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  • Writer's pictureDaria Chadwick

Why API Security Issues Arise: Protecting Perimeters, Not Data

API Perimeter Protection is Not The Be-All, End-All of API Security

In 2020 and 2021, application security tools bore down on the market as malicious API traffic targeted the organization's perimeter at an unprecedented volume.

Given this increase in attacks, that the average API has 26 serious vulnerabilities, and that many organizations have hundreds and even thousands of APIs under their control, there was no surprise that we saw this surge toward perimeter protection tools occurring.

After all, every time an enterprise exposes an API, they are effectively "punching a hole" in their corporate perimeter. Naturally, building a protective perimeter to block as many attacks as possible was necessary.

Security Shifts in 2022

While many of these attacks can or will be stopped, not all of them will be, and we've seen time and again the consequences of vulnerabilities being exposed (Top 60 Data Breaches, Ranked). The attack surface is growing by the day, and hackers will continue to demonstrate the new and innovative ways they're able to attack and capture an organization's data through exposed APIs vulnerabilities.

Perimeter tools - excellent though they are - cannot be the gold standard of API security. Organizations should use them in tandem with other security approaches to help comprehensively reduce risk to the organization.

Will perimeter tools be able to handle and stop attacks that are expected to double by 2024? Not likely. We're already seeing a shift starting to occur in 2022. More and more research points to the necessary improvement in securing and managing APIs. These improvements involve using perimeter tools in conjunction with the proactive tracking and fixing of API vulnerabilities and implementing a more comprehensive approach to API security.

If API vulnerabilities can be rapidly and effectively resolved while perimeter tools are running, surges in malicious traffic become a lot more manageable as threat levels decrease.

But fixing vulnerabilities in APIs can be difficult without a clear understanding of what it takes to do so. Before we can adequately secure the inner circle, we must understand why API Security issues are rising, why perimeter tools aren't enough, and what needs to be corrected.

There are many internal and external reasons for API Security issues (read them all in our Ultimate Guide). But in this post, we'll be focusing on four internal-facing patterns. Just these four internal problems alone contribute to the need for more comprehensive approaches to API Security.

Why API Security Issues Arise

Application development is changing, fast

It's been some time since applications were built in a monolithic fashion using home-grown libraries with server-side layer logic controls. Now, API-based architectures support applications orchestrated by hundreds of internal and external microservices. Additionally, controlling logic more so happens on the client-side.

Development teams are more agile than ever before

With access to rich development frameworks across many languages and many commercial and open tools at their disposal, developers can work faster and more productively than ever before. Applications have moved from releasing every six months to releasing several times per day. However, AppSec teams are still largely dependent on the manual testing of APIs.

Security is taking a back seat

Development teams are primarily focused on functionality over security. Security is viewed as an inevitable, mandatory bottleneck in the development process. Checking for vulnerabilities is often tedious, with analysis tools raising hundreds of false positives for developers to parse through. Securing APIs is not often prioritized, and even when it is, the nature of adequately securing APIs is easier said than done. Prioritizing functionality over security translates to weaker perimeters and more work for perimeter tools.

Lack of visibility into APIs

Organizations have an alarming lack of visibility into their APIs in 2022. Without transparency into the API environment, organizations have no real way to understand the scope of the problem they're facing. A lack of transparency translates to no real strategy around managing and securing their APIs. In turn, this leads to inaction - the most dangerous approach an organization can take around APIs in 2022.

An Explosive Combination

More vulnerable APIs delivered at a frantic pace + manual processes driven by understaffed AppSec teams + an inadequately secured inner circle + lack of visibility into APIs = severe, compounding cybersecurity risk to the organization.

Fortunately, the organization can significantly lessen other damaging issues by securing the inner circle. With malicious API traffic expected to hit an all-time high in 2022, it’s imperative that organizations move quickly. Security leaders must ensure the inner circle is appropriately accounted for, addressing APIs vulnerabilities at the pace and accountability level required to keep cybersecurity risk low.

Learn more about how ReactFirst protects your organization's inner circle by downloading our Ultimate Guide to API Remediation. Learn how we help accelerate and augment the remediation of API vulnerabilities to lower cybersecurity risk.

Or, schedule a discovery session to learn more:



Introducing ReactFirst: Security for the new API Economy and the pace of modern business. ReactFirst is an award-winning, comprehensive API threat remediation solution that goes beyond technology to help minimize the threat caused by API security vulnerabilities.

ReactFirst helps bring together a combination of capabilities - a program, technology, and team of experts - to appropriately address the risk caused by API vulnerabilities. Instead of merely identifying problems, it tracks the organization's ability to resolve them, providing a command and control structure that delivers the necessary insights and accountability to see each vulnerability move through the remediation process.

ReactFirst works as the perfect accompaniment to your existing API strategy, providing the transparency, oversight, and control into the API Remediation process your organization needs as the risk around API vulnerabilities grows.

Talk to us to see if the ReactFirst is a fit for you, and whether it help boost your API Remediation efforts into one you can trust:


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