Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Matt Brickey, Elizabeth White, Christoph Schell, Rene Buest

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
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
"Outscale was founded in 2010, is based in France, is a strategic partner to Dassault Systémes and has done quite a bit of work with divisions of Dassault," explained Jackie Funk, Digital Marketing exec at Outscale, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We focus on SAP workloads because they are among the most powerful but somewhat challenging workloads out there to take into public cloud," explained Swen Conrad, CEO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are still a relatively small software house and we are focusing on certain industries like FinTech, med tech, energy and utilities. We help our customers with their digital transformation," noted Piotr Stawinski, Founder and CEO of EARP Integration, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager – it’s starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We're here to tell the world about our cloud-scale infrastructure that we have at Juniper combined with the world-class security that we put into the cloud," explained Lisa Guess, VP of Systems Engineering at Juniper Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"With Digital Experience Monitoring what used to be a simple visit to a web page has exploded into app on phones, data from social media feeds, competitive benchmarking - these are all components that are only available because of some type of digital asset," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
As enterprise cloud becomes the norm, businesses and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance related to data privacy and information protection. The most recent, Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU’s GDPR have board level implications and companies still struggle with demonstrating due diligence. Developers and DevOps leaders, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by in...
"Peak 10 is a hybrid infrastructure provider across the nation. We are in the thick of things when it comes to hybrid IT," explained Michael Fuhrman, Chief Technology Officer at Peak 10, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
"We are an IT services solution provider and we sell software to support those solutions. Our focus and key areas are around security, enterprise monitoring, and continuous delivery optimization," noted John Balsavage, President of A&I Solutions, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We were founded in 2003 and the way we were founded was about good backup and good disaster recovery for our clients, and for the last 20 years we've been pretty consistent with that," noted Marc Malafronte, Territory Manager at StorageCraft, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
"We are focused on SAP running in the clouds, to make this super easy because we believe in the tremendous value of those powerful worlds - SAP and the cloud," explained Frank Stienhans, CTO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"DivvyCloud as a company set out to help customers automate solutions to the most common cloud problems," noted Jeremy Snyder, VP of Business Development at DivvyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
"As we've gone out into the public cloud we've seen that over time we may have lost a few things - we've lost control, we've given up cost to a certain extent, and then security, flexibility," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics,in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...