API keys are a very useful part of an application programming interface – but misuse or breaches can result in some particular security problems. How do you use API keys in secure ways?
First, it helps to understand the role of the API key, which provides for project authentication. That’s a little bit different than an authentication token, which identifies a user or person.
Essentially, the API key is code that a program or application gets called in the process of identifying or authenticating a user and user behavior. It’s a unique identifier of some sort, and that’s why it should be subject to certain digital protections.
With that in mind, when these keys are resident in source code or the wrong places, it creates a potential cybersecurity hazard. Typically, API keys are not as secure as authentication tokens, and hacking through an API can be a more circuitous route that’s harder for security professionals to guard against.
We’ve taken a look at the process of securing API keys as part of your wallet and governance strategy.
Best Tips for Using API Keys in a Secure Way:-
Keep API Keys Out of Source Code
Just like the old book cryptographs of centuries gone by, you’re doing a good thing by sequestering your keys from your source code. Locating your API key outside of your source code sets up that distributed multi factor system where a hacker can’t just grab both things at once. So if there is a pointer to an encrypted API key or something like that, it’s going to serve you better in the long run.
Keep API Keys Local
Experts also warn against storing API keys and other kinds of sensitive information on the client-side of a cloud network or other distributed system. Yes, it’s convenient to let the vendor hold all of the information, but there are specific security risks that apply here, too. For the same reasons that companies never fully trusted many multi tenant cloud scenarios, it’s better to hold sensitive data close to the vest and port those less sensitive workloads to the cloud.
Use Secret Management Services
Another alternative is to use specialized, secret management services that are well documented by cybersecurity experts in looking at how API keys are handled in a sophisticated way. You can also look for platforms that don’t access API keys in the process of completing custodial tasks or offering vendor services.
Crypto platforms like Atani take this type of end user’s desire and need into account and are designed not to access either API keys or other kinds of personal information that can compromise user possessions.
Mitigate Potential Breach Activity
Another related tip is to change your API key if you think it has been compromised somehow. Along with this, any hashing or encryption will provide a protective barrier against the misuse of your API keys.
A little up-front protection can go a long way. Stay engaged with these and other best practices to enjoy a well-designed network operation.