Application Security

8/7/2018
05:45 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

Expect API Breaches to Accelerate

APIs provide the digital glue that binds apps, cloud resources, app services and data all together - and they're increasingly an appsec security threat.

Last year the category of underprotected APIs cracked the OWASP Top 10 list for the first time. The breach trends since then are starting to prove that inclusion was pretty prescient. Just in 2018 alone we've seen at least half a dozen high-profile data breaches and security exposures caused by poor API security. And that doesn’t even include incidents last year at T-Mobile, Instagram, and McDonalds that all together exposed sensitive data about millions of their users. 

This week the latest API security incident to make waves struck Salesforce, which reported to customers that a bug in an API in its Marketing Cloud service potentially exposed customer data. The flaw could have caused API calls to retrieve or write data from one customer's account to another's, the company stated

This is a different verse of the same song we continue to hear about the growing trend of API insecurity. Just last month, for example, researchers announced that mobile payment app Venmo has been exposing details about hundreds of millions of transactions through a poorly secured API. And this spring an egregiously insecure Panera Bread API exposed details about mobile users in a major way. In that case, as many as 37 million records, including customer names, email addresses, physical addresses, birthdays, and the last four digits of credit cards — all in plain text — were exposed through a searchable API that required no authentication to access.

This is an issue that cuts across all company sizes and industries. Last month, for example, HIMSS released a report showing that exploitation of API flaws has become a major concern for healthcare organizations. And a study earlier this year by Imperva showed that more than two-thirds of organizations expose APIs to the public in order to enable partners and external developers to tap into their software platforms and app ecosystems. Unfortunately, more than three in four organizations report they treat API security differently than Web app security — indicating that API security readiness lags behind other aspects of application security.

That Imperva study also shows how prevalent API use is becoming within most organizations: The typical organization now manages an average of 363 APIs. This can be chalked up to a growing trend in the development world toward microservices, where most modern applications are no longer monolithic pieces of software but are instead composed of smaller components that can be reused, mixed, and matched across an entire application portfolio.

In addition, whole application ecosystems depend on open connectivity to share data and make users' lives easier through better integrations. APIs are what's used to help all of these components play nicely together and to get applications seamlessly sharing data among themselves. Indeed, 61% of organizations say API integration is critical to their business strategy.

"In 2018, it is expected that you need APIs to do business in this digital age," writes Kin Lane, who's known as the API evangelist at Cloud Elements. "The companies, organizations, institutions, and government agencies who are just beginning to invest in their API infrastructure are quickly realizing how far behind they are when it comes to the efficient delivery of data and content to Web and mobile applications, as well as the ability to work with Internet-connected devices, and take advantage of the benefits of machine learning and artificial intelligence."

But as businesses jump on the API development trend, they'll need to keep in mind that the more APIs grow in importance to them, the more they will grow in importance t attackers. According to Gartner, by 2022 API abuses will be the attack vector most responsible for data breaches within enterprise Web applications. 

Related Content:

Ericka Chickowski specializes in coverage of information technology and business innovation. She has focused on information security for the better part of a decade and regularly writes about the security industry as a contributor to Dark Reading.  View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
12 Free, Ready-to-Use Security Tools
Steve Zurier, Freelance Writer,  10/12/2018
Most IT Security Pros Want to Change Jobs
Dark Reading Staff 10/12/2018
Most Malware Arrives Via Email
Dark Reading Staff 10/11/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Flash Poll
The Risk Management Struggle
The Risk Management Struggle
The majority of organizations are struggling to implement a risk-based approach to security even though risk reduction has become the primary metric for measuring the effectiveness of enterprise security strategies. Read the report and get more details today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-15378
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-15
A vulnerability in ClamAV versions prior to 0.100.2 could allow an attacker to cause a denial of service (DoS) condition. The vulnerability is due to an error related to the MEW unpacker within the “unmew11()?? function (libclamav/mew.c), which can be exploited to trigger an inval...
CVE-2018-18073
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-15
Artifex Ghostscript allows attackers to bypass a sandbox protection mechanism by leveraging exposure of system operators in the saved execution stack in an error object.
CVE-2018-15593
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-15
An issue was discovered in Ivanti Workspace Control before 10.3.10.0 and RES One Workspace. A local authenticated user can decrypt the encrypted datastore or relay server password by leveraging an unspecified attack vector.
CVE-2018-17961
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-15
Artifex Ghostscript 9.25 and earlier allows attackers to bypass a sandbox protection mechanism via vectors involving errorhandler setup. NOTE: this issue exists because of an incomplete fix for CVE-2018-17183.
CVE-2018-15591
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-15
An issue was discovered in Ivanti Workspace Control before 10.3.10.0 and RES One Workspace. A local authenticated user can bypass Application Whitelisting restrictions to execute arbitrary code by leveraging multiple unspecified attack vectors.