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Securing your APIs - The Development Stage

Securing your APIs - The Development Stage
Ben Grossmann
VP of Engineering at WIB
API Security
April 22, 2022


This is the first of a three-part blog about the importance of the full-lifecycle approach for API security.

The other two parts cover the testing stage and the production stage.

APIs serve as the building blocks of modern application architectures and system design. A system often requires APIs to provide access to its resources, and most of the traffic on the web today goes through them. Almost every line of code that is written uses an API in some way, as these capabilities help organizations speed up and lower the cost of app development while enabling flexibility and simplifying design, administration, and use. At the same time, they drive innovation in creating new tools and products or managing current ones. 

The Lifecycle Approach

API security means securing APIs from attacks rather than more generic server security.

The heavy use of APIs has resulted in a significantly expanded attack surface as there are many entry points to an organization's network. Traditional security solutions may be irrelevant, having no way of distinguishing between legitimate and malicious API calls. APIs, by their very nature, expose sensitive data like Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and application functionality, making them a primary target for attackers.

Since APIs are constantly created and updated, iterative review is required at every stage of the software development lifecycle to ensure protection during production and improve security by continuously removing vulnerabilities in code.

This blog explains why you need a solution for your development stage.

The Development Stage

In all industries, the earliest possible discovery and remediation of vulnerabilities and errors can help eliminate security incidents. Therefore, API security in the development stage is crucial for the security of your APIs and applications. Unfortunately, many developers in the industry are unaware of the importance of securing APIs or the risks APIs bring with them and use them without much consideration. Unfortunately, this behavior can introduce vulnerabilities that your API monitoring tools won't detect.

Here are four best practices:

  • Fix vulnerabilities before they go live: Fix your vulnerabilities before they expose your data. Why wait for production to find out about vulnerabilities that put you at huge risk when you can simply fix them earlier?
  • Carry out code-level security review: You can't protect what you don't know. Some APIs are only detectable in the code. By going over your code, you can identify all of the APIs in your product. This level of detail will allow you to detect any shadow and zombie APIs, which are a common source of vulnerabilities and attacks.
  • Prevent data exposure: Often, developers rely on the client-side to filter the data before displaying it to the user, sending unnecessary data that could contain sensitive information. You can only discover this vulnerability by going over your code. 
  • Know where to look: Hidden or forgotten environments may put your data at risk. You can detect these environments by taking a disciplined approach to call replies. 
Wib API Code Analysis

Wib's API Code Analysis features protect your product right from the very beginning. The primary objective of Wib API Code Analysis is to warn you of anything that appears to be normal but could be risky. Wib can:

  • Evaluate your code
  • Detect unsafe or suspect logic
  • Alert you about environments that are out of your control
  • Offer remediations for your vulnerabilities.

Many developers use APIs without thinking about the security consequences. As a result, attackers will try to figure out how to invoke your APIs directly. Wib ensures that your organization establishes a continuous improvement and efficiency model for API security, starting with development. It provides complete visibility and insights for identifying, prioritizing and eliminating vulnerabilities, preventing recurring errors, and keeping your user's data safe.