Fraud Prevention

Protect API Traffic from Bots Impersonating as Legitimate Traffic

May 26, 20204 min Read

Protect API traffic

APIs are an attractive target for fraudsters looking to steal data and commit fraud. To offer a seamless and secure user experience to their consumers, digital businesses must protect API traffic using a solution that provides a multi-pronged defense against attacks targeting the APIs directly

The modern digital infrastructure is a medley of cloud, web and mobile applications, and numerous APIs. Together, they enable interoperability between the applications so that businesses can enhance user engagement by offering personalized services to their consumers. It is, therefore, in the interest of the digital businesses to ensure they adequately protect API traffic from fraudsters.

APIs facilitate seamless user experience

Companies keep adding new APIs to their infrastructure. This allows them to reduce operational costs. It also helps improve efficiency by facilitating speedier information and data sharing amongst themselves. The APIs work in tandem to provide consumers with a seamless online experience. 

APIs also enable digital businesses to monetize data by allowing businesses to forge profitable partnerships with other businesses. API abuse, therefore, can have catastrophic effects. These include exposing the intellectual property of a company and consumer data to numerous frauds.

An inflated attack surface 

The majority of traffic now comes from APIs when compared with HTML. This translates into an inflated attack surface available for manipulation, and fraud. Gartner has already predicted that by 2022 API abuse will be the most frequent attack vector. Therefore, businesses must protect API traffic from abuse to preserve online user experience. 

Fraudsters attack APIs directly

Fraudsters are increasingly going directly to the APIs to launch attacks and attempting to bypass security controls. They are using sophisticated programs to impersonate genuine users, emulate legitimate devices, disrupt services, and carry out many forms of fraud. 

Businesses are, therefore, experiencing a deluge of attacks on their APIs. Credential stuffing, scraping content and data, setting up new fake accounts, bonus abuse, and running scripts on gaming platforms to steal in-game rewards, are some of the common attack techniques. All of these attacks, when orchestrated at scale, can cause financial and reputational losses to businesses and jeopardize the digital lives of consumers.

Protecting API traffic 

A continuous proliferation in the number of APIs only compounds the challenge for businesses. They must identify and prevent malicious actors to protect API traffic. That said, fighting a tech-savvy fraudster--who can easily mimic genuine traffic and circumvent the velocity rules--can be difficult. Protecting API traffic further becomes difficult with the use of legacy bot detection solutions or rate-limiting. Static APIs are particularly hard to secure, as they need an additional layer of authentication to confirm the legitimacy of the incoming traffic. 

To effectively protect API traffic, a powerful API abuse solution is needed that can manage authentication of the legitimate traffic and ensure only authorized users can access them. A combination of real-time analysis, dynamic tokens, and interactive challenges can help identify and stop malicious traffic while allowing genuine users to pass through. This multi-pronged approach is particularly effective in protecting API traffic from large-scale attacks that tend to impersonate true users. 

Protect API traffic with Arkose Labs

The Arkose Labs' API abuse solution dynamically verifies every incoming request to protect API traffic from attempted attacks. Further, behavioral fingerprints, velocity and rate monitoring, and a proprietary user IP database help monitor the incoming traffic for telltales of attempted fraud. 

Suspicious traffic is presented with 3D visual challenges in real-time, which causes automated attacks to fail spontaneously. Genuine users can prove their authenticity easily while malicious users must spend more time and resources to clear the challenges at scale, as these puzzles are resilient to automatic solvers. Increased effort and investments erode the profitability of the attack, forcing fraudsters to give up and move on.

To learn how Arkose Labs can provide powerful protection for your web and mobile-facing APIs, click here.

To learn how Arkose Labs helps some of the biggest digital brands protect API traffic, request a solution brief by clicking here.