APIs play a critical role in modern application architectures, and this OWASP project focuses on awareness of common API security weaknesses.
The goal of the OWASP (Open Worldwide Application Security Project) list of the Top 10 API Security Risks is to educate those involved in API development and maintenance and increasing awareness of common API security weaknesses. APIs have increasingly become a target for attackers and OWASP’s API security project focuses on strategies and solutions to understand and mitigate the unique vulnerabilities and security risks associated with APIs.
APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are fundamental to the development of modern applications, as they facilitate the ability of applications to communicate and exchange data with other applications, services, or platforms. APIs are a key part of an app modernization strategy and are the foundation of mobile apps. They enable businesses to easily integrate with external platforms and third-party services and build comprehensive solutions by connecting various components. This promotes a modular approach to app development that enables developers to leverage existing services and functionality, promote code reuse, accelerate development cycles, and enhance productivity.
APIs also expand the risk surface and specifically introduce unforeseen risk due to the nature of their interdependencies across multi-cloud architectures. Like web apps, APIs are susceptible to vulnerability exploits, abuse from automated threats, denial of service, misconfiguration, and attacks that bypass authentication and authorization controls.
By their nature, APIs expose critical business logic and sensitive information, such as user data, authentication credentials, and financial transactions, and have increasingly become a target for attackers; in particular, the login, create account, add to cart, and money transfer functions. APIs can become entry points for attackers seeking to exploit vulnerabilities or weaknesses, or to expose underlying infrastructure and resources.
Robust API security measures are necessary to protect data from unauthorized access, manipulation, or exposure to ensure privacy and maintain the trust of users and stakeholders, as well as ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of APIs. Best practices for API security include the following:
The OWASP API Security Top 10 – 2023 was formulated to increase awareness of common API security weaknesses and to help developers, designers, architects, managers, and others involved in API development and maintenance maintain a proactive approach to API security.
The OWASP API Security Top 10 risks for 2023 are:
F5 supports the OWASP Foundation and its dedication to improving software security and raising awareness of web application security risks and vulnerabilities at multiple levels. Indeed, there are security risks common to both apps and APIs that bear consideration when implementing security solutions. For example:
F5 addresses the risks identified in the OWASP API Security Top 10 with solutions that protect the growing attack surface and emerging threats as apps evolve and API deployments increase. F5 Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) solutions defend the entirety of the modern app attack surface with comprehensive protections that include WAF, API Security, L3-L7 DDoS mitigation, and bot defense against automated threats and fraud. The distributed platform makes it simple to deploy consistent policies and scale security across your entire estate of apps and APIs regardless of where they’re hosted, and integrate protections into the API lifecycle and broader security ecosystems.
F5 provides hybrid security architectures that consistently and continuously protect apps and APIs from core to cloud to edge. F5 solutions dynamically discover and automatically protect critical business logic behind APIs using threat intelligence, ML-based security, and zero trust principles, providing the resilience and agility necessary to compete in the API-driven digital economy.
F5 Web Application Firewall solutions also block and mitigate a broad spectrum of risks identified by OWASP Top 10, a widely recognized list of the most critical web application security risks. APIs, like web apps, are susceptible to misconfiguration and automated threats, and can be targeted by vulnerability exploits, SSRF, and attacks that attempt to bypass authentication and authorization controls. F5 WAF solutions combines signature and behavioral protections, including threat intelligence from F5 Labs and ML-based security, to keep pace with emerging threats; they can also be integrated with specialized bot defense controls.
These solutions ease the burden and complexity of consistently securing applications across clouds, on-premises, and edge environments, while simplifying management via a centralized SaaS infrastructure. F5 WAFs also streamline app security by integrating protections into development frameworks and CI/CD pipelines with core security functionality, centralized orchestration, and oversight via a single dashboard with a 360-degree view of app performance and security events across distributed applications.
F5 also offers solutions to address the risks outlined in OWASP’s Automated Threats to Web Applications Project. F5 Distributed Cloud Bot Defense prevents fraud and abuse that can bypass existing bot management solutions and provides real-time monitoring and intelligence as well as ML-based retrospective analysis to protect organizations from automated attacks, without inserting user friction or disrupting the customer experience. Distributed Cloud Bot Defense maintains effectiveness regardless of how attackers retool, whether the attacks pivot from web apps to APIs or attempt to bypass anti-automation defenses by spoofing telemetry or using human CAPTCHA solvers.
F5 also offers multi-tiered DDoS protection for advanced online security as a managed, cloud-delivered mitigation service that detects and mitigates large-scale network, protocol, and application-targeted attacks in real time; the same protections are available as on-premises hardware, software, and hybrid solutions as well. F5 Distributed Cloud DDoS Mitigation defends against volumetric and application-specific layer 3-4 and advanced layer 7 attacks before they reach your network infrastructure and applications.
F5 Distributed Cloud API Security ›