API Security - Insufficient Logging & Monitoring Vulnerability

Fri Jun 03 2022

4 min read

API security is the process of protecting APIs from attacks. As APIs are very commonly used, so it is prone to attackers. API vulnerabilities are a common thing that can break down your whole system if not treated. APIs may have vulnerabilities like broken authentication and authorization, insufficient logging and monitoring, lack of rate limiting, etc. Regularly testing APIs will help you to identify vulnerabilities, and address them.

According to the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), there are ten API vulnerabilities that should be taken care of when you build an API. In this guide, let’s look at the Insufficient Logging and Monitoring vulnerability.

Insufficient Logging and Monitoring Vulnerability

Cyber attackers usually need time to explore the network, fully exploit the system and steal the data it contains. An efficient logging and monitoring system will help detect malicious activity.

The longer an attacker is able to access the system without detection, the more likely the attacker would find a way to exploit the system, steal data, and cause extensive damage to the application and its users. Thus it’s essential to have a logging and monitoring system capable of detecting malicious activity as soon as possible.

Having an insufficient logging and monitoring system pose a serious threat as the attackers can have the access to your entire system without being noticed. This also leads to not carrying out proper investigations when something is wrong, as there is a lack of proper logging and monitoring.

Insufficient Logging and Monitoring - Threat to Businesses

Having an online presence for your business means that you need to protect its confidential data from hackers or other security threats. Logging into a service means providing your personal data that you are not comfortable sharing with the world.

Protecting logs from various attackers should be the primary objective of any business having an online presence. Thus, having a sufficient logging will make sure that the attackers don’t exploit the confidential data for its benefit.

If, you do not have a sufficient logging system and an attack occurs, then there is no way of tracing the attacker’s call.

Various Insufficient Logging and Monitoring Threats

Various threats associated with insufficient logging and monitoring are as under:

Brute Force Phishing & DDoS Attacks

Attacks supported by bots put together other attacks including Brute Force Phishing and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). These attacks help injection of malware into a system and then they can manipulate the entire system to their use in different ways.

In the absence of proper logging of event data, these attacks are almost impossible to detect or analyze. Thus, an efficient logging and monitoring system is the first line of defense against these botnet attacks.

Domain Name Service (DNS) Attacks

DNS attacks may include cache poisoning, DNS tunneling, domain lock-up attack, etc. If DNS based events are not logged and monitored, administrators won’t know the types of machines attackers interact with.

Malware traffic, Ransomware attacks & Advanced Persistent Threats

Insufficient monitoring and log management in many cases result in untraceable user behavior patterns, allowing imposters or malicious insiders to compromise the system at a much deeper level.

These types of internal threats suspicious activities often go unchecked and are extremely critical to organisations. Thus, sufficient monitoring will prevent this from taking place.

How To Prevent It?

You can prevent logging and monitoring attacks in multiple ways.

  • To make sure that logging and monitoring issues does not take place, you should authenticate access to logs.
  • You should automate monitoring and alerts for log events. This will ensure that whenever an attacker tries to log in the system you can be alerted and can take actions to avoid the malicious activity from occurring.
  • Further always perform penetration tests to identify gaps in incident monitoring and reporting and having a recovery plan or strategy developed for rainy days.
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