API Penetration Testing

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RedTeam’s exhaustive manual analysis of your API functionality help ensure your authentication, queries, and data transfers remain secure.

What is API Penetration Testing?

API penetration testing is an ethical hacking process to assess the security of the API design. API tests involve attempting to exploit identified issues and reporting them to strengthen the API to prevent unauthorized access or a data breach.

Benefits of Performing a RedTeam Security API Penetration Test

A vulnerability in an application programming interface (API) can be just as grave as a vulnerability found in any other system and can have the same potential, depending on the circumstances, to be company-ending. In short, API testing validates the security of your methods and corresponding data. We work to ensure the functionality of the business logic remains intact, and that data is safely transferred from web applications or mobile applications to other systems or databases.

Because API is included in almost all web applications and mobile applications, it is critical that API penetration testing be included in your security testing plan. From the development lifecycle to patching known API vulnerabilities, focusing your testing on both web application security and API security will reduce the likelihood that an attacker will exfiltrate data and compromise your application. Building regular web API updates and frequent testing into your workflow will help ensure a dependable performance and prevent the build-up of costly remediation.

APIs often come with well-documented information about their implementation and internal structure – making them ideal targets for a would-be attacker. Regardless of the approach for implementing an API (SOAP, REST), the additional variables make APIs vulnerable. Authentication, encryption, and business logic should all be tested.

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The RedTeam Security API Penetration Test Solution

For each type of API endpoint, our security experts will fully review any documentation and examine all the requests, headers, and parameters. We will also consider your industry and gather additional information about infrastructure and the full software stack. While malicious actors can determine these details with enough time and energy, we request this level of detailed information specific about your environment and source code because the more we know about your API methods, the better value we can give you on your API security testing engagement. A malicious actor will dedicate time to answering questions like, “What is the tech stack in use?” before answering questions like, “How could a failure of this system serve (my) malicious ends?”

If we perform authenticated testing, we might ask for some of the parameter values to validate that each request returns the expected status. Once each request returns the expected value, we consider loading it into a tool to perform limited automated tests.

As with all our penetration testing services, RedTeam Security’s approach for our API pen testing services consists of about 80% manual testing and about 20% automated testing. While automated testing enables efficiency, it effectively provides efficiency only during the initial phases of a penetration test. At RedTeam Security, we believe that an effective and comprehensive penetration test can only be realized through rigorous manual testing techniques.

Using this approach, our comprehensive testing techniques cover the classes of vulnerabilities in the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Top 10 2017 and beyond:

Using this approach, our comprehensive testing techniques cover the classes of vulnerabilities in the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Top 10 2017 and beyond:
  1. Injection
  2. Broken
  3. Sensitive Data Exposure
  4. XML External Entities (XXE)
  5. Broken Access Control
  6. Security Misconfiguration
  7. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
  8. Insecure Deserialization
  9. Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities
  10. Insufficient Logging & Monitoring
In addition to the OWASP Top 10 recommendations, RedTeam Security penetration testers will attempt to bypass the authentication methods, which often leverage APIs and examine general API security misconfigurations and other known security vulnerabilities.

Remediation Retesting

RedTeam Security offers free re-testing for up to six findings, within six months of project completion. Our goal is to identify and exploit vulnerabilities and help ensure they are fixed as well.

Our Methodology

Learn more about RedTeam Security's API Penetration Testing Methodology.


Our comprehensive API pen testing services will help you ensure that your API endpoints are designed and configured according to best practices. Our report will provide an analysis of the current functionality of your API to ensure they are safely supporting your web application or mobile application. Through this type of security testing, you will readily see how API endpoint vulnerabilities can impact your business, including specific detail on how the Confidentiality, Availability, and Integrity of your systems could be impacted. The results of our security testing will help you prioritize which vulnerabilities to consider for immediate remediation and how best to use your budget to maximize strength and resilience in your cybersecurity posture.

As always, following the delivery of the report, RedTeam is available to answer any questions you may have about how findings were exploited and options for actionable remediation strategies.

Additional Resources

Learn more about API Penetration Testing from RedTeam Security.

Contact one of our cybersecurity professionals for a free penetration testing consultation, call (952) 836-2770 and start protecting your organization today!


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API Penetration Testing FAQs

An API (Application Programming Interface) is a data exchange used by web applications to transfer information between systems. APIs are used by programmers in mobile applications and web applications.

A poorly secured API can open security gaps and vulnerabilities, not just for the API but for any other system that it is connected to as well.

Any business that uses mobile or web applications that have an API back-end should have periodic API penetration testing. API security is an essential component of application security.

Penetration testing helps proactively identify vulnerabilities and attack vectors within systems and web applications that could be leveraged by adversaries.

API pen testing begins with scoping to understand the client’s infrastructure, software stack, and API documentation. Once a project is properly scoped pen testers typically begin with manual testing methods to gain a clear understanding of how the APIs work. From here, testers use automated testing tools for further research. When a suspected vulnerability is found, testers work on exploiting the vulnerability to see how it could impact the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of the systems.

Our Services

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