Top 5 API Security Risks in 2023

by | Jan 30, 2023

Top 5 API Security Risks

APIs revolutionize the way we connect different systems and applications. However, neglecting their security by lacking proper technology and security professionals exposes them to threats. Therefore, neglecting the security of APIs with insufficient technology and security professionals makes them an easy target for attacks and vulnerabilities. The number of common attacks executed by malicious actors, which include unauthorized access, data breaches, denial of service attacks, and others, is on the rise. Here is a list of the Top 5 API security risks that can compromise the security of your system.


api security risks infographics

Injection attacks

One of the major ways API gets security threats is through injection attacks. Injection attacks involve sending malicious data  ( eg: sending or injecting malicious SQL code into a query or command). In fact, the goal of injection attacks is to gain unauthorized access or breach the normal functioning of a program.

There are different types of injection attacks which include:

SQL Injection:

This includes the injection of malicious codes or data into the SQL code to manipulate or get access to sensitive data 

Command Injection:

Injection of malicious code into the LDAP directory server obtains unauthorized access to sensitive data.

XML Injection:

This involves Malicious actors manipulating the behavior of an XML interpreter by injecting malicious code into an XML document.

LDAP Injection:

Malicious code injected into the LDAP directory server gives unauthorized access to sensitive data.

OS Command Injection: 

This is also called Shell Injection and involves untrusted data passed as an argument in an operating system command. This allows an attacker to execute arbitrary commands. 


Broken authentication and session management:

When APIs do not properly process authentication and session management, it increases the API security risk by way of broken authentication and others.

Some examples of these are as follows:

Weak or easily guessable credentials

It is very lame if you create passwords or credentials that are very common or easily predictable. Therefore, one must implement proper and wise configurations with no vulnerability.  Remember! attackers can easily guess and use it to hijack unauthorized access.

Lack of proper user authentication

If the API is not functioning properly or is not configured with security for proper user authentication it can increase API security risks.

Session hijacking

Attackers can gain access to session tokens and gain access to or breach sensitive data if it is not properly secured.

Lack of proper role-based access control:

Not enforcing proper role-based access control can increase API security risks by many folds. Therefore, role-based access control is one of the best strategies organizations can employ to secure and control access.

Lack of proper multi-factor authentication:

If multi-factor authentication is not correctly implemented in the API, it exposes itself to the risk of account takeover attacks.

Lack of proper user management

If an API does not properly manage user accounts, it can allow unauthorized access to sensitive data or perform unauthorized actions.

XML External Entity (XXE) attacks

XML attack is a type of attack that takes advantage of the vulnerable way in which XML  data is parsed. In fact, this attack increases the API security risk of hijacking file systems, databases, and internal networks by injecting malicious XML code into an API request. Moreover, XML attacks are also used to do other types of attacks such as denial of service or server-side request forgery (SSRF).

Security Misconfiguration

Application programing Interfaces that are not properly configured open a wide range of attacks. Therefore, one must implement proper and wise configurations with no vulnerability. The risk from security misconfiguration usually occurs due to reasons like- not properly configuring default settings, providing incorrect permissions, unpatched software, misconfigured network security, lack of encryption, insufficient monitoring and logging, and misconfiguring access control and the web server.

Insufficient logging and monitoring

Insufficient logging and monitoring increase the risk of API security. This is because, without proper logging, it is difficult to understand who is accessing the API, track them, and monitor their actions. This makes it harder to detect and investigate suspicious activity. Also without sufficient monitoring, it is difficult to detect when API is overloaded. Therefore it is important to have sufficient logging and monitoring to maintain the security of an API.

Read more about How to Maintain Security of  an API here


Cyber hackers are getting smarter day by day when it comes to API security. Without sufficient technology and security professionals, APIs become an easy target for attacks and vulnerabilities. The above blog has comprehensively listed some of the top 5 API security risks that can compromise your system. This includes Injection attacks, broken authentication and session management, XML attacks, insufficient logging and monitoring, security misconfigurations, and more. Therefore, organizations have to reduce the threat landscape by consistently following security practices that are best for reducing the attack opportunities against APIs and mainly its endpoints.


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