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Process Tempo Insights

  • Phil Meredith

API Security Threats Demand Attention

The recent T-Mobile hack that exposed the personal information of 37 million customers was the result of a poorly designed API. This attack is one in a sea of many targeting vulnerable APIs, and it highlights the importance of proper API design, protection, and remediation for many organizations in 2023.

What is an API? An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a block of code that connects two or more applications so they can exchange information. APIs are often made to be configurable and reusable, allowing multiple applications to connect to the same API. However, APIs also represent a security risk as they can be a target for hackers. In fact, Gartner predicted that API attacks would be the most common attack vector in 2022, resulting in data breaches for enterprise web applications. Gartner also predicts that by 2024, API abuses and related data breaches will double.

Poorly designed APIs can have different types of vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit, including:

  • APIs that contain hard-coded passwords

  • APIs that expose more information than intended

  • APIs that do not use secure or encrypted protocols

  • APIs with minimal access restrictions

Organizations that produce a lot of code will likely have poorly-designed APIs like these, and will likely also struggle with some other API-related challenges too.

Some of these major challenges include API sprawl and hidden or dark APIs. Duplicate APIs tend to lead to API sprawl, where multiple APIs are written and published that do the same thing. This creates confusion and makes it difficult for developers to know which API to use. Hidden or dark APIs on the other hand exist in an undocumented state, which means that internal teams may not even know about them.

Developers at these organizations also often face tight deadlines and constant pressure to deliver, which can lead to documentation efforts taking a back seat. Even with strict protocols in place, developers may skip important steps and publish APIs without following publishing guidelines, leading to hidden or dark APIs.

All of these elements increase an organizations likelihood of becoming the next T-Mobile. So what can organizations do to prepare and protect themselves accordingly?


Organizations can begin to address all of these issues by using Process Tempo to quickly create a central, searchable catalog of APIs. From there Process Tempo makes it easy to implement policies through functionalities that allow developers to document their APIs within this catalog. This catalog can help developers easily find existing APIs and reuse them rather than creating duplicate APIs, which can lead to API sprawl. The catalog also enables teams to easily document APIs, which reduces the risk of dark or hidden APIs.

Technologies that crawl internal networks to look for API traffic can help capture the existence of a dark API. However, zombie APIs that go unused can be very difficult to detect. Periodic audits from Process Tempo helps ensure that code quality remains high.

In addition to these benefits, Process Tempo's provides robust data governance capabilities, which enable organizations to establish clear policies and procedures for managing their APIs now and in the future. This ensures that APIs are designed, developed, and managed in a way that meets the organization's needs and complies with relevant regulations and standards.

With Process Tempo, organizations can address the challenges of managing APIs in a more streamlined and effective way, improving their ability to identify and repair poorly-designed APIs, reduce API sprawl, and paint a clearer, more complete picture of their API landscape.

Start now with the API Landscape Assessment:

Process Tempo + Neo4j API Landscape Assessment
Download PDF • 5.19MB



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