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APIs and Cybercrime: The State in 2019 So Far

APIs and Cybercrime: The State in 2019 So Far
  • With APIs slowly becoming popular tech terminology, cybercriminals are exploring what they can do with it too.
  • This year saw multiple instances of an unsecured API being used to gain unauthorized data access.

What is an API?

An Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of protocols that allows different programs to communicate with each other.

  • APIs are accessed by a large number of applications and users. This makes it crucial to ensure that they’re not misused to steal data or perform other malicious activities.
  • Although there are several advantages to using APIs, they add another layer that may be vulnerable to security risks.

Cyberattacks involving APIs in 2019

LandMark White Limited - February 2019

LandMark White Limited suffered a data exposure incident because of an exposed API. The company became aware of this incident on February 4, 2019. The exposed information included contact information and property valuation details belonging to several individuals.

Justdial unprotected API - April 2019

An unprotected Justdial API that could be used by anybody to fetch information was discovered by a security researcher in April. This is said to be an old API endpoint that was not currently used by the company and was left forgotten on the server.

GateHub - June 2019

GateHub noticed that a number of API requests were authorized without a valid access token. This followed complaints by customers and community members about funds stolen from their XRP Ledger wallets.

Venmo - June 2019

Venmo’s developer API allowed anyone to download millions of transactions without requiring user permission or an application. A computer science student downloaded seven million transactions to show that users’ activities were accessible.

APIs are everywhere and APIs are often not carefully managed for security risks. Security experts recommend measures such as maintaining an API inventory, implementing encryption, and logging API connections to avoid falling victim to such cybercrimes. With this status quo, API security incidents will likely continue impacting organizations worldwide.

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