APIs are properly documented and managed in a centralized location(s), and that security teams have audit access and controls for every API addition or update. 4. Security Test APIs before production: Run continuous API security testing (minimally testing for the OWASP API Top 10) throughout the software development cycle. 5. Use encryption: Encryption can help protect patient data during transmission and storage. EHR systems should use encryption techniques such as TLS (Transport Layer Security) and AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) to protect patient data.‍ Ready for more? Join APIsec University on March 23 at 12pm ET and hear from other security leaders in healthcare as they share how their teams are delivering EHR interoperability while protecting patient privacy. Register at https://my.demio.com/ref/72PV2P5dQ13vXjjP
March 21, 2023
5 mins
No items found.

Dan Barahona

API Security

How to Choose an API Security Tech Stack

How to Choose an API Security Tech Stack APIs are rapidly on their way to becoming the most popular attack vector. That's why ensuring you have a good security strategy in place is essential— the right tech stack can help with this. There are many tools on the market to choose from, each with features that help secure your digital assets. But how do you sort through these API security tools to build the right stack for your business? In this blog post, we'll walk you through the different types of security testing tools and which factors you need to look at when choosing the best stack for your needs. TLDR Key Takeaways Your security stack is usually made up of a few different types of testing tools, each designed to complete specific tasks. With automation, you can test every combination of inputs and outputs and reduce various human errors, especially when time constraints or budget make manual testing unaffordable. If your security solution isn't designed with speed in mind, you might be prolonging the development process and ultimately jeopardizing the system's integrity. 4 Types of API Security Testing Tools Just as a writer may use a range of copywriting tools to help them fine-tune their content, your security stack is usually composed of a few different types of security testing tools—each designed to complete various tasks. Let's break down the four most common types of testing tools you'll run into: Penetration testing tools: They simulate real-world attacks on APIs and are used to identify vulnerabilities hackers may exploit. Some popular penetration testing tools include Kali Linux, Burp Suite, and OWASP ZAP. Vulnerability scanners: As the name implies, these tools scan for known API vulnerabilities and are used to find both security and performance issues. Some popular vulnerability scanners include Acunetix, Nessus, and beSECURE. Bug bounty programs: These allow companies to crowdsource security testing by offering rewards for finding vulnerabilities. Some popular platforms to host bug bounty programs include HackerOne and Bugcrowd; alternatively, your company can host its own program. Continuous API security testing solutions: These tools provide automated tests that run on a regular basis, helping you find issues quickly and ensure that they are fixed in a timely manner. Some popular continuous API testing solutions include APIsec, SoapUI, and Postman. When looking at different technologies for your tech stack, it's important to take the time and evaluate what each one offers, as each has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, some tools are very limited in their capabilities, only focusing on securing certain aspects of your API. This will require you to invest in additional tools to cover what's left over. On the other hand, some tools, like APIsec, allow you to combine multiple types of testing in a single solution, giving you comprehensive coverage. Drilling Down Into the Factors You Need to Consider When Choosing Your API Security Tech Stack Now that you understand the types of testing tools you'll run into, it's time to look at how you'll evaluate whether or not the tool is right for your tech stack. We've gone ahead and drilled down into the most critical factors you'll need to examine to make an informed decision. The following is a quick cheat sheet that covers the main things you should consider and how they stack up for each testing type: Automation Automation is arguably the most crucial factor to consider when choosing your API security tech stack. Why? Because if you're not automating your API security, you're doing it manually. And that's a huge mistake. It's nearly impossible to manually test every possible input and output combination because there's simply not enough time in the day or a big enough budget. On top of that, manual API security is error-prone and not feasible at scale. That's why automation is absolutely essential for your testing tools. Automated testing allows you to: Cover a much larger attack surface Run tests more frequently Identify and respond to threats much faster than manual testing Reduce operational costs Reduce human error Ideally, you should look for a solution that offers a high degree of automation so that you can set it up once and then forget about it. That way, your teams can focus on more important things, safe in the knowledge that your APIs are well-protected. Coverage As the threat landscape continues to evolve, malicious actors are always looking for new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in your APIs, which is why you need to ensure you have complete coverage. If you don't take coverage into account, you may find yourself with gaps in your protection. Attackers can exploit these gaps, leading to data breaches and other security issues. Most security testing tools only focus on identifying commonly known vulnerabilities, such as OWASP's Top 10, but they fail to catch business logic flaws. To ensure adequate coverage, you need to select an API security solution that offers comprehensive protection that will be able to protect against a wide range of threats, including legitimate users who are abusing their privileges. Costs If it were up to your dev and security teams, you'd probably utilize dozens of testing tools, but unfortunately, your budget probably can't handle that many tools. When deciding which tools you want to include in your security tech stack, you'll need to weigh the upfront costs of the solution against the long-term benefits it provides. If you don't carefully consider the cost of your API security solution, it could end up costing you more in the long run, as you'll need to supplement with other testing tools. For example, manual pen testing is extremely expensive, and most businesses can only afford to complete tests annually, meaning you have to adopt another solution to ensure your API is secure for the other 364 days of the year. On the other hand, you might invest in a more budget-friendly bug bounty program, but you end up missing critical vulnerabilities because you didn't have the budget to offer attractive payouts. It's crucial to take the time to consider all of the costs associated with API security and to choose an affordable yet effective solution. Doing so can ensure that your business is protected from the ever-growing threats posed by cybercriminals. Scalability As your business grows, you'll need to be able to scale up your API security solution accordingly. Otherwise, you may find yourself with inadequate security setups that leave your system vulnerable and cause major bottlenecks. For example, you might add new APIs, roll out new versions of your product, or create new packages. All of these actions create new endpoints, calls, and parameters that require testing to be secured. By taking scalability into account from the beginning, you can avoid these issues and ensure that your API can grow with your business. Accuracy You could have a top-of-the-line security solution with all the bells and whistles, but if it's inaccurate, what good is it? All you'll end up with is a noisy system that produces an overwhelming amount of false positives your team will have to filter through. Eventually, something will slip through the cracks, and it will compromise your system. Instead, you need tools with a high accuracy rate so you can: Ensure the data being passed through the API is correct and consistent Improve the overall performance of the system by reducing latency and improving response times Identify attack warning signs quickly Investigate and respond to incidents in a timely manner Ideally, you should look for a solution that has a high degree of accuracy so that you can be confident that any alerts are genuine threats. Speed The importance of testing speed is growing as DevOps teams adopt agile practices. This means that security testing needs to be done quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, many API security solutions are not designed with speed in mind. This can lead to delays in the development process and ultimately jeopardize the system's security. The faster you can test, the faster devs can identify and fix vulnerabilities. Plus, it's easier to fix bugs early in development while code is still fresh in their minds than it is to fix them in production. To ensure that your API security tech stack includes fast and effective testing, you'll want to look for: Support for parallel testing: Parallel testing allows you to run multiple tests simultaneously, which can greatly speed up the testing process. A comprehensive test suite: A comprehensive test suite will cover all aspects of your API, including functionality, performance, and security. Flexible reporting options: Flexible reporting options allow you to customize the information you receive from your tests. This can help you identify areas that need improvement and track progress over time. Reliability Just like we discussed with accuracy, what's the point of having security measures in place if they're not going to be reliable? Malicious actors are constantly looking for ways to exploit these "doorways" into your application and its sensitive data, and if your API security solution is unreliable, it can leave your API vulnerable to attack. An unreliable API security solution may not be able to detect and defend against emerging attacks, leading to data breaches, loss of customer trust, and damage to your brand. Don't gamble with your API security. Choose a solution that is backed by a team of experts who are constantly monitoring the latest threats and developing new defenses. The #1 Tool for Your API Security Tech Stack When it comes to API security, there is one tool that stands out above the rest: APIsec. We are one of the only solutions on the market that combine automated pen testing, vulnerability scanning, and continuous testing all in one, giving you unparalleled protection for your APIs. By leveraging the latest security technologies, we've created a solution tailored to meet your unique system's needs. With our solution, you can secure your APIs from a multitude of attacks, including OWASP's Top 10, business logic vulnerabilities, and much more. Plus, our cloud-based solution is easy to use and integrates seamlessly with your existing infrastructure. Check out this quick video that shows you exactly how it works: So why wait? Get your free API scan, or schedule a free demo.
November 15, 2022
6 mins
No items found.

Dan Barahona

API Testing

Top 5 Burp Suite Alternatives for API Security Testing

Top 5 Burp Suite Alternatives for API Security Testing As more and more organizations move towards microservices and adopt APIs to expose their data and services, the need for comprehensive API security testing tools becomes increasingly apparent. While Burp Suite is one popular option, several other powerful tools are available that you may have never heard about. In this blog post, we'll explore five Burp Suite alternatives that are worth considering. Each tool has its own strengths and weaknesses, so be sure to choose the one that best suits your needs. Let's get started! What Are the Best Burp Suite Alternatives Here are our top picks for the best Burp Suite alternatives to use this year: APIsec ZAP Acunetix Astra Pentest beSECURE 1. APIsec APIsec is designed to give users a complete view of their API security posture by providing detailed information on every aspect of an API's security, making it easy for users to identify potential vulnerabilities and take steps to mitigate them. Using a zero-touch deployment model, APIsec finds the most serious security vulnerabilities in APIs at the same speed as DevOps. The platform is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly, with a simple, straightforward interface that makes it easy to get started with API security testing, even for those with no prior experience. APIsec has several features specifically tailored for testing APIs, making it just as effective as Burp Suite at identifying vulnerabilities. Top Features Actionable reporting: APIsec provides detailed reports showing exactly what vulnerabilities were found and how to fix them. Complete coverage: Once integrated into your system, APIsec learns your API's unique architecture and discovers any weaknesses that could be exploited—especially ones that hide in your business logic layer. Fully Automated: APIsec's automated tests are quick and easy to run, allowing you the flexibility of integrating test coverage for every vulnerability listing in OWASP Top 10 and business logic flaws. Flexible pricing: APIsec offers several packages allowing businesses to choose the best plan for their needs and budget. 2. ZAP One of the most popular Burp Suite alternatives, Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP), is an open-source web application security scanner developed by OWASP that is used by thousands of organizations worldwide. ZAP's ability to intercept and modify requests makes it ideal for testing web application security. It also has a wide range of features, including an automated scanner, spider, proxy, and fuzzer. The latest security vulnerabilities are constantly updated in ZAP, so you can be guaranteed that your API testing is always current. ZAP is an impressive program with many features, however, new users reported feeling overwhelmed by its interface at first. Top Features Customizable: You can install extensions on top of ZAP's framework to extend its functionality with custom scripts and plugins. Intercepting proxy: With this feature, you can intercept and modify requests to your web application server. Automatic Scripting: ZAPscript makes it easy to automate many of your application security testing needs with scripts written in almost any programming language. 3. Acunetix Acunetix is an easy-to-use web application security testing platform that provides comprehensive and accurate results. Its many features make it an excellent Burp Suite alternative for API security testing. The platform is unique in detecting and exploiting various vulnerabilities, including cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection, and remote code execution (RCE). Acunetix is able to automatically generate documentation for APIs, making it easier for developers to understand and use the tool. However, some users reported that Acunetix requires a bit of configuration to get up and running, which can be frustrating. Top Features User-friendly dashboard: The platform offers a centralized view of all vulnerabilities across your entire infrastructure, making it easy to track and fix issues. Vulnerability management: Use vulnerability intelligence to remediate errors faster and with less manual effort by automatically eliminating false positives and receiving detailed reports that show compromised lines of code. Blended scanning: With DAST and IAST scanning, you'll uncover thousands of vulnerabilities to put your site at risk. 4. Astra Pentest Astra Pentest combines a penetration testing solution with an automated vulnerability scanner, which automatically detects vulnerabilities while still allowing manual review. Astra's intelligent scanner builds on top of your past pentest data, using intel about new hacks and common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs). This tool is an ideal choice for those who are new to API testing or do not have the technical expertise to install and configure Burp Suite. There are some reports detailing instances that this scanning tool is not always capable of detecting some malware attacks, letting some potential vulnerabilities slip through the cracks. Top Features Convenient integrations: Astra's platform connects your existing tech stack with security in order to enable developers to collaborate seamlessly and track progress via Slack and Jira. Interactive dashboard: With Astra's dashboard, you can see your team's progress in real-time, giving you full visibility into what actions need to be taken and when. Vulnerability scanner: With its 2500+ tests and the ability to scan assets in seconds, Astra ensures you are covered against vulnerabilities that could be exploited by cybercriminals. 5. beSECURE BeSECURE is an all-in-one API security testing platform that helps developers secure their APIs from attacks. The platform includes a powerful set of tools for automation and reporting, making it one of the most comprehensive solutions available for API security testing. The simple yet powerful user interface of beSECURE makes it easy to get started. You can also take advantage of the wide range of features it has. The biggest disadvantage of beSECURE is that it is not as widely adopted as Burp Suite, meaning that there is a smaller community of users and resources available. Top Features Flexible deployment: BeSECURE's flexible deployment models allow you to choose from cloud-based, on-premise, or hybrid cloud options. Automatic updates: Stay ahead of the latest threats with automatic updates to our vulnerability database Continuous scanning: The system continually scans, detects, and blocks 99% of all possible vulnerabilities with a high degree of accuracy. Final Thoughts So there you have it—the top five Burp Suite alternatives for API security testing. Each of these tools has its own unique features and capabilities that make it worth considering. In your search for the right security testing tool, keep these things in mind: Is the tool compatible with your development stack? Can it work with the language your APIs are written in? How intuitive and user-friendly is it? Is the pricing within your budget? How much support exists? Ultimately, the right tool for you will depend on your specific needs and requirements. If you're still unsure which tool would be best for you, don't worry! A member of your team is happy to help you with any questions you might have. We'll give your API a free vulnerability assessment and go over your options. Reach out to our experts and see how easy API security testing should be.
November 15, 2022
5 mins
No items found.

Dan Barahona

FinTech

What the OCC's Bank Supervision Operating Plan for Fiscal Year 2023 Means for Community Banks and FinTechs

Open Banking places consumers at the center of a banking experience made up of interconnected, yet independent services. At the same time, Open Banking offers technology-forward banks the chance to reshape their business models and re-orient their relationship with clients to grow market share and increase profitability. At the heart of the Open Banking revolution is data; specifically the infrastructure of databases, data standards, and open APIs that make the free flow of data between banks, third party service providers, and consumers possible. Priority Objectives for CBS Operating Units The emphasis for fiscal year 2023 is on risk-focused bank supervision, specifically cyber security and data protection. “The threats for many financial institutions continue to expand at a rapid pace as the interconnectedness of multiple specialized service providers and FinTechs increases, digitalization of critical infrastructure components proliferates, and reliance on cloud services grows rapidly.” Per the OCC Bank Supervision Operating Plan for Fiscal Year 2023, in the coming year, the OCC will focus more on a select few key areas. Third-parties and Related Concentrations Third-party relationships are a source of financial institution risk, but it is important to understand how these risks appear and what steps taken by banks can reduce them. Common risk attributes include: Customer-facing products and services Critical elements needed for bank operations Significant concentrations Factors that may affect the bank's operational resilience Regulatory compliance, including Bank Secrecy Act and consumer protection laws Examiners must determine whether the bank and third parties possess adequate, qualified personnel to mitigate these risks and meet contractual obligations. Additionally, examiners must evaluate how the bank assesses a third party's cybersecurity risk management and resilience capabilities. New Products and Services To remain vigilant, bank examiners should assess whether banks can still see potential threats in new growth opportunities. As part of the strategic planning process, they must understand how innovative or new activities offered through third parties affect financial performance and risks. Payments: Examiners should evaluate products and services (both new and existing) for potential operational, compliance, strategic, credit, liquidity, and reputation risks. Additionally, they should consider how they will assess and manage these risks in their institution-wide risk assessments, as well as new product reviews. FinTech and digital assets: Examiners should identify and evaluate changes to governance processes for banks applying new technological innovations to their operations, such as: Cloud computing Artificial intelligence Digitalization of risk management processes Engaging in banking-as-a-service arrangements Crypto-related products and services and other new products and services need to be evaluated by examiners for risk management practices, which include: Evaluating due diligence activities Assessing the expertise needed to manage technology, financial, operational, compliance, strategic, reputational, and other risks. Operational Resilience and Cybersecurity To ensure FinTechs are resilient to the ever-changing cybersecurity threat landscape, examinations must focus on fundamental controls to identify, detect, and prevent threats and vulnerabilities. These include, but are not limited to: Authentication Access controls segmentation Patch management End-of-life programs Additionally, auditors should assess how effective the governance processes are in relation to technology investment and implementing changes in systems and infrastructure. What Does This Mean for API Security Teams? With the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's Committee on Bank Supervision prioritizing cybersecurity more than ever before, banks and FinTech companies should shift their focus accordingly to ensure a safe environment for their users. This means taking proactive measures to protect their digital infrastructure from data breaches and other cyber threats. But with so many attack vectors, how should you prioritize your efforts? Gartner knows the answer, projecting that APIs are well on their way to becoming the primary attack vector in 2022 and beyond. Your APIs are the main target for cybercriminals trying to access your financial data, so your cybersecurity strategy for 2023 should prioritize API security. Top 4 Tips to Protect Your FinTech APIs Now that you know that APIs should be your main focus, how should you prioritize your efforts? To help you get started, here are some actionable tips to reduce your API attack surface and minimize your risk. 1. Cover the OWASP API Security Top 10 List You need to cover the essentials first, so it's a good idea to start by tackling some of the most common API vulnerabilities and threats. Fortunately, you don't need to hire an expensive cybersecurity firm to get the list of action items. It already exists, and it's called the OWASP API Security Top 10 list. This list is developed by OWASP, an industry-leading non-profit organization that aims to promote a safer Web by spreading awareness around the most common cybersecurity threats. The API security top 10 list is explicitly tailored to APIs, giving you an idea of which vulnerabilities you should prioritize. ‍ Here's a quick recap of the OWASP Top 10 list: ‍ 2. Analyze Your APIs for Business Logic Flaws While the OWASP list covers the most popular attack vectors, business logic flaws are, by far, the most dangerous ones. Why is that the case? Business logic vulnerabilities occur when the attacker can abuse the flaws in the legitimate functionalities of your APIs, allowing them to gain unauthorized access to data without resorting to any exploits. But what makes them truly dangerous is the fact that since this cluster of vulnerabilities occurs because of how the API is built, they're virtually impossible to detect at scale with penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, or bug bounty programs. Every API has its unique architecture, meaning that each API will have its own unique business logic flaws. This is why tackling this API threat is so paramount. 3. Implement a Zero-trust Security Model Most systems rigorously monitor requests from new users. But once they're in, they give them a certain level of trust, meaning that the system no longer views them as a threat. This approach fails as the attacker can easily take advantage of your APIs once they’ve gained access. That's where the zero-trust security model comes in. As opposed to trusting a certain group of users based on their privilege level, the model treats everyone as a potential security threat at all times. This means that every user and every request should be constantly monitored and evaluated from a security perspective, drastically reducing the likelihood of a successful data breach. That's why implementing the zero-trust security model across all of your API assets can help you add another layer of security. 4. Implement Automated API Security Testing Whenever your API is updated, you potentially open up new loopholes that attackers can abuse. Traditional testing methods are time and labor intensive, as well as costly. As a result, most organizations test their API security only once or twice a year, leaving their APIs ripe for the picking. However, with the rise of AI and machine learning came solutions that allow for automated, comprehensive, and continuous API security testing at scale. One of them is APIsec. APIsec is a fully automated API security testing solution that can automatically dissect every corner of your APIs to generate thousands of custom-tailored attack scenarios and execute them in minutes. Solutions like APIsec helps you security test for the entire OWASP list as well as business logic flaws that are unique to your APIs. Now your application security teams can run a full security check on every build for a fraction of the cost of manual pen testing. ‍ ‍ ‍
November 7, 2022
5 minutes
Penetration Testing

Dan Barahona

API Testing

Best Penetration Testing Tools to Secure Your APIs

What is Penetration Testing? Penetration testing, also known as ethical hacking, is a simulated cyberattack carried out by professionals to assess the security of a computer system or network. Pen tests are a key component of an organization's security strategy that helps you identify vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit. Organizations can then take steps to mitigate these risks and protect their systems more effectively. Organizations should consider penetration testing as part of their wider security strategy. Regular testing can help to identify weaknesses in systems before malicious actors exploit them. What are the Best Penetration Testing Tools? While there are a variety of tools available on the market, these are our top picks for the best penetration testing tools in 2022: APIsec Kali Linux Burp Suite ZAP Astra Pentest 1. APIsec APIsec provides an automated approach to finding the most serious security vulnerabilities in your APIs using a zero-touch deployment model that runs at speeds comparable with DevOps practices. Unlike other testing methods where you have to spend hours writing test scripts, APIsec uses an AI-based solution to write thousands of test cases unique to your API's architecture. The APIsec platform has been proven to be one of the most effective automated pen testing tools on today's market because it can find both common vulnerabilities as well hidden business logic flaws (loopholes that allow attackers to exploit legitimate functions of your API). Top Features Fully Automated Pen Tests: APIsec's automated pen tests take only minutes to run, allowing you to test your APIs with every new release. Business Logic Flaw Identification: APIsec analyzes every aspect of your API so it can find and illuminate deeply buried business logic flaws that other testing tools miss. AI-Powered: APIsec uses the power of machine learning to deeply understand how your APIs work, creating a unique solution. Actionable Insight Integration: APIsec provides the most actionable insights directly into your dev workflow to ensure that vulnerabilities are never left unnoticed. Pricing Before selecting one of APIsec's three main packages, customers can take advantage of APIsec's free API assessment to find any vulnerabilities in their endpoints and receive a detailed report on the findings. Aside from that, they offer: Standard ($500 per month*): The robust plan includes over 100 API test categories to choose from and full OWASP coverage with daily tests for both application logic and security. Professional ($1,950 per month*): This plan is the perfect option for those looking to take their operation up a notch. It includes advanced ticketing, pipeline integration, and single sign-on capabilities with APIs that other applications or systems can use within your business. Enterprise (Contact for price): With this plan, you get access to every feature APIsec has in its arsenal, from volume discounts and account management to a dedicated team of support professionals who can create custom test categories for your business needs. *Note: All prices apply per API. Why we recommend this tool: APIsec's innovative approach to securing APIs and uncovering business logic flaws makes them the best pen testing tool for protecting you against potential threats. 2. Kali Linux Kali Linux is a powerful open-source distribution tool geared toward those who want to perform penetration tests and other information security tasks. It provides common tools, configurations, and automations, so you can focus on your task without getting distracted by other aspects of security research or software development practices. The Kali toolkit includes everything you'll need for testing and auditing, including several hundred tools for various information technologies like penetration testing, computer forensics (including reverse engineering), and vulnerability management. Since Kali is tailored to security professionals, you'll need a decent understanding of the Linux operating system and other advanced security protocols to get the most out of it. Top Features Hundreds of Pen Tests: Kali includes over 600 penetration testing tools, which can be used for discovering vulnerabilities in an organization's system or network structure. Built-In Integrations: Kali easily integrates with other penetration testing tools like Wireshark and Metasploit, making this the solid choice for anyone who needs to take their security game up a notch. Wireless Device Support: Kali Linux is versatile and compatible with a wide range of wireless devices, allowing it to run properly on a wide variety of hardware. Pricing The developers of this distribution are committed to providing an open-source, free operating system for anyone. They will never charge you a penny! Why we recommend this tool: Kali Linux is made with pen testing professionals in mind, and if you're comfortable using Linux and command line, then this software will provide all of your needs. 3. Burp Suite Burp Suite is one of the most popular tools out there. It's a comprehensive platform that covers all aspects of pen testing, from reconnaissance to exploitation. BurpSuite aims to be a versatile tool that can be customized to meet your needs. It's possible for you to download add-ons called "BApps," which will provide additional functionality and enhance the capabilities you already have. Burp Suite is one of the best "man in the middle" tools for website penetration testing/exploit development, giving you complete control to see what's going on. Like any other complex system, many pieces in Burp Suite need detailed knowledge for you to get the most out of them. Top Features Intercepting Proxy: This feature allows you to intercept and modify traffic passing between your browser and the target website. Intruder: The intruder tool is a brute-force attack tool that can be used to guess passwords, cookies, and other types of information. Spider: The spider tool crawls the target application, following links and submitting forms to build up a map of the application's functionality. Pricing Burp Suite is available in both a free and paid version. The free version is fully functional, but it does have some limitations. The paid versions include: Burp Suite Professional: This package costs $449 per user per year, but you can add more people to your account at any time. The price is calculated based on how many remaining days there are in their current subscriptions. Burp Suite Enterprise: This edition comes at a price of $8,395 per year, which includes one concurrent scan. You can add another for an additional $599. Why we recommend this tool: Burp Suite is a comprehensive penetration testing platform that can be customized to meet your specific requirements and covers a wide range of testing requirements. 4. ZAP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is a dynamic application security testing tool for finding vulnerabilities in web applications, and like all OWASP projects, it's completely free and open source. The OWASP ZAP is an excellent tool to use in place of Burp Suite. The ZAP security scanner can find potential vulnerabilities in your web application even before it's deployed. This is made easy by the automated nature of this tool. It can be easily deployed at scale because it is open-source, so it makes an ideal beginner's tool for assessing web traffic security. Zap is a great tool for beginners, but it falls short when you want more details and higher coverage of your scan. Top Features AJAX Spidering: The advanced testing tool for discovering requests on AJAX-rich web apps that cannot be found with traditional tools, and you customize your crawl configurations. Automated Scripting: With ZAP's extensibility and scriptability features, you can automate many of your application security testing needs with scripts written in almost any programming language. Intercepting Proxy: With the help of this amazing feature, you can analyze how your web application server responds when it receives certain types of messages. Pricing As an open-source tool, ZAP is free. Why we recommend this tool: It's easy enough for anyone, even if you're just starting out with pen testing or have some experience under your belt—it will suit all levels of expertise. 5. Astra Pentest The Astra Pentest is a premier API pen test tool that can conduct more than 3000 tests to find vulnerabilities within APIs. The platform is designed to be simple and straightforward, making it ideal for beginners. It also offers a wide range of features, making it a versatile tool for more experienced users. Astra's security engine is powered by creative hacker knowledge and constantly evolves their techniques to stay one step ahead of today's most sophisticated cybercriminals and hackers. Even though they provide a solid platform for all your security testing needs, they aren't pen testing professionals. Top Features Interactive Dashboard: With their all-purpose dashboard, you can manage and monitor vulnerabilities from anywhere in the world. Actionable Reports: The platform creates a detailed and comprehensive report that is easy to read and contains all of the information necessary for taking action on its findings. Easy to Integrate: With Astra's pentest platform, you can integrate your scans with workflow management tools like Slack and Jira to make security testing a part of the software development lifecycle. Pricing Astra Pentest offers three plans that users can choose from; however, only their "Pentest" plan ($4,500 per year) comes with a pentest. They do offer additional pen testing and enterprise plans, but you'll have to contact them for their pricing. Why we recommend this tool: The Astra PenTest platform has a simple interface that makes finding vulnerabilities and getting in contact with support easy. FAQ Why Should You Perform Penetration Testing? Performing penetration testing is important for a number of reasons. For starters, it helps identify vulnerabilities in your system that attackers could exploit. By testing your system's defenses, you can ensure that they are up to par and able to resist attacks. Penetration testing also improves your organization's security posture. When you identify and address weaknesses in your system, you can reduce the risk of data breaches and other security incidents by making it more difficult for attackers to breach your network. Additionally, penetration testing provides valuable insights into your organization's security processes and procedures. Conducting tests regularly helps you identify areas where improvements can be made. All this knowledge is used to refine and improve your organization's security posture. How is Penetration Testing Automated? In the past, penetration testing was a manual process that required significant time and resources. However, with the advent of new technologies, penetration testing can now be automated. To conduct an automated penetration test, security professionals need to identify the targets for testing, such as websites, web applications, network infrastructure, etc. Once the targets have been identified, they will need to configure the automated tools and processes for testing. Then, the automated penetration testing process will begin. The tools and processes will work to identify vulnerabilities in the target systems and applications. Security professionals will need to analyze vulnerabilities and determine which pose a risk to the organization once they have been uncovered. There are a number of different tools that can be used for automated penetration testing (some of them are listed above). How Much Does Manual Pen Testing Cost? The cost of manual pen testing depends on a number of factors, including the size and complexity of the system being tested, the level of expertise of the testers, and the time frame in which the testing needs to be completed. Generally speaking, manual pen testing is a major expense for an organization, costing anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. For this reason, many businesses only opt to conduct manual testing once per year. Final Thoughts There are a variety of different pen testing tools available on the market. It is important to choose the right tool for the job at hand, as not every tool is suitable for your unique API. While this can seem like a challenge, there are a few things to keep in mind: What are the limitations of the tool? Will you have to supplement with another tool or service? What type of support is available? Are you able to use the tool to its full potential? With these things in mind, you should be able to choose the right pen testing tool for your needs. If you still have questions, reach out to our team and get a free vulnerability assessment.
September 16, 2022
6 mins
Continuous Testing
Bug Bounty

Dan Barahona

API Security

How to Continuously Test APIs (and Why That's Impossible for Bug Bounty Programs)

What Determines “Continuous” API Testing? Continuous API testing runs ongoing, automated, evolving tests against an API to ensure high performance and security. This testing is typically carried out throughout the development lifecycle to catch any bugs or vulnerabilities before the API is released. There are a few key factors that determine whether an API testing solution is truly continuous: Automation: A continuous API testing solution should be automated to run tests independently, without manual intervention. This way, the testing process can keep up with the pace of development and ensure proper security testing against all changes before they're released. Comprehensive coverage: A continuous API testing solution should provide comprehensive coverage of an API, including all endpoints and parameters, to ensure that no bugs or vulnerabilities slip through the cracks. Adaptability: A continuous API testing solution should constantly evolve its tests to keep up with changes in the API landscape. As new threats arise, tests should be updated to address them. Scalability: A continuous API testing solution should be able to scale up or down as needed, depending on the size and complexity of the API being tested. Here is a summary of how each method stacks up: Why is Continuous Security Testing so Hard? Many CISOs and members of the AppSec community find it hard to believe that any platform can effectively automate API security testing to cover the entire OWASP list. Those concerns are valid because finding the most dangerous vulnerabilities, like business logic flaws, is notoriously difficult because they're usually found deep within an application's code. To complicate the matter even further, business logic flaws aren't errors in the coding. Rather, these flaws exist in the application's logic, so any scanner looking for flaws in the code would fail to identify the dangerous vulnerabilities. Application complexity, the vast number of endpoints, and ever-expanding potential attack vectors have historically made it impossible for any engineering team to programmatically test for all possible security flaws. That's no longer the case. With the help of recent advancements in machine learning, automated API testing platforms, like APIsec, provide continuous, comprehensive testing coverage of an API, including all endpoints and parameters. Dev and security teams were historically stuck with limited options for protecting their APIs, the most popular being manual pen testing, vulnerability scanning, and bug bounty programs. Let's quickly break down each testing method, how they work, and where they come up short. Manual penetration testing is a process in which testers manually attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in an application. Some concerning issues with manual pen testing include: It's time-consuming and expensive since it requires highly skilled testers manually writing hundreds or thousands of tests that can take weeks or even months to complete. It's a point-in-time test that doesn't cover continuous code updates leaving significant windows of high vulnerability in the time between pen tests. Vulnerability scanning is similar to manual penetration testing but uses automated tools to scan for known vulnerabilities. Vulnerability scanning can be a fast and cost-effective way to find some security issues, but it has several limitations, including: It can only find known vulnerabilities, so as new flaws arise, they will go undetected. It can be noisy, creating many false positives that waste security and development resources chasing down phantom vulnerabilities. It can't find business logic flaws, which are often the most dangerous. Bug bounty programs consist of a crowd of ethical hackers who are paid to find and report vulnerabilities in an application. While this can be a helpful way to supplement other testing methods, it has several drawbacks: It’s time-consuming to set-up properly and requires continuous management to ensure researchers stay focused. It's reactive approach only tests for vulnerabilities after they’re in a production environment, leaving potential vulnerabilities exposed for weeks, months, or even years. It's often used as a replacement for other testing methods, which can be dangerous since it provides incomplete coverage. Bug bounty programs, along with manual pen testing and vulnerability scanning, can often do more harm than good by creating a false sense of security. Continuous testing is the only way to effectively protect your APIs from vulnerabilities, automating the entire process, including incorporating detailed reports directly into your CI/CD pipeline. While pen testing, vulnerability scanning, and bug bounties can be valuable tools in your API security arsenal, they simply can't provide the same level of coverage or speed as continuous, automated testing. Continuous Testing Starts with the Right Tools The first step to protecting your APIs using continuous testing is finding the right tool. Up until this point, we have only covered continuous testing for API security, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle. To truly test your API continuously, you need to find a suite of tools that cover every part of the API journey from security to functionality. No matter what type of testing you want to run, you should evaluate solutions based on their ability to execute the options we covered earlier: automation, comprehensive coverage, adaptability, and scalability. Next you should look at each solution’s ease-of-use, support, price, and any other feature that matters to you... here is a snapshot summary of tools that we love: We actually broke these tools down in more detail when we wrote this post covering the Top 5 API Security Tools on the market today, when to use them, and why we recommend them. Key Building Blocks of Continuous API Security Testing Are you ready to start continuous API security testing? Here are three key steps to take as you work toward a continuous API security testing environment: 1. Identify any manual bottlenecks in your security process today, and automate them. Automating as much as you possibly can is the cornerstone of continuous testing - not only will this strengthen your security, but it will free up your team to focus on other key tasks since testing will no longer require valuable human resources to perform (automation offers a significant, lasting ROI).‍ 2. Integrate everything directly into Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery It’s highly likely your organization is already leveraging CI/CD technology to improve product quality and developer productivity. Don’t “re-invent the wheel,” rather, leverage these same processes/technology to test new code when it’s ready without needing to manually trigger a test. 3. Leverage your current developer feedback loop Finding a security vulnerability is only the first half of API security testing. Someone needs to fix them. This often requires inter-team communication for security engineers to recruit developers to fix these critical issues. As we mentioned before, there are existing processes you can leverage to deliver feedback to developers without the added manual step. Integrating with Developer Ticketing or Productivity software is a guaranteed way to prevent slowing the pace of development without missed issues, which may lead to deploying exploitable vulnerabilities to production. Ensure Continuous API Security Testing with APIsec Continuous API security testing is well on its way to becoming the new norm thanks to its scalability, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness. If you still haven't adopted continuous API security testing, you're almost guaranteed to leave your APIs exposed to data breaches and other cyber threats. For years, organizations had to rely on pen testing, vulnerability scanning, and bug bounty programs to protect their API assets. APIsec offers a superior alternative to all of them. By leveraging the power of AI and machine learning, APIsec can automatically generate and execute hundreds of custom-tailored attack scenarios based on the unique architecture of your API. Check out this quick demo to see it in action: Want to learn more? Get in touch with our team today to schedule a demo, or get a free vulnerability assessment.
July 19, 2022
7 minutes
API Vulnerabilities

Dan Barahona

API Testing

The Hidden Risks of API Monitoring That Leave APIs More Vulnerable

‍API Monitoring: A Quick Refresher API monitoring is the process of checking your API's endpoints and data exchanges to make sure they're functional, available, and performing as expected. This allows developers to identify and fix API issues before they impact the end-user. Additionally, you get visibility into how well each function within the API operates by viewing metrics such as the number of API function calls, the time it takes to respond to those calls, and the amount of data returned. In today's world, monitoring is essential to ensure your APIs are sustainable, the applications that depend on them receive the services/data they need while the end-user has a streamlined experience. Some companies think that API monitoring is enough to cover all of their API security needs. Here are 5 reasons why API monitoring alone is not sufficient to ensure API security. 5 Risks of API Monitoring That No One Wants to Tell You About While API monitoring gives you insight into certain information, there are some areas that slip through the cracks. We've put together a list of the most important vulnerabilities your API monitoring tools are missing. 1. Monitoring Tools Cannot Identify Business Logic Vulnerabilities Business logic can't be parsed using API monitoring tools, which means you won't discover an entire cluster of potential security risks that exist in your API governance Business logic vulnerabilities are either weaknesses or bugs in the design or legitimate functionalities of an application. Because business logic is unique to every application, business logic vulnerabilities typically go overlooked until your data has already been compromised. In late 2021 a security researcher ran vulnerability research on a group of financial services and FinTech companies. Every single API tested contained business logic flaws which created Broken Authentication vulnerabilities that allowed the researcher to perform API requests on other bank customer accounts without authenticating. That's what makes these vulnerabilities so dangerous. The fact that these vulnerabilities are often exploited without the need for special tools or techniques makes them widely cited as the number one API security threat. Since these vulnerabilities are rooted in your API's governance, you'll need to have a deep understanding of every process, rule, and workflow that directly or indirectly informed the setup of your API. 2. False Positives and Negatives Cause Teams to Miss Auditable Events API monitoring tools have a tendency to produce a fair amount of false positives while simultaneously missing other potential auditable events. An auditable event occurs when a user performs a certain action that may affect the security of your API or correlates to a security breach, such as: Changing or deleting policies, permissions, and data Making large transactions Failed login attempts Altering system functions Since many API monitoring tools run on pass/fail alerts that are based on your API’s governance, many IT departments find themselves overwhelmed with the number of false positives they need to investigate, especially if the ticket doesn't include enough information. It's like having a doorbell camera that alerts you every time a car goes by; eventually, you stop looking at the notifications and miss an important event. Similarly, IT teams either deprioritize their investigations or become less confident in their monitoring tool—IT teams reported that 44% of their alerts go unexplored, exposing them to potential attacks. When teams fail to investigate false positives promptly, they run the risk of missing an actual threat to the system. This is one of the main reasons why insufficient API logging and monitoring are listed as one of OWASP's Top Ten API Security threats. 3. Synthetic API Monitoring Tools Fail to Simulate Real-world Events Synthetic monitoring, sometimes called synthetic testing, was developed as a proactive way to test your API, but it does little more than conduct basic acceptance tests to check your API's performance. Synthetic monitoring involves a monitoring client actively sending a previously-made client request to your API, meaning that they aren't monitoring what your users are currently doing. While using these predefined requests helps you assess your API's performance, it only accounts for what you anticipate or what some users have done in the past. Additionally, these tests only occur on single endpoints, severely limiting their ability to detect functional errors. Synthetic monitoring tools don't unify work silos, they create more. This means the teams with the deepest knowledge of creating real-world tests specific to your API won't be involved in their creation. 4. API Monitoring Cannot Continuously, and Proactively Test API Vulnerabilities While you can set up a monitoring routine that runs at regularly scheduled intervals throughout the SDLC lifecycle, you'll find that API monitoring is nowhere near enough to ensure continuous API security testing. Continuous testing is the process of integrating automated testing into SDLC pipelines so that businesses can identify and resolve risks quickly and efficiently. This is done by applying shift-left testing methodologies, which only work if your testing doesn’t slow down your dev team. While API monitoring tools complement continuous testing methods by adding another layer of screening on their own, they aren't enough to ensure security and can’t keep up with new cybersecurity threats. 5. Monitoring Can't Match Specialized API Security Testing Solutions API monitoring tools claim to analyze your entire API, but they only return certain metrics without providing your details to the underlying cause of a vulnerability—or miss it altogether. On the other hand, specialized API testing solutions, like APIsec, are designed to dissect every endpoint, variable, method, and input parameter to uncover hidden API security threats, including business logic flaws. APIsec has the perfect plan to keep your API safe and secure. Check out this quick demo to see how the platform works: Our engine creates thousands of automated attack playbooks, which are designed for testing every corner of your system so that you can be confident no vulnerability is left uncovered. Here’s how it’s done: We learn your API architecture: With just a list of endpoints and methods, our platform can integrate directly with your API platform, OpenAPI spec, Postman collection, Swagger, or other interface. We generate custom API test cases: We offer a comprehensive API security testing platform that automatically creates and executes thousands of test cases tailored to your unique architecture. We run our tests in multiple environments: With the ability to run our tailored tests throughout the SDCL, we ensure every corner of your API is tested for any potential vulnerabilities. We find what everyone else misses: Since our test cases are tailored to the unique architecture of a given API, the platform uncovers hidden layers of vulnerabilities that are impossible to catch with pen testing or vuln scanning. Want to learn more? Find out how APIsec helps companies take their API security testing to the next level here or schedule a demo.
July 12, 2022
5 minutes
API Design

Dan Barahona

API Testing

Shift Left Security: The Ultimate Guide

GitHub estimates that developers outnumber security professionals 500 to 1, meaning organizations need to integrate shift left security measures into their development to stay competitive. The use of traditional testing is often not in line with DevOps, which emphasizes delivering features and updates from one production stage to the next without unnecessary delays. How did they fix this? By implementing agile methodologies, like shift left, into DevOps practices. Shifting left means integrating testing and security activities into every relevant stage of development, from design to production. How Shift Left Impacts Security Shifting security left means taking a new approach to how DevSecOps teams develop and design software. The goals of this shift are simple: Build security best practices into your process from start-to-finish Detect potential issues as early in the lifecycle as possible Fix problems quickly without expensive miscalibrations later down the line Maintain an affordable price point for any company or organization To do this effectively and efficiently, developers must be aware of what they need during each stage to avoid gaps in their defenses against vulnerabilities that malicious actors could use. Integrating CI/CD into SDLC The adoption of CI/CD transforms the SDLC as it automates and monitors every step of the development process, from code integration to live production environments. In addition to reorganizing teams into DevSecOps teams, companies will have to incorporate security testing earlier into their deployment pipelines as CI remains crucial for software development. Benefits of Shift Left Security Shift left testing is a powerful way to identify and fix defects before they become costly, meaning your team can make faster progress in the development cycle. Other benefits include: Improve code quality and security posture Easily manage risks with cloud technologies Create a security-conscious culture Continual assessment Driving Technologies for Shift Left Security To make sure organizations maintain a high level of security, OWASP suggests DevSecOps use a variety of tools. Here are five commonly used tools: SAST (static analysis) DAST (dynamic analysis) Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) Software Composition Analysis (SCA) Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) How to Implement Shift Left Security: 5 First Steps Shift left security can be implemented in a number of ways, but these are the most crucial steps. 1. Establish and Define Shift Left Security Strategy It's critical that you identify what shift left means for your team to help them understand how to achieve success. To do this, you'll need to: Define Common Goals The goal of DevSecOps is to promote collaboration and alignment among all stakeholders involved in the development process. To do this, teams need to come together to clearly establish their goals and objectives for their shift left security strategy. This should include: Who has ownership or responsibilities over what processes? What metrics will be used to gauge success? What parts of your applications and APIs operate with sensitive data? How many resources are you willing to allocate to the testing process? What will your milestones look like? Change the Culture Enable a security-centric development environment where security is considered at every stage of the development lifecycle—whether it's selecting a package during project planning, developing code, or conducting tests. You'll most likely have to do some shift left myth-busting to facilitate a smooth transition. The most common misconception is that shift left means moving the testing to an earlier stage and then neglecting to test later. Establish a Set of Security Requirements for APIs Because APIs are windows into your system, the safety of an application depends on the security policies you establish for them. Including security requirements for APIs in your shift left security strategy, will boost your security posture. There are a few factors to consider when establishing a set of security requirements for APIs, such as: The type of data being accessed by the API The environment in which the API will be used The user base that will be using the API For example, if the API is accessing sensitive data in a public environment by many users, then a higher level of security will be required. When determining the security requirements for an API, it is essential to consult with experts in the field. They will be able to help identify what security measures need to be put in place to protect the data that is being accessed by the API. They will also help determine what level of security is needed. 2. Understand Where Software is Created Understanding your software development pipeline is an important first step in securing it. This will be more challenging depending on the complexity of your business units. Before you can start shifting security left, identify who's responsible for developing code and how that person or team moves from creating new features through deployment to production. This helps you identify what technology will be used throughout this process, so there are no gaps. Make sure you identify: The individuals responsible for developing code The workflow process The technology used in this process 3. Implement Security Controls at the API Level Through APIs, applications and software interact with your business, allowing outsiders direct access to sensitive information. Without proper security measures in place, cybercriminals will exploit these vulnerabilities. To address OWASP's Top 10 API security risks, it's recommended that you implement security controls at the API level, which help protect your data and systems. Some of the most widely used security measures are: Authentication and Authorization: Ensure only authorized users access the API using OAuth 2.0 or OpenID protocols. Encryption: Protect the data that passes through your API from interception and tampering, for example, using SSL/TSL encryption. Principle of least privilege: With this principle, subjects are granted only the minimum access necessary to complete a stated function—this includes access to your APIs. Use rate limits: To prevent denial-of-service attacks, set a threshold above which subsequent requests will be rejected. 4. Automate Security Processes Penetration testing and vulnerability scanners are the most common ways to test the security of your APIs. However, they each have unique problems when using a shift left security approach. Vulnerability scanners are deployed to test your APIs against a list of known vulnerabilities, but they do not consider your API's architecture. This means they miss business logic flaws that leave you vulnerable. On the other hand, pen testers use black box or white box testing methods to simulate attacks on your API, which are extremely time-consuming and expensive when applied to the shift left testing framework. But there’s a third way. You can use APIsec. APIsec is an automated security testing solution that uses AI to analyze the architecture of your APIs to generate and execute hundreds of custom-tailored attack scenarios. 5. Implement Security Fixes as the Code is Developed It is important to implement security fixes as you develop the code so that your application and APIs have no vulnerabilities. It’s a good idea to retest once you fix your code as loopholes often open up after remediation. This ensures no weak spots are left where an attacker could exploit simple errors. Give your DevSecOps team the tools they need to implement shift left security. Contact our team to schedule a free demo.
May 31, 2022
15 mins read
API Design

Dave Piskai

API Testing

Shift Left for DevOps: Key Benefits and 5 Best Practices to Follow

The widespread adoption of agile development practices, like shift left, has made it possible for IT decision-makers to unlock higher revenues. 83% now implement DevOps strategies to keep their pipelines on track. Let us show you how shift left can help your business and explore some best practices to get you started. Why is Shift Left Beneficial for DevOps? DevOps is all about speed, agility, and efficiency. To achieve these goals, organizations need to shift left. This means moving away from the traditional "waterfall" methodology and towards a more agile approach. A shift left strategy ensures security is taken into account as early in the development lifecycle as possible. There are many benefits to shifting left. Here are the ones with the most impact: Increased Quality The main benefit of shift left is that it reduces the number of defects in a final product, increasing its overall quality. Companies that implemented shift left methods experienced a 45% increase in quality. By identifying and resolving issues early in the development process, before the product is released, there are fewer chances for those defects to make it into the finished product. Enhanced Communication In addition, shift left encourages collaboration and communication among team members. Businesses that use agile methods typically see a 60% improvement in team productivity and a 70% improvement in visibility. By involving testers earlier on, developers can get feedback on their code and make changes accordingly, leading to a more positive and productive development process overall. Faster Time to Market Shift left also helps shorten development timelines. Businesses that implement agile practices, such as shift left, have seen their delivery times quicken by 64%. When defects are discovered early, before they can snowball into larger problems, they are easier to address, which allows development teams to focus on new features and improvements instead of fixing bugs. Reduce Costs Shift left reduces the costs associated with development. The earlier a vulnerability is found in the development process, the cheaper it is to fix. Early identification and resolution of defects eliminates the need to rework code, leading to significant savings for development organizations. DevOps Shift Left Best Practices Shifting left in your DevOps practice can be a challenge, but it's definitely worth doing if you're serious about improving your process. Here are a few tips to help you successfully implement shift left: 1. Collaborate to Create Deployment and Testing Procedures There are many reasons why failures in production often go unnoticed. One of the most common is that developers and operations teams use procedures and tools that differ from one another. To be successful, operations and development need a shared understanding of deployment procedures. Having your teams aligned will enable them to detect and resolve issues more quickly and efficiently. 2. Implement Shift Left Gradually There's no one-size-fits-all answer on to how best to implement a shift left strategy within your organization; however, we recommend starting small and gradually increasing the scope and depth of your shift left efforts over time. One way to do this is to start by identifying areas with a high level of waste or inefficiency. These are typically areas where manual processes are still being used when automated ones would be more effective, such as penetration testing. Once you've identified these areas, you can begin to implement shift left principles in a way that makes sense for your organization. 3. Simulate Production Environments Throughout the SDLC The more similar the development and production environments are, the easier it is to avoid errors. You can simulate a production environment with the right patterns and cloud technologies. 4. Test Early and Often Testing is an essential part of quality assurance, and it needs to happen throughout the development process. Continuous testing allows you to find issues sooner, so fixing them will be less costly. 5. Use Automation to Implement Continuous Integration and Delivery CI/CD automates the software development process so that changes are made and tested more quickly. This means that issues are found and fixed earlier in the development cycle before they cause problems in production. The more automation teams incorporate during the coding and deployment phases, the faster they can develop code, run more tests, integrate changes, and spend less time on each activity. There are three common types of automated tests: API tests: API tests include integration tests that check whether an API works as expected in terms of security, functionality, reliability, and performance. Unit tests: Unit tests are a great way to ensure your code works as expected within a specific environment. User interface tests: This is a technique for identifying defects in software utilizing graphics by testing the GUI. Make Shift Left Testing Work with APIsec Many businesses don’t have the budget to hire expensive developers and pen testers for every step of their development process. So how do they successfully implement shift left strategy? With APIsec. Their continuous testing platform analyzes your API, generates reports, and executes custom attack scenarios so that you can be confident in the safety of your API's data. APIsec is the only way to ensure that your API security practices are up-to-date and in line with industry best practices. Give your DevOps team the tools they need to effectively implement shift left. Contact a specialist.
May 19, 2022
5 mins read
Business Logic

Dan Barahona

API Security

What is Broken Object Level Authorization (BOLA) and How to Fix It

With APIs projected to become the main attack vector in 2022, companies that downplay the importance of API security risk making the headlines as the next victim of a major data breach—losing customer trust for years to come. While most API threats are relatively easy to catch using vulnerability scanners, some can remain undetected for years. This makes them a ticking time bomb until bad agents spot them. Today, we're going to cover one of them. Broken Object Level Authorization (BOLA) vulnerabilities sit at the top of the OWASP API Security Top 10 list. Why is that the case? Keep reading to find out the answer and learn how to protect yourself from it. What is Broken Object Level Authorization, and Why Is It #1 on the OWASP Top 10 List? Object-level authorization is a security measure that controls which users can access which objects, be it database records or files. For example, a user might be allowed to view specific files but not edit or delete them. Broken object-level authorization (BOLA) vulnerabilities occur when a user is able to access other users' data due to the flaws in authorization controls validating access to data objects. BOLA vulnerabilities are often caused by insecure coding practices, such as failing to properly validate user input or check permissions before granting access to an object. This happens when an API uses overly permissive access controls or when API resources are not properly protected. BOLA vulnerabilities lead to devastating data breaches and other ramifications. The USPS hack, one of the largest data breaches in history, happened because of, you guessed it, broken access controls. “The USPS hack is a classic example of a broken authorization vulnerability. User A was able to authenticate to the API and then pivot and access user B’s and 60 million other people’s information.”- Dan Barahona, Head of Marketing at Biz Dev at APIsec How to Protect Your APIs from BOLA Vulnerabilities Since BOLA vulnerabilities are the most dangerous cluster of API threats, companies need to take proactive steps to prevent them. Here are the most effective ones. 1. Enforce Robust Authorization Mechanisms Enforcing robust authorization mechanisms is the first step any organization should take to combat BOLA vulnerabilities. Many organizations think their APIs are secure because they have strong authentication. But that's not really going to help a whole lot when it comes to BOLA vulnerabilities. To keep your APIs safe, you need strong authentication mechanisms, but the bigger challenge is ensuring you've got well-controlled authorization policies that you are testing rigorously and continuously to make sure they're free of logic flaws or loopholes.2. Use Random Universally Unique Identifiers (UUIDs)The next step is redefining how you approach the process of generating and managing IDs within your API ecosystem. Auto-incrementing IDs absolutely have to go. As an alternative, use random IDs when creating and accessing APIs. These IDs, commonly referred to as UUIDs, are designed specifically to be difficult for cybercriminals or unauthorized users to guess. UUIDs are made up of a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols that have no inherent meaning or pattern, making them virtually impossible to guess or reverse-engineer. Using UUIDs minimizes the risk of malicious tampering, one of the root causes of BOLA vulnerabilities.3. Laser-focus on Your Business Logic Layer BOLA vulnerabilities are so tricky because they often lurk in the business logic layer of your APIs. The implications? It means that BOLA vulnerabilities typically occur due to the flaws in the design of the legitimate functionalities of your APIs rather than bad agents using complex exploits to break into your systems. That's why it's critical to meticulously test your business logic layer to spot vulnerabilities that are impossible to reliably address upon each release with vulnerability scanners. “BOLA is already #1 on the OWASP API Security Top 10 list - and for good reasons. API providers do a great job at making sure that users are authenticated to the API, so they want to make sure that legitimate users have access. But the number one thing that's often overlooked is authorization, ensuring that user A can't access user’s B resources. And it's one thing to hide the resource IDs, but the important factor there is that user A should not be able to access, interact with, or alter user B's resources - at all.”- Corey Ball, Cybersecurity Consulting Manager and Author of "Hacking APIs"4. Implement the Zero-Trust Security Model Enforcing the zero-trust security model is another step organizations typically take to protect APIs from BOLA vulnerabilities. In a traditional security model, authorized and authenticated users are trusted by default. However, in the zero-trust security model, all users must be authenticated and authorized before accessing any resources. Additionally, the authorized users are constantly monitored to prevent insider threats. Based on this model, each API call must be authenticated and authorized before it can be executed. Once the user has been authenticated, the authorization mechanisms in place determine whether the user is allowed to access the requested resource. If the user is not authorized, then the API call will not be executed, making it more difficult for attackers to exploit BOLA vulnerabilities.5. Ensure Continuous API Security Testing This is arguably the most effective way to protect APIs from BOLA vulnerabilities. However, here's the rub. Traditional API security testing tools aren't reliable since vulnerability scanners don't take into account the unique architecture of your API while pen testing is impossible to scale to ensure full coverage with each update. This is where APIsec comes into play. APIsec is an industry-leading solution that leverages the power of AI to dissect your API and generate custom-tailored attack scenarios aimed at identifying business logic vulnerabilities. APIsec is the only reliable way to automatically secure your API from BOLA vulnerabilities and, most importantly, business logic flaws while ensuring full coverage and eliminating human error. Sounds too good to be true? Get in touch with our team today to get a free demo.
May 11, 2022
6 mins
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

All the News Straight to Your Inbox

Sign up for APIsec’s monthly newsletter.
Get The Ultimate API Security Checklist [eBook]
"x" icon
Download Your Copy Today!
Get The Complete API Security Buyer's Guide [eBook]

Watch APIsec Protect Your Sensitive Data