API A2 - Broken Authentication
What is it?
Authentication mechanisms are often implemented incorrectly, allowing attackers to compromise authentication tokens, or to exploit implementation flaws to assume other user’s identities.
Compromising a system’s ability to identify the client/user, compromises API security overall.
What are specific examples?
- Weak authentication that does not follow industry best practices.
- Weak API keys that are not rotated.
- Passwords that are weak, plain text, encrypted but poorly hashed, shared, or default passwords.
- Authentication susceptible to brute force attacks and credential stuffing.
- Credentials and keys included in URLs.
- Lack of access token validation (including JWT validation).
- Unsigned or weakly signed non-expiring JWTs.
- Unprotected APIs that are considered “internal”.
OWASP API TOP-10 A2
Authentication Cheat Sheet
Test case FAQs
When is this test case applicable?
- Only for API endpoints that require authentication.
How does it work?
The endpoint is subjected to a battery of authentication related tests, that probe for common weaknesses.
What is the solution?
- Maintain a clear inventory of your API endpoints.
- Clearly itemize APIs that require authentication and those that don't.
- Use industry standard libraries for authentication, token generation, and password storage. Do not build your own.
- Use multi-factor authentication (MFA).
- Use short-lived access tokens.
- Use stricter rate-limiting for authentication, and implement lockout policies and weak password checks.
- Continuously validate that your authentication mechanisms are working in pre-production and production.