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Cloud Hacking – Why API Remains the Biggest Threat?

Cloud computing is central to digital transformation. Most enterprises use cloud-based services today. They help enterprises remain agile and resilient in the era of constant changes.

 92% of enterprises host resources and functions in the cloud. These resources and functions are vital to business operations. But how secure are clouds? Not very.

98% of enterprises faced cloud hacking, as per a 2021 study. This figure has shot up over 18 months from 10% in 2020. 

The top causes of cloud hacking have evolved over the years. Currently, APIs are among the top threats to clouds. And API security risk is a disturbing trend in cyber security today. Two-thirds of cloud breaches are due to misconfigured APIs.

Why are APIs the top threats to your clouds? What can you do to protect your clouds and the resources hosted? Keep reading to find out. 

Cloud Hacking: A Snapshot 

First things first, can the cloud be hacked? Yes, absolutely! CISA warned us last year.

Hackers are aware of the criticality of clouds to enterprises today. They also know that many companies use public clouds. Private/ on-premise clouds are more difficult to hack than public clouds.

With public clouds, enterprises and vendors share security responsibilities. There are growing numbers of vulnerabilities in public ones that attackers can exploit. 

Several enterprises also fail to apply adequate security controls to secure the cloud. As a result, we are seeing an increase in the instances of cloud hacking

Why are APIs Top Threats to Cloud Security? 

Insecure APIs and interfaces are among the top threats to cloud security today. They are second on the list after insufficient identity, access, and key management. 

Ascent of APIs 

APIs weren’t considered a big threat to cloud security in 2019. Back then, API dependency was minimal. Today, our dependence on APIs is growing rapidly. We are shifting away from web-based infrastructures to API infrastructures for apps. Monolithic apps and websites are fewer. 

APIs provide developers with agile, hassle-free building blocks to develop cloud services. They offer much better connectivity. But these benefits also come with several risks. So, we see that they are top security concerns for CISOs. 

APIs Widen the Attack Surface 

APIs make it easy for cloud hacking by widening the attack surface. How do they widen the attack surface? Because they are everywhere. Their ubiquity creates an interconnected architecture.

A misconfiguration here or a broken access control there is all a hacker needs. They can hack clouds using these vulnerabilities

Further, there is a massive rise in the use of external APIs and third-party cloud services. You will have to face the damage if your vendor doesn’t take API security seriously. 90% of data breaches target cloud assets and servers. 

APIs Create Data Security Problems by Their Very Nature 

APIs ensure easier access and connectivity to resources and data. In other words, they expose data and resources programmatically. You will expose sensitive data residing in the cloud to attackers if you don’t secure APIs. Attackers can then modify, delete, or steal data easily. 

APIs threaten cloud data security because most enterprises don’t have the: 

  • proper access controls
  • real-time visibility 
  • robust data security policies

Managing APIs is Complex  

Enterprises use 15,564 APIs on average. API use has grown exponentially within enterprises in the past year at 201%. Larger enterprises use an average of 25,592 APIs.

This makes it difficult for developers to monitor, manage and secure all their APIs. The lack of centralized visibility further augments this challenge. 

As a result, several vulnerabilities and security weaknesses arise. These unmanaged shadow APIs enable attackers to perform cloud hacking easily. Here are some examples of such vulnerabilities: 

  • SaaS misconfigurations 
  • Disabled security controls 
  • Unauthenticated endpoints 
  • Disabled logging and monitoring 

API Security Myths Cause Poor Security Posture 

Some of these API security myths are:  

  • Port-based blocking works 
  • Signature-based techniques are enough to secure APIs
  • Firewalls, API gateways, and IAM tools are enough to secure APIs 
  • Single, automated tools work effectively against API threats. For instance – next-gen WAFs and Intrusion prevention systems (IPS)

But the reality is starkly different. You need multi-layered, comprehensive API security solutions that combine 

  • Next-gen WAF
  • API-specific rules 
  • Global threat feeds
  • Real-time, centralized visibility 
  • Advanced Bot and DDoS mitigation
  • Self-learning AI, automation, and analytics
  • Behavioral analysis to detect malicious behavior
  • Expertise of certified security professionals to address more complex issues 

Only such solutions ensure that you don’t get blindsided by exposed APIs.

Conclusion 

Cloud hacking caused by exposed APIs is a big problem for your business. It causes multiple layers of damage to cloud security. Avert these damaging consequences by hardening your API security.

Choose solutions like Indusface API Protection for real-time, context-aware, data-aware, fully managed security. 

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Author

Owais takes care of Hackread’s social media from the very first day. At the same time He is pursuing for chartered accountancy and doing part time freelance writing.

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