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Ways to secure APIs

Any organization that exposes its data and services to the outside world is concerned about the security of its application programming interface. You need to understand the various approaches to securing your APIs in order to ensure that it is secure.


  • The use of authorization mechanisms is one of the most common approaches to securing the APIs. Authorization is the process of determining whether a user has access to a particular resource.
  • Users can securely login to third-party applications using their existing credentials with the help of the popular OAuth mechanism.

Various types of Authentication Mechanism

  • OAuth is an industry-standard protocol that provides a secure, delegation-based mechanism for authorization.

  • JWT is a standard that defines a compact and self-contained way of sending information. This information can be verified and trusted because it is digitally signed. The use of API keys is a common approach to securing the APIs.

Authentication with API Key

  • There are secret values that are used to authenticate and authorize access to an API. They are provided to the consumer by the provider. There are some drawbacks to using the API keys.

  • They are static and cannot be changed. The attacker will have access to the API indefinitely if the key is compromised. Third-parties are more likely to intercept the API keys if they are passed in plain text.


  • One way to mitigate drawbacks is to use a system that dynamically assigns keys. A number of advantages are provided by this approach. If the keys are compromised, they can be revoked or changed. This allows you to quickly and easily invalidate a key that has been compromised, without having to update all of your consumers.

  • The keys are not passed in plain text as part of the request. They are usually passed in as a query parameter. It's more difficult for attackers to gain access to your API if you reduce the risk of third-parties intercepting it.

Authorization is the process of determining if a user is allowed to access a particular resource. In the case of an online application, this usually means checking to see if the user has the necessary permission to view the requested resource.

The most common way to do this is to use an access control list.

Authorization with access control list

  • A list of permission that are associated with a group of users is called an ACL. When a user tries to access a resource, the application checks the ACL to see if the user has the necessary permission.

  • Role-based access control (RBAC) is a common approach. Each role in RBAC has its own set of permission, and users are assigned to one or more of them.

  • When a user tries to access a resource, the application checks to see if the user has the necessary roles and permissions.

Authorization and security are important in keeping data safe. You can help keep your data safe by understanding and using these concepts.

Depending on your needs and requirements, the best approach for your organization will be. It is important to keep your security up-to-date no matter which approach you choose.

By taking these steps, you can make sure that your application is protected from attack.

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Top comments (2)

arlemi profile image

I'd also recommend going through the OWASP Top Ten list with API Security in mind:

makendrang profile image

Thanks for the recommendation