Mobile API Security: How to Protect API from Bots

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The world has gone digital. Almost every activity is conducted online nowadays. Think about online dating, classes, fitness classes, shopping, and churches. The digital world is not only used to connect with loved ones nowadays. Things have been made even easier by mobile applications. Therefore, it is not surprising that most people prefer mobile applications over web browsers.

With mobile applications growing in popularity over the last decade, cybercriminals have now turned their attention to these applications. One of the most valuable elements of every app is the API. Mobile apps APIs allow developers to link their apps with other microservices.

Unfortunately, mobile app APIs might be the weakest link in every application. That is why business owners need to invest more in protecting APIs to enhance user experience and prevent cyber theft. Since bots launch most API attacks, it would help protect your mobile app API from bot traffic.

In this comprehensive guide, we will be discussing everything you should know about mobile app APIs and how to protect them from bot traffic.

What exactly is Mobile App API?

API or application program interface is a form of technical development that allows app developers to link their applications with other services and platforms. To put things into perspective, mobile app API allows a mobile app to receive and share data with other microservices and platforms. Think of it as the routes used by information to travel from one mobile app to another.

Mobile app APIs have become popular since they connect the user to the information they need. What is more, applications will not have to store volumes of data to give the user the information they need. In a nutshell, mobile app APIs increase app functionality and agility.

A good example of API is the Facebook API that enables users to share information from third-party applications. Other socials, including Instagram and Twitter, also have APIs that allow users to share content and information from third-party applications. Most consumer applications use GPS applications to improve user experience and app functionality.

Why Should You Use APIs in Mobile App Development?

Using APIs in mobile app development comes with a ton of benefits. With APIs, you will never have to code the entire app or reinvent the wheel to improve app agility and functionality. Let’s discuss the top benefits of mobile app APIs below:

· More Features and Less Coding

One of the reasons you should include APIs in your mobile app is to reduce the need for coding while increasing the range of services. Case in point, APIs will allow you to include a chat feature in your employee hub without having to code the app again. You can also install Google Maps to enable your employees to send precise locations.

· Increased Engagement

Whether you own a consumer app or a corporate app, increasing engagement with your customers and clients pays. With mobile app APIs, you will have the chance of increasing engagement with your employees and customer base. To help you understand, installing popular social APIs such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram will allow you to connect with your audience and employees on a personal level.

· Instant Sign-In

We live in a busy and fast-paced world. Every minute now matters. That is why you should use mobile app APIs to reduce sing-in time and save time. Users can login and register much quickly using Google or Facebook with mobile app APIs. It will also enhance the user experience.

Popular Mobile App APIs Every Business Should Use

Now that you know the full benefits of mobile app APIs, let us discuss top free mobile APIs you can use:

· Twitter API.

· Facebook API.

· Foursquare API.

· Google Analytics API.

· Gmail API.

· Google Calendar API.

· Google Maps API.

· Google Drive API.

· Weather API.

How do Bot Attacks Happen?

Cybercriminals have turned their attention to APIs, with several organizations adopting the Internet of Things. The sad news is that APIs are susceptible to bot attacks. These attacks expose critical business services and payment card details at risk of malicious bots.

Identifying bot attacks early on is the best way of protecting your mobile app from brute attacks, credential stuffing, credential cracking, and account takeover. Here is how to spot bot attacks on the mobile app API before they occur:

· The strange HTTP request, especially from a unique browser.

· Sudden increase in the number of errors.

· Unusual application usage.

· High GET/POST to Head ratio requests.

Why are APIs Susceptible to Bot Attacks

Cybercriminals take advantage of vulnerabilities in the API to hijack apps and imitate legitimate API calls. Apart from app-emulation, cybercriminals also reverse engineer mobile applications to discover how the app’s APIs function. The app will be exposed to API breach if the API keys are included in the application. They also launch credential stuffing attacks. Discover why mobile app APIs is susceptible to bot attacks:

· Weak Encryption

Since most APIs do not have strong encryption, cybercriminals exploit the vulnerabilities using man-in-the-middle attacks. These attacks allow them to steal vital user information or conduct illegal financial transactions. Cybercriminals can also launch credential stuffing attacks to take over user applications.

· Weak Endpoint Security

Almost all IoT devices and microservices platforms use API channels to communicate with the servers. They use client certificates to authenticate themselves on API servers. Cybercriminals take advantage of vulnerabilities to launch attacks.

· Business Logic Abuse

Unfortunately, APIs are vulnerable to business logic attacks. That is why businesses need to invest in an effective bot management to protect your API from bots.

Best Practices for Mobile App APIs

Now that you know the vulnerabilities, it is time to look at some of the things you can do to protect your API:

· Monitor all API calls coming from bots.

· Eliminate primitive authentication.

· Introduce strong encryption.

· Add two-factor authentications.

· Monitor the usage and transfer of API calls to identify suspicious behavior.

· Rate-limiting will deter cybercriminals.

· Scan all incoming requests to identify malicious activities.

Final Thoughts

Although mobile app API attacks have increased in the last decade, business owners can still win the war against these attacks using the best practices for mobile app API.

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