OWASP API Security Project
What is API Security?
A foundational element of innovation in today’s app-driven world is the API. From banks, retail and transportation to IoT, autonomous vehicles and smart cities, APIs are a critical part of modern mobile, SaaS and web applications and can be found in customer-facing, partner-facing and internal applications. By nature, APIs expose application logic and sensitive data such as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and because of this have increasingly become a target for attackers. Without secure APIs, rapid innovation would be impossible.
API Security focuses on strategies and solutions to understand and mitigate the unique vulnerabilities and security risks of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
API Security Top 10 2019
Here is a sneak peek of the 2019 version:
APIs tend to expose endpoints that handle object identifiers, creating a wide attack surface Level Access Control issue. Object level authorization checks should be considered in every function that accesses a data source using an input from the user. Read more.
Authentication mechanisms are often implemented incorrectly, allowing attackers to compromise authentication tokens or to exploit implementation flaws to assume other user’s identities temporarily or permanently. Compromising a system’s ability to identify the client/user, compromises API security overall. Read more.
Looking forward to generic implementations, developers tend to expose all object properties without considering their individual sensitivity, relying on clients to perform the data filtering before displaying it to the user. Read more.
Quite often, APIs do not impose any restrictions on the size or number of resources that can be requested by the client/user. Not only can this impact the API server performance, leading to Denial of Service (DoS), but also leaves the door open to authentication flaws such as brute force. Read more.
Complex access control policies with different hierarchies, groups, and roles, and an unclear separation between administrative and regular functions, tend to lead to authorization flaws. By exploiting these issues, attackers gain access to other users’ resources and/or administrative functions. Read more.
Binding client provided data (e.g., JSON) to data models, without proper properties filtering based on an allowlist, usually leads to Mass Assignment. Either guessing objects properties, exploring other API endpoints, reading the documentation, or providing additional object properties in request payloads, allows attackers to modify object properties they are not supposed to. Read more.
Security misconfiguration is commonly a result of unsecure default configurations, incomplete or ad-hoc configurations, open cloud storage, misconfigured HTTP headers, unnecessary HTTP methods, permissive Cross-Origin resource sharing (CORS), and verbose error messages containing sensitive information. Read more.
Injection flaws, such as SQL, NoSQL, Command Injection, etc., occur when untrusted data is sent to an interpreter as part of a command or query. The attacker’s malicious data can trick the interpreter into executing unintended commands or accessing data without proper authorization. Read more.
APIs tend to expose more endpoints than traditional web applications, making proper and updated documentation highly important. Proper hosts and deployed API versions inventory also play an important role to mitigate issues such as deprecated API versions and exposed debug endpoints. Read more.
Insufficient logging and monitoring, coupled with missing or ineffective integration with incident response, allows attackers to further attack systems, maintain persistence, pivot to more systems to tamper with, extract, or destroy data. Most breach studies demonstrate the time to detect a breach is over 200 days, typically detected by external parties rather than internal processes or monitoring. Read more.
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007divyachawla, Abid Khan, Adam Fisher, anotherik, bkimminich, caseysoftware, Chris Westphal, dsopas, DSotnikov, emilva, ErezYalon, flascelles, Guillaume Benats, IgorSasovets, Inonshk, JonnySchnittger, jmanico, jmdx, Keith Casey, kozmic, LauraRosePorter, Matthieu Estrade, nathanawmk, PauloASilva, pentagramz, philippederyck, pleothaud, r00ter, Raj kumar, Sagar Popat, Stephen Gates, thomaskonrad, xycloops123, Raphael Hagi, Eduardo Bellis, Bruno Barbosa
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The project is maintained in the OWASP API Security Project repo.
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Aug 30, 2022
Oct 30, 2020
Apr 4, 2020
Mar 27, 2020
Dec 26, 2019
OWASP API Security Top 10 2019 stable version release.
Sep 30, 2019
Sep 13, 2019
May 30, 2019
- API Security Top 10
- API Security Cheat Sheet
- crAPI - Completely Ridiculous API, an intentionally vulnerable API project)