Today, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting corporations and attempting to exploit technical vulnerabilities with an aim to gain illicit access to money or data. API vulnerabilities are a common target, making API management tools critical in this day and age. Ensuring security is a core feature of API management software. Without the robust security provided by API management solutions, cybercriminals can access the APIs and data of businesses and encourage malicious behavior by triggering calls to unsecured APIs.
Below are a few core elements of API security:
Authentication enables API management tools to reliably identify a caller. Generally, API keys are used to authenticate and identify callers that request access to an API. API management software like IBM API Connect gives API provides an interface to generate API keys. These keys can be given to third‑party developers for invoking API calls.
API management solutions such as Google Apigee restrict the number of requests that a caller is able to make during a certain time period; for instance, 5,000 requests every second. Rate limits ensure backend systems are not overloaded and aid in the mitigation of DDoS attacks. API management solutions provide users with an interface for setting rate limits, which are then enforced by the API gateway. With rate limits, providers can offer tiered service levels—for example, higher-level clients are able to create 10,000 requests per second, while lower-level clients can generate 5,000.
Role‑based Access Control (RBAC)
With RBAC, developers can define user roles based on certain privileges. For instance, operations teams typically do not create and publish APIs but only monitor and troubleshoot them. With RBAC, these teams can be assigned a role with only those privileges. RBAC is a security feature in many prominent API management solutions, such as the Software AG webMethods Platform.
Authorization enables operators to determine the access levels and privileges granted to users. For instance, a client app may present an authorization token that requests access to a specific resource. If this app tries to access other resources that it hasn’t requested, an HTTP 403 (‘Forbidden’) error is shown. Authorization is ensured by many leading API management software like CA API Management.
API management software has numerous other benefits not discussed in this blog—but security is arguably its most important feature. With the security measures provided by API management software, companies can rest easy knowing that their solutions are not vulnerable to unscrupulous cybercriminals.