Short answer – yes. Most application programming interface (API) attacks are not the familiar password-cracking or injection-based attacks.
A good example is the recent Facebook hack, which exposed tens of millions of user data. In this case, the API logic allowed the exploit and the attacker exploited it. This is an unauthorized use of the API.
An attacker does not need to crack the API. They find inherent business logic issues and exploit vulnerabilities such as BOLA.
Are you vulnerable to flaws in your business logic?How do you mitigate the vulnerability by API security? Read on to find out.
What is a business logic flaw?
Business logic flaws are flaws in API design and implementation. They enable attackers to manipulate legitimate data, workflows, and functionality to achieve their malicious goals. These malicious targets range from privilege escalation to scrapping to account takeover.
business logic flaw Unlike other network security vulnerabilities. What’s the difference between them? They are invisible to automated scanning tools.
Logical deficiencies vary from case to case and often from organization to organization. These flaws are also invisible to security testers unless they explicitly look for them. Attackers exploit legitimate functions/processes to achieve malicious end goals.
Why Are Business Logic Flaws a Top Target for API Attackers?
Organizations often overlook business logic flaws. They don’t anticipate the unusual interactions users will have with the API/application. They may not see how users are abusing legitimate processes. Therefore, an attacker can easily exploit the API/application.
Also, attackers don’t have to steal credentials and API keys or buy them from the black market. They don’t have to crack passwords or engage in technical hacking. They just need to abuse logic to manipulate the API.
The API cannot detect malicious behavior and will respond the way it was designed to. In this way, attackers can seamlessly bypass the system to execute their commands.
Attack vectors for business logic flaws:
- Failed to handle unusual input
- Excessive trust in client controls
- False Assumptions About User Behavior
- authorization bypass
- Abusing HTML elements
- Business domain-specific flaws – e.g., misuse of rebate functionality
How to Manage Business Logic Vulnerabilities in APIs
Requires business-specific knowledge
Often, attackers know the functionality of the APIs, their business logic, and the business operations they affect. They also tend to have a deeper understanding of how business logic operates within complex APIs. Even better than developers.
Start with the basics to ensure better API security. Learn about the business domain and details of API services. You need to understand the changing API threat landscape.
Beyond left-shift thinking
There has been a paradigm shift in favor of a safe left-shift approach. This approach requires organizations to incorporate security into the early stages of development.
Business logic flaws are hard to find by parsing static code in the pre-deployment phase. You can’t find logic bugs unless the API is running. Security should be continuous and align your products, processes and people with security.
Security scanners cannot detect logical flaws
It’s not enough to rely solely on detecting misconfigurations, access control flaws, or known vulnerabilities. Application security scanning tools suffer from the same problem.
Security scanners are designed to find weak development practices and security vulnerabilities in applications. They miss most business logic flaws and API-related misconfigurations.
Adopt a Holistic View of API Security
Treat API security as a distinct discipline and add best practices to avoid potential mistakes that often lead to attacks.
It is important to take a holistic approach API security solutions like AppTrana Analyze, secure and provide adequate context to APIs. Key features include API discovery, API security testing, OWASP Top 10 API security, proactive security policies, and API-specific rules.
Each business is unique and supports unique business logic. Therefore, the tool should be fast enough to build customer rules accordingly. It requires an understanding of the business environment and potential risks.
The final piece of the puzzle is detecting real-time attacks against your APIs and endpoints. Three reasons why API security tools must complement experts.
- Find current vulnerabilities you didn’t know existed
- Helps you understand what logic flaws exist and how they are exploitable
- Eliminate false positives before remedial action begins
Create test cases that cover all possible attack scenarios.The more scenarios you test, the better your chances of finding inherent logic flaws
It only takes a few minutes of trial and error to exploit business logic flaws in the API. Take proactive steps to protect your business logic from vulnerabilities. It helps close gaps in your API security strategy.