Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Ed Featherston, Elizabeth White, Kevin Benedict, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Industrial IoT, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Protecting API Keys By @Axway | @CloudExpo [#API]

What can be done to help the API Key security situation?

Back in 2011, while CTO at Vordel (API security/management vendor which was acquired by Axway in 2012), I wrote a piece for the Cloud Security Alliance blog entitled "Protect the API Keys to your Cloud Kingdom". In it, I talked about the importance of protecting API Keys. I wrote that:

API Keys must be protected just like passwords and private keys are protected. This means that they should not be stored as files on the file system, or baked into non-obfuscated applications that can be analyzed relatively easily.
https://blog.cloudsecurityalliance.org/2011/04/18/protect-the-api-keys-to-your-cloud-kingdom/

Fast forward to 2015, and API Key security is more important than ever. This week, Janet Wagner wrote in ProgrammableWeb about how API Keys can leak from sources such as insecure build pipelines. API Keys are now starting to be recognized as just as important as passwords or private keys. However, much of the damage has been done, due to the proliferation of apps which make insecure usage of API Keys, and the insecure storage of API Keys on the server side.

What can be done to help the API Key security situation? Here are some remedies:

Put an API Management strategy in place
Of course, I work for an API security/management vendor (Axway), so you might think "he would say that". But, having an API Management strategy in place means that API Keys are protected at Runtime by an API Gateway, and issued at Design Time by an API Portal. What all of the recent API Key vulnerability victims have in common is a lack of an API Gateway in place, or an API Management strategy. An API Management strategy allows administrators to manage how API Keys are issued, typing them to the lifecycle of the API. In the screenshot below, we can see how an API Key can be issued for an app (in this case, the sample API Days voting app used at our API Security workshops at the API Days conference):

Remember to secure outbound API Keys

In her ProgrammableWeb piece, Janet Wagner makes the great point that "Amazon Web Services is a Primary Target for Hackers", and therefore "Secure your AWS Credentials". Losing track of API Keys for services such as Amazon can be costly, since attackers can use them to run up a huge bill for services. It's often not realized that an API Gateway can be used in an outbound direction to manage client credentials for services such as Amazon. In the screenshot below, we see Amazon AWS credentials being managed at the Axway API Gateway. This means that the API Keys are not sitting on a hard drive, or baked into an application, but instead are managed under the umbrella of an API security gateway:



Don't simply send an API Key in the querystring

It is amazing how many APIs are designed such that the API Key is sent in the querystring, effectively being a "username without a password". If an attacker gets a hold of a valid request, it is trivial to replay the request. This is why API providers such as Amazon provide two keys. One is used for identification, and the other is used for signing. Here at Axway, we provide API providers with an array of API Security options, as shown below:


Manage API Key security across multiple developers and APIs

It should not be a case of "One API, one API Key". A sophisticated API Key strategy involves much more than this, and is tied in with the usage of an API Catalog (the modern-day version of the SOA registry/repository) and the API lifecycle. Consider the list of API management capabilities provided by Axway, and how API Keys and OAuth are central:

    • Centralized API publication with an API Catalog
      • Attract and encourage developers to subscribe to APIs
      • Present API samples, parameter information and automated documentation
    • Secure, self-service functions for API developers, so they can:
      • View details of APIs they’re entitled to
      • Test an API directly from the Portal
      • Browse the API Catalog
      • Learn API usage through interactive Swagger documentation
      • Review API security policies and generate API access keys (e.g. OAuth)
      • View API quota details
    • Management of multiple developer communities, enabling an organization to:
      • Define varied developer groups and grant different levels of API access to each community
      • On-board large groups of developers easily and quickly
      • Manage API clients by defining who, what and how much developers may consume
      • Set security profiles for APIs (OAuth, API key, and more)
    • Visibility, measurement, audit control, and analytics
      • Track how data flows and review each step in real-time
      • Audit and debug API traffic as needed

(source: http://www.axway.com/products-solutions/api-management/api-portal)


Keep track of how your APIs are used

I've written before about the value of API Monitoring and Analytics. This is vitally important when you need to drill into API requests and see API key usage. Without an API Gateway in place as part of an API Management strategy, this is very difficult indeed. An API Gateway gathers the information, and then the rest of the API Management platform allows administrators to query API usage based on API Keys. In some recent cases of API Key vulnerabilities, the flaw went undiscovered for months. With API monitoring and analytics in place, that is not possible.

I'm sure this is not the last we will hear of API Key vulnerabilities in 2015. For more information on solutions, including the use of API Gateways for security, see Axway API Management.

More Stories By Mark O'Neill

Mark O'Neill is VP Innovation at Axway - API and Identity. Previously he was CTO and co-founder at Vordel, which was acquired by Axway. A regular speaker at industry conferences and a contributor to SOA World Magazine and Cloud Computing Journal, Mark holds a degree in mathematics and psychology from Trinity College Dublin and graduate qualifications in neural network programming from Oxford University.

@CloudExpo Stories
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Announcing Poland #DigitalTransformation Pavilion
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors!
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
HyperConvergence came to market with the objective of being simple, flexible and to help drive down operating expenses. It reduced the footprint by bundling the compute/storage/network into one box. This brought a new set of challenges as the HyperConverged vendors are very focused on their own proprietary building blocks. If you want to scale in a certain way, let's say you identified a need for more storage and want to add a device that is not sold by the HyperConverged vendor, forget about it...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
"We're focused on how to get some of the attributes that you would expect from an Amazon, Azure, Google, and doing that on-prem. We believe today that you can actually get those types of things done with certain architectures available in the market today," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Sanjeev Sharma Joins November 11-13, 2018 @DevOpsSummit at @CloudEXPO New York Faculty. Sanjeev Sharma is an internationally known DevOps and Cloud Transformation thought leader, technology executive, and author. Sanjeev's industry experience includes tenures as CTO, Technical Sales leader, and Cloud Architect leader. As an IBM Distinguished Engineer, Sanjeev is recognized at the highest levels of IBM's core of technical leaders.
As Cybric's Chief Technology Officer, Mike D. Kail is responsible for the strategic vision and technical direction of the platform. Prior to founding Cybric, Mike was Yahoo's CIO and SVP of Infrastructure, where he led the IT and Data Center functions for the company. He has more than 24 years of IT Operations experience with a focus on highly-scalable architectures.
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.