Within the last two years, 60% of organizations faced at least one API-related breach. Disturbingly, 74% of these endured three or more incidents, revealing a relentless threat landscape with 23% undergoing six or more breaches, according to Traceable AI’s  recent research report – the 2023 State of API Security: A Global Study on the Reality of API Risk.

“In an era where digital ecosystems are intrinsically entwined with our operational fabric, this report brings to light the hidden iceberg beneath the API landscape. It’s alarming to see that the majority of businesses are navigating these treacherous waters with a significant blind spot, unprepared and underestimating the very real threats associated with APIs. As a security community, we must address this glaring disconnect, prioritizing API security as a cornerstone of our cyber defense strategy. It’s time that API security is elevated from the server room to the boardroom. Only by doing so can we hope to stay ahead of the evolving threat landscape,” said Richard Bird, Chief Security Officer of Traceable.

Findings from the survey underscore the urgency of API security:

  • DDoS Tops the List with 38% as the Primary API Attack Vector: Alongside fraud and known attacks, DDoS stands out as the primary API breach method. Compounding this, 58% agree that APIs substantially expand organizations’ attack surface.
  • Only 38% Understand Unique Context of APIs; 57% Doubt Traditional Security: Only 38% can discern intricate context between API activity, user behaviors, and data flow. Plus, a significant 57% of respondents feel traditional security solutions, including Web Application Firewalls, can’t effectively distinguish genuine from fraudulent API activity.
  • 61% Foresee Escalating API Risks; 48% Grapple with API Sprawl: With a considerable 61% anticipating rising API-related risks in the next two years, organizations are also wrestling with challenges like API sprawl (48%) and keeping an accurate inventory (39%).
  • Organizations Juggle an Average of 127 Third-Party API Connections, Yet Only 33% Feel Secure: While dealing with an average of 127 third-party API connections, a mere 33% express confidence in managing these external threats. This is exacerbated by uncertainties regarding the volume of data their APIs transmit, emphasizing an urgent call for advanced breach detection solutions.

Engaging 1,629 cybersecurity experts across the United States, the United Kingdom, and EMEA, the report critically analyzes API-related data breaches, API sprawl, the use of traditional solutions such as Web Application Firewalls, API governance and the emerging role of Zero Trust Security in fortifying API security.

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