Meet the Expert: Updates to OWASP API Security Top 10

Michael Kan-Tor from Upstream Research covers the recent updates to the OWASP API Security Top Ten risks. Reviewing all ten risks, the new and the old as well as providing examples of how these risks can be leveraged in a cybersecurity attack using an API vulnerability to either disrupt business operations or access sensitive data. This much-awaited update to the list, whose last version was released in 2019, provides additional clarity on the API security threats that organizations relying on APIs must safeguard against.


API 1: Broken Object Level Authorization
Maintained from 2019 edition, this refers to cases where APIs expose objects to potential attackers that they are not authorized to access.

API 2: Broken Authentication
Same as 2019. It involves cases where a broken authentication mechanism allows potential attackers to bypass that mechanism and gain unwarranted authentication to the core API service.

API 3: Broken Object Property Level Authorization
A new category combining excessive data exposure and mass assignment categories from the old list. It relates to instances where APIs expose specific properties of objects to unauthorized consumers.

API 4: Unrestricted Resource Consumption
Unchanged from the 2019 list, this refers to cases where APIs allow consumers to consume excessive resources, potentially causing denial of service and high loads on the API.

API 5: Broken Function Level Authorization
A repeat category from the 2019 list. This category refers to instances where specific functionality in the API is vulnerable to potential attackers who can access it without proper authorization.

API 6: Unrestricted Access to Sensitive Business Flows
A new category, it relates to situations where a business flow is vulnerable to attacks.

API 7: Server Side Request Forgery (SSRF)
Previously part of the injection category, SSRF is now its own category and it’s a well-documented attack vector.

API 8: Security Misconfiguration
Retained from the 2019 edition, it covers instances where misconfigurations in the server can cause security vulnerabilities.

API 9: Improper Inventory Management
This category refers to cases where different versions of APIs or API assets are incorrectly managed, allowing potential attackers to exploit outdated API versions.

API 10: Unsafe Consumption of APIs
This category relates to instances where an API consumes other unsafe APIs, potentially compromising the core API.

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