Due to the sheer number of APIs in use, companies are at a much higher risk of breaches. Nearly half of all businesses have between 50 and 500 APIs deployed, either internally or publicly, while some have over a thousand active APIs.
The same power and flexibility found in APIs are also leveraged by attackers, who use their developer skills for malicious purposes with 80% or 1.8 billion of the blocked attacks being API-based. APIs simplify the execution of hard to prevent automated attacks and business logic abuse, highlighted by a 62% increase in ATOs against login APIs and a surge of 178% in content scraping against APIs. Researchers discovered that the lack of security APIs may cause $12 billion to $23 billion in average annual API-related cyber loss in the US and anywhere from $41 billion to $75 billion globally due to breach recovery and interruption of operations accounting for most of the cyber-losses.
By the Numbers
Enterprises face a combined $12 billion to $23 billion in losses in 2022 from compromises linked to APIs. Source
A 2020 survey found 48% of organizations regularly -- and knowingly -- push vulnerable code into production. Source
Enterprises are lacking three million cybersecurity professionals, and a lack of skilled personnel tops the list of barriers organizations face when securing their web applications. Source
Threat actors are increasingly targeting APIs across all enterprises, looking for authentication coding errors that allow escalated privileges and using enumeration techniques to leverage it more broadly. Or they uncover APIs exposing sensitive data and then steal the payload, or they use automation to execute an automated attack on a perfectly coded API. Attacks on your APIs can introduce a range of risks and they impact the entire business – not just the security team. Business impact examples include:
Whether it’s an automated ATO on a perfectly coded API, or a volumetric attack against an API coded without resource or rate limiting (OWASP API#4), the impact on infrastructure teams can cause costs to skyrocket. Worse yet, the web site and mobile app can become non-responsive, resulting in (real) user dissatisfaction.
Security is impacted by efforts to slow or stop API attacks, often struggling to separate real transactions from fake, or worse yet, blindsided by an unprotected shadow API.
Often engaged directly if the attacks are fake account or ATO related, investigating individual accounts, issuing account reset or delete recommendations. All of which consumes time that could (and should) be spent on broader team goals.
Marketing, Sales, eCommerce
Depending on the type of attack, these groups may be presented with inflated marketing statistics which turn into poor or misleading sales program decisions, missed revenue projections and damage to vendor relationships.
Customer Satisfaction, PR, Brand
With the understanding that 57% of consumers spend more on brands to which they are loyal, which can generate a 12%-18% incremental revenue growth per year, retailers are singularly focused on customer retention. A bad experience due to a slow or unavailable website, or desired item can drive them elsewhere, resulting in a 5x increase in costs of acquiring a new customer.
Limitations of Traditional Defenses
Today’s security teams simply lack the visibility and defense capabilities they need to protect the ever-growing risk from APIs and other application connections. Many have adopted a belief that compliance with PCI or SOC 2 guidelines combined with a shift-left, DevOps mentality supported by existing security technologies is sufficient to protect APIs. The problem with these strategies is that they don’t have a way to “know the unknown”, meaning they aren’t able to look for all APIs and API vulnerabilities without knowing where to look. Even if all APIs are discovered and “known”, attackers can still leverage seemingly legitimate transactions in an attempt to steal data, or commit fraud. Traditional approaches that WAFs or API gateways depend on easily evadable detection, lack the real-time ability to discern good from bad API activity and are reliant on static, least common denominator protection spread across multiple technology components.
The Journey to Unified API Protection for Retailers
Cequence Security believes in taking a holistic approach to defending enterprises against API-related data risk with a market-defining Unified API Protection solution that goes beyond API security approaches that focus solely on one aspect of the API protection journey. Achieving true peace of mind for comprehensive API attack protection means traveling through six distinct steps associated with the Unified API Protection solution:
Detection: Continuous scanning for threats, including subtle business logic abuse, fraud, and automated malicious activity from bots.
Prevention: Employing countermeasures such as alerts, real-time blocking, deception, without the need for added third-party data security tools.
Unified API Protection is different from fragmented or incomplete API security offerings because it’s a methodology designed to account for multiple types of risk, across every phase of the API protection lifecycle.
With the Cequence Unified API Protection solution, customers can continue to reap the competitive and business advantages of ubiquitous API connectivity. The Cequence solution results in attack futility, failure, and fatigue for even the most relentless of attackers. It significantly improves visibility and protection while reducing cost, minimizing fraud, business abuse, data losses and non-compliance.