Poorly implemented API authentication allows attackers to assume other users’ identities.
- Unprotected APIs that are considered “internal”
- Weak authentication that does not follow industry best practices
- Weak API keys that are not rotated
- Passwords that are weak, plain text, encrypted, poorly hashed, shared, or default passwords
- Authentication susceptible to brute force attacks and credential stuffing
- Credentials and keys included in URLs
- Lack of access token validation (including JWT validation)
- Unsigned or weakly signed non-expiring JWTs
How to prevent
- Check all possible ways to authenticate to all APIs.
- APIs for password reset and one-time links also allow users to authenticate, and should be protected just as rigorously.
- Use standard authentication, token generation, password storage, and multi-factor authentication (MFA).
- Use short-lived access tokens.
- Authenticate your apps (so you know who is talking to you).
- Use stricter rate-limiting for authentication, and implement lockout policies and weak password checks.