API Security

Instagram API Security – Too Little Too Late

By | Date posted: September 1, 2017

The Instagram API vulnerability was exposed via a REST API used by the Instagram Mobile App to perform a password reset.  By capturing the format that the Instagram App used to make the password reset, a brute force attack was then created to iterate permutations on this API to extract information about other users returned back in JSON format.

This attack was exposed because of the lack of API security mechanisms protecting the API. An Instagram spokesman told Fox News. “We fixed the bug swiftly and are running a thorough investigation.” Guess what, too little too late! With API breaches, the damage is done.

This is precisely why API Security should not be left solely in the hands of API developers. Developing secure APIs is certainly the right intent and approach, but there is simply no way that developers should be tasked with understanding and protecting against all of the security threat vectors that exist in the API realm. This would be akin to foregoing a corporate firewall, and instead just relying on your developers to prevent network attacks.

API breaches represent the continuing saga of cloud and mobile applications being exposed by API development toolkits that do not have inherent API security capabilities enabled. This is largely because API developers are not security specialists and API toolkits and API Management platforms are not security platforms. This increasing trend of API vulnerabilities will continue until the industry recognizes the need for API Security Gateway technology to protect their APIs. If you have a Web Application, you use a Web Application Firewall (WAF) to protect it, you don’t rely on your developers to protect the application. If you have an API, you use an API Security Gateway to protect it, you don’t rely on your developers for this.

The API Security wake-up call is growing louder each day, breach by breach.

API Security and MySQL — A match made in Hell

By | Date posted: August 30, 2017

What do API Security and MySQL have in common? Not much one hopes, especially if you are responsible for implementing enterprise-wide API Security.

When picking any security product, particularly an API Security Gateway, an enterprise should carefully evaluate the architecture and components of the product that it’s purchasing. If the components such as Operating System, PKI security stack and policy storage mechanisms are not secure, then an enterprise is increasing its API attack surface area rather than mitigating it through an API Security Gateway.

And please don’t have your security policies stored in a database such as MySQL — a prime target for hackers. If you security policies are stolen, your entire enterprise API ecosystem is compromised.

Alexei Balaganski‘s article — “The Cargo Cult of Cybersecurity” — critiques our false sense of security. We spend billions of dollars (120 Billion in 2017) on cybersecurity products that are poorly developed, improperly or never deployed, and rarely tested by a third party. By doing so, we are creating a false sense of security.

Here is an excerpt from Alexei’s article:

However, the exact reason for my today’s rant is somewhat different and, in my opinion, even more troubling. While reading the documentation for a security-related product of one reputable vendor, I’ve realized that it uses an external MySQL database to store its configuration. That got me thinking: a security product is sold with a promise to add a layer of protection around an existing business application with known vulnerabilities. However, this security product itself relies on another application with known vulnerabilities (MySQL isn’t exactly known for its security) to fulfill its basic functions. Is the resulting architecture even a tiny bit more secure? Not at all – due to added complexity it’s in fact even more open to malicious attacks.

For complete article, see: The Cargo Cult of Cybersecurity.”

Forum Systems Lauds Recognition of API Security in OWASP Top 10

By | Date posted: August 18, 2017

Longtime API Security Champion Praises OWASP Community for Listing “Underprotected APIs” in RC1; Sponsors Premier AppSec USA 2017 Conference

BOSTON, August 21, 2017 – Forum Systems Inc., a pioneer in API security technology, today celebrated the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) community for including ‘Underprotected APIs’ in the OWASP Top 10 – 2017 RC1 list of most critical web application security risks.

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Four Pillars of API Security

By | Date posted:

API Security is complex! Vendors like Forum Systems, IBM, CA and Axway have invested almost 2 decades of engineering effort and significant capital in building API Security stacks to lockdown APIs. The API Security stack diagram shown below is essential for rapidly locking down APIs. In this article, we review “The Four Pillars of API Security” — SSL, Identity, Content Validation and Architecture.

API Security Stack

Before addressing the Four Pillars of API Security, it is essential to recognize that a robust PKI is a must for enterprise-grade API Security. Without proper key life-cycle management, the API Security Pillars cannot be built.

Once a solid PKI foundation is in place, an organization can build API Security Pillars on this foundation. Without a robust PKI foundation to stand on, API security pillars will collapse. With a solid foundation and strong pillars, a corporation’s API attack surface area is significantly reduced. To deploy API Security, we recommend the following four pillars:

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API Security – Taking the plunge

By | Date posted: August 10, 2017

Dear Readers:

Forum Systems and the security community need your help in raising API Security awareness. Forum Systems has been at the forefront of API Security for over 16 years. Our relentless efforts in educating IT professionals on how best to expose their IT assets securely via APIs has paid off: OWASP has recognized API Security as a Top 10 vulnerability as a part of its 2017 Release Candidate 1 (RC1).

OWASP has finally dipped its toes into the API Security waters. The API waters run deep and can sink every enterprise IT component with security vulnerabilities that impact network devices, load balancers, application servers, ESBs, databases and even legacy mainframe systems. No component is immune since almost all components expose their functionality via APIs.

It is for this reason we are asking your help in reinforcing the need for API Security.

The OWASP 2017 RC1 includes A10 – Unprotected APIs. We believe that A10 should be ratified in the OWASP Top 10 2017 to ensure that API vulnerabilities are actively addressed by the security community.

You can help ratify A-10 in OWASP 2017 by:

For example, see the excellent and very polite discussion on the emphasizing XXE.

Thank you for your efforts, we look forward to continuing our work with security thought leaders and the API community in making enterprise and cloud APIs secure.

-Forum Systems

API Security and OWASP Top 10

By | Date posted: August 7, 2017

API Security and OWASP Top 10 are not strangers. Many years ago (circa 2009), we presented our test results on Techniques in Attacking and Defending XML/Web Services. Fast forward to 2017, OWASP has recognized API Security as a primary security concern by adding it as A10 – unprotected APIs to its list of top 10 vulnerabilities facing web applications. Forum Systems has been at the center of building solutions that address API Security and looks forward to further working with security thought leaders in making enterprise and cloud APIs secure.

API-Security
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Cloud(ed) Judgment: OneLogin’s Breach Continues to Fuel the Security Debate

By | Date posted: June 26, 2017

When it comes to the next big data breach, it’s never a matter of if, but a discussion of when.

This time, the target was identity and access management firm OneLogin, which recently shut down its U.S. data center due to compromised Amazon Web Services (AWS) keys. With the company serving more than 2,000 enterprises across 44 countries, the incident has been referred to as a “massive leak” and once again raised questions about cloud security.

As we continue to learn, everything that the cloud represents is great… until it’s not.
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The President’s New EO Gets the Gist of NIST

By | Date posted: June 8, 2017

President Trump introduced his long-awaited Cybersecurity Executive Order last month. While some focused on its similarities to EO 13636 issued by the Obama administration more than four years earlier, we were more concerned with, and quite frankly, excited by, the fact that it (rightly) cast a renewed spotlight on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Framework.

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