Unified API Protection for Telcos and Mobile Carriers – Time to Value

August 26, 2022 | by Muzaffer Pasha

Unified API Protection Telcom

Largest Mobile Carrier Identified 4,600 APIs
in Days, not Weeks, or Months

The security team at the nation’s largest mobile carrier had a problem trying to obtain a consistent and complete inventory of the company’s sprawling API footprint. Business critical API-based applications were driving the mobile carrier’s day-to-day business of managing their mobile network, but the number of APIs were quickly outstripping their ability to keep track of them all.

Key Objectives: A Complete API Catalog

A 2021 security team objective was to obtain a complete running inventory of all their APIs within their organization to ensure that they understood their entire API footprint. Across the organization, they had software groups that supported API application development but worked independently of each other. What resulted was shadow APIs that were not cataloged and were without the oversight of the security team. However, because so many teams were associated with API development, and in the absence of API protection solutions, the cataloging process for both managed and unmanaged APIs was difficult, time-consuming, and lacked accuracy.

Scratching the Surface

When asked how many APIs they had, the security team replied that they had roughly 100 APIs that had been documented manually. They intuitively knew that they were only scratching the surface as there were (likely) hundreds if not thousands of APIs still unaccounted for and not within their existing API catalog.

API Sentinel Automates API Discovery

Cequence introduced API Sentinel to the security team and a proof of concept (PoC) was kicked off. By deploying API Sentinel, in just a matter of days, they were able to discover over 4,600 API endpoints that were active across their infrastructure – a 98% increase in API visibility and inventory over what the security team had just days prior to the introduction of Cequence. Moreover, they were able to obtain deep security insights that included the following:

  • 6 sensitive data exposure incidents where customer ID, account number and other related business sensitive data was exposed.
  • 5 instances of user authentication issues where username and passwords were exposed in cleartext, information that could be read by an attacker.
  • 4 fake request headers that were detected aimed at deceiving the application into processing the rogue requests to gain sensitive data.

API Sentinel Dashboard

Unified API Protection for Telcos

Immediate Improvement in API Protection, Quality and Consistency

For every API endpoint discovered, API Sentinel was able to save developers hours in manually verifying the compliance of their APIs against OpenAPI specifications. In addition, this helped to create a baseline by which if a developer changed or added new headers or fields, API Sentinel could discover and catalog these changes, providing an update to the security team. This allowed the security team to proactively and continuously monitor their API endpoints for changes, ensuring that they are always up to date with the latest security state of their APIs.

API Sentinel 2 minute Demo Video

Conclusion

With Cequence deployed, they were able to obtain a continuous protection process for their APIs that included discovery, inventory, tracking, and risk assessment. As new APIs were introduced, API Sentinel was able to immediately add them to their API catalog. Software changes to existing APIs, such as parameter changes or sudden sensitive data exposure surfaced within the dashboard. The security team could now work collaboratively with the development team to highlight critical API security issues that needed to be immediately addressed before a potential API exploit could lead to a major data breach — try API Sentinel today.

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Muzaffer Pasha

Muzaffer Pasha

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Additional Resources

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