Understanding APIs and their functions
Application Programming Interface (API) can be defined as a set of rules that help two applications communicate with each other using a set of definitions and protocols. In simple words, it is an interface connecting two applications.
APIs play a significant role in:
- The smooth and seamless exchange of data between two software applications.
- APIs help in processing payments.
- Authentication and authorization are made easy using APIs as they help with login functionalities through other applications.
- APIs help in integrated devices through applications.
What is credential stuffing?
Credential stuffing is a form of cyber attack that allows attack actors to use compromised credentials gathered from other data breach incidents to try and hack into other unrelated systems. Usually, this is done with the help of automated bots to cover a larger scale of targets. Studies have shown that about 0.1% of breached credentials reused on other systems/services will result in a successful hacking attempt.
Repeated use of usernames and passwords has been the fundamental cause of the frequent rise in data breaches. A study by SpyCloud said that 70% of people exposed to data breaches had reused their passwords multiple times in various other accounts.
Understanding API credential stuffing attacks
APIs play an essential role in modern applications, cutting-edge packages, enabling seamless exchange between software applications. However, this interconnectedness and reliance on APIs additionally present vulnerabilities that attackers can take advantage of. One such vulnerability is the elevated risk of credential stuffing assaults.The recent global password survey in 2022 by Bitwarden shows that 32% of internet users reuse the same credentials across 5 to 10 websites.
When APIs are compromised, data breaches tend to rise along with credential stuffing attacks, as most people use the same credentials throughout other applications.
How does API credential stuffing attacks affect an organization?
Most businesses nowadays rely on applications and API helps link their applications, enabling seamless integration with other services like payment gateways, navigation, reviews platforms, etc. This makes them a target of cyber attacks caused by credential stuffing. Some of the damages that organisations face due to compromised applications are:
- Data breaches: Exposes sensitive customer information, financial data, or intellectual property. This can result in financial losses, reputational damage, and regulatory fines.
- Service disruptions: Overwhelm APIs and backend systems, causing service disruptions and downtime.This can lead to lost revenue and customer frustration.
- Financial losses: Causes financial loss due to unauthorized transactions, fraudulent charges, and remediation and recovery efforts costs.
- Regulatory compliance violations: Frequent credential stuffing attacks can violate data privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA, resulting in hefty fines and legal challenges.
Recommended measures to secure your applications from credential stuffing attacks
Implementing a few proactive measures can help effectively prevent applications from being compromised due to credential stuffing attacks. Some precautionary recommendations are:
- Implement strong authentication measures
- Limit the number of API requests that are received in a single IP address
- Monitor API traffic for suspicious activity
- Deploy a WAF that is significantly designed for APIs
- Educate employees about API security and best practices
- Conduct regular security audits
- Develop an incident response plan
By applying these measures, credential stuffing attacks and data breaches can be significantly reduced.
How does Modshield SB WAF help in securing your applications?
Modshield SB is a web application firewall that can help protect your applications from DDoS attacks. By deploying Modshield SB, you enable your application with an IP reputation filter. This helps you stay updated on threat intelligence feeds that assist in identifying unauthorized IP addresses.
Most web application firewalls defend the application from being hit by DoS, DoSS, and other similar cyber attacks. However, a credential stuffing attack is not similar to a DoS attack. DoS attacks are a flood of random requests that are initiated whereas credential stuffing attack requests appear legitimate and need immense scrutiny to implement an intelligent, protective strategy that the web application firewall can block. With the simple custom rule feature, protect your critical APIs against attacks. Modshield SB uses ModSecurity and OWASP CRS, making it easy to set up rules better suited for your application.