Security in REST Architecture

You can not think about security late, because it is an essential factor that you have to keep in mind for this complex technical world. Security should be an important part of your project's development and is the same for REST APIs also. It is too essential to preserve the security of a RESTful service like the way a website needs to be kept secure. In this tutorial, we will go through different paths and design principles to secure Restful Web Services.

Design Principles of REST Security

Eight design principles are put forward that are introduced by Jerome Saltzer and Michael Schroeder in their research paper for securing information in the computer system and APIs using REST. All these will be explained in brief in the subsequent sections:

  1. Economy of Mechanism: Make sure your design is as simple as feasible. The associated piece of interfaces and the communications among them has to be as straightforward to recognize.
  2. Slightest Privilege: Your entity must only have the requisite collection of authorization for performing the actions. Further new permissions can be incorporated as per requirement and can be withdrawn if not required.
  3. Absolute Mediation: you should have your system to confirm rights to access for all its resources and must not depend on any cached authorization matrix. In the case for any given resource, your access level gets revoked, it will not get reflected in the authorization matrix and hence violates the REST security.
  4. Least Common Mechanism: The risk of allocation position for the different component will be different. In case the shared state gets corrupted, this will eventually corrupt all the other mechanisms which depend on it.
  5. Open Design Principle: According to this standard, architecture and programs need to develop as an open source thing — where there will be no secret as well as confidential algorithms associated with them.
  6. Acceptable Psychologically: According to this principle, security should not make any system complex or any resource challenging to access. In other words, because of strong security postures, it should not harm the UX and UI.
  7. Separation of Privilege: There should not be single criteria for getting access to any resource; instead a series of diverse conditions for giving permissions for resource access makes the security better.

Best Practices for Securing REST APIs

  • Use HTTPS all the time: With the use of SSL, all the authentication credentials can be cut down to an arbitrarily produced access-token which uses the HTTP Basic Auth technique.
  • Use Hashed Password: hashing of the password is vital to shield RESTful services because even when your password gets compromised by hackers in a hacking attempt, they will not be able to read them out. Various hashing algorithms make this approach a fruitful one. Some of them are MD5, PBKDF2, bcrypt, SHA algorithms, etc.
  • Considering OAuth: If the basic auth is implemented to most of the APIs correctly, then it is a great choice which is more secure also. With the introduction of the OAuth 2.0 authorization framework, all third-party application gets enabled to attain partial right of entry to HTTP service(s).
  • Validating Input Parameter: Security can be well executed of the request parameters gets validated in the very beginning, before reaching in the application logic.

Scroll Back to Top