How to secure RESTful APIs?

Tue Oct 04 2022

8 min read

In a test-driven development, every piece of code we write needs to be tested thoroughly to ensure it works as expected. Testing our code also helps address the loopholes that compromise the application’s integrity. Thus, making our application more secure than before.

In light of keeping the application secure, we should also test RESTful APIs while developing them. RESTful APIs allow the client to communicate with the server and vice-versa. They take the data back and forth and provide many other features like implementing authentication, authorization, etc.

In this piece, we will look at all the parts of RESTful APIs that you should secure via test and some different RESTful API testing tools to help you with it. So without any further ado, let’s jump in!

Secure Your RESTful APIs

When building a RESTful APIs, you need to ensure it is secure against all the following vulnerabilities:

1. Request schema validation

Sometimes, a user sends more data than expected. He can alter the request object before the API call is made. If you have not taken preventative measures against it, your database can get compromised, and the user can get illegal access to your application.

So when you develop your API, make sure you take out each value from the request object and save the new object in the database.

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2. Confirm identity before giving access

Your RESTful API should always confirm the user authorization level before giving them access to any data. If you have not dealt with it, it can severely compromise your app, especially if the user is given access to another user’s data without proper confirmation. This is another place where you can test your RESTful API.

One way to prevent it is to extract the ID from an auth token rather than using the ID sent by the client. On top of this, you should always check the authorization level of a user before giving them access to any sensitive day.

3. DDoS Attack

Since a RESTful API is the only way to communicate to the server, it needs to be up all the time. If it gets too many requests from the same IP, it can overload and crash. Hackers often rely on Distributed Denial of Service attacks to bring down your application by sending too many requests per second.

Rate Limiting lets you handle DDoS attacks. It is the process through which you limit the number of requests coming to your API in a certain amount of time. If you are using RapidAPI Studio to manage your API, you can implement rate limiting from there if you haven’t added it to your API.

4. Excessive Data Exposure

Sometimes, the API returns more data to the client-side application than it needs. The application then filters the data to display it to the user. The man-in-the-middle is the most common attack that can exploit this information, as unwanted personnel can intercept the data in transit.

So, when building RESTful APIs, you must ensure that only the required data is sent to the client.

5. API Injections

The data received on the server via the API should be filtered thoroughly otherwise, if the user has sent an executable command, it can run on the server and cause significant damage. When executed, the command can delete user directories or the entire site from the server.

The easiest way to prevent it is by filtering the API response against a regex to ensure there is no command or executable code in the request body.

6. API Authentication

You should always know who is accessing your API so that you can pinpoint the source if there is malicious activity. If your API has authentication implemented, you would be able to identify everyone separately.

7. Request Size

Limiting API request size when building RESTful APIs is a good practice. It will prevent the misuse of your API and unwanted payload. It will also limit too large requests coming to your API, ensuring that your API stays performant.

RESTful API Testing Tools

Choosing the right RESTful API testing tools can make everything simple. RapidAPI currently offers two tools that you can use to test your API either in the cloud or locally inside your computer.

RapidAPI Studio

RapidAPI Studio is not just a RESTful API testing tool. It is more of a universal tool to manage and test your APIs. It is a single platform to provide an integrated user experience to build, consume, and govern APIs.

Let’s take a look at the RapidAPI Studio API testing features:

Execute API tests globally

Your API plays a significant role in performing data operations. If your site is hosted on a server in America and someone is requesting it from Asia, they might experience some delays. We should test our APIs on global data centers to ensure it does not happen.

RapidAPI Studio is an efficient RESTful API testing tool that you can use quickly run API tests on nine different data centers. This way, you can see the API test execution in different geographical locations.

Schedule API Tests

Your API must always be up if you want people to use it. You can write tests to ensure this. But the API can break later due to any reason. To take care of it, RapidAPI Studio lets you schedule tests for your API.

When you schedule a test, you have to select the scheduling frequency. RapidAPI Studio offers every six, twelve, and twenty-four hours on free package. You can upgrade to a premium package if you want to run the test every minute or five minutes.

By scheduling tests, you can look at the RapidAPI Studio dashboard later to check if any scheduled test has failed. You can also set up alerts to notify you when a test fails.

Write API tests by drag and drop

If you do not know how to write tests for your APIs, you can still utilize the API testing tool provided by RapidAPI Studio. It provides a visual editor that lets you drag and drop testing steps into your API test. When the test runs, each step is executed one after another.

These are some of the incredible features of RapidAPI Studio. It is all in one RESTful API testing tool that you can use to test your APIs and make them secure.

RapidAPI Client

RapidAPI Client is a VS Code extension that can help you locally test your APIs without leaving your code editor. It is an API testing tool that is jam-packed with features to help you quickly debug your APIs, for instance, multiple environments support, GraphQL support, type interface generation, etc. You can also sync your API tests to the RapidAPI Studio right from RapidAPI Client .

Let’s look at the RapidAPI Client API testing feature.

API testing inside VS Code

Sometimes we need to test and debug our APIs quickly while building them. With RapidAPI Client for VS Code, you can test your APIs in the same place you code them. There is no need for context switching. You just have to select the RapidAPI Client icon from the sidebar and start debugging your endpoints.

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Test APIs in different environments

RapidAPI Client is an API testing tool built as an extension for VS Code. It lets you create different environments to test your APIs.

You can create a development environment with development-specific variables to debug API endpoints. Moreover, you can create staging and production environments to do the same thing with different variables.

GraphQL API Testing Support

You can test any GraphQL API using RapidAPI Client inside your VS Code. It provides GraphQL API testing support. All you need to do is go to the Body, select GraphQL and start writing your query.

RapidAPI Client for VS Code is not just limited to these features. You can test your API extensively without having to leave your code editor.

Wrap Up

That’s all, folks! If you want to read more about RapidAPI Studio, I recommend you look at this piece, where we discussed it deeply. Otherwise, you can check this piece if you want to learn more about RapidAPI Client .