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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

[Book] Advanced API Security: Securing APIs with OAuth 2.0, OpenID Connect, JWS, and JWE

APIs are becoming increasingly popular for exposing business functionalities to the rest of the world. According to an infographic published by Layer 7, 86.5% of organizations will have an API program in place in the next fi ve years. Of those, 43.2% already have one. APIs are also the foundation of building communication channels in the Internet of Th ings (IoT). From motor vehicles to kitchen appliances, countless items are beginning to communicate with each other via APIs. Cisco estimates that as many as 50 billion devices could be connected to the Internet by 2020.

This book is about securing your most important APIs. As is the case with any software system design, people tend to ignore the security element during the API design phase. Only at deployment or at the time of integration do they start to address security. Security should never be an afterthought—it’s an integral part of any software system design, and it should be well thought out from the design’s inception. One objective of this book is to educate you about the need for security and the available options for securing an API. Th e book also guides you through the process and shares best practices for designing APIs for rock-solid security.

API security has evolved a lot in the last five years. The growth of standards has been exponential. OAuth 2.0 is the most widely adopted standard. But it’s more than just a standard—it’s a framework that lets people build standards on top of it. Th e book explains in depth how to secure APIs, from traditional HTTP Basic Authentication to OAuth 2.0 and the standards built around it, such as OpenID Connect, User Managed Access (UMA), and many more. JSON plays a major role in API communication. Most of the APIs developed today support only JSON, not XML. Th is book also focuses on JSON security. JSON Web Encryption (JWE) and JSON Web Signature (JWS) are two increasingly popular standards for securing JSON messages. The latter part of this book covers JWE and JWS in detail.


Another major objective of this book is to not just present concepts and theories, but also explain each of them with concrete examples. The book presents a comprehensive set of examples that work with APIs from Google, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo!, Salesforce, Flickr, and GitHub. Th e evolution of API security is another topic covered in the book. It’s extremely useful to understand how security protocols were designed in the past and how the drawbacks discovered in them pushed us to where we are today. Th e book covers some older security protocols such as Flickr Authentication, Yahoo! BBAuth, Google AuthSub, Google ClientLogin, and ProtectServe in detail.

There are so many - who helped me writing the book. Among them, I would first like to thank Jonathan Hassel, senior editor at Apress, for evaluating and accepting my proposal for this book. Th en, of course, I must thank Rita Fernando, coordinating editor at Apress, who was extremely patient and tolerant of me throughout the publishing process. Thank you very much Rita for your excellent support—I really appreciate it. Also, Gary Schwartz and Tiff any Taylor did an amazing job reviewing the manuscript—many thanks, Gary and Tiff any! Michael Peacock served as technical reviewer—thanks, Michael, for your quality review comments, which were extremely useful. Thilina Buddhika from Colorado State University also helped in reviewing the first two chapters of the book—many thanks, again, Thilina!

Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana, the CEO of WSO2, and Paul Fremantle, the CTO of WSO2, are two constant mentors for me. I am truly grateful to both Dr. Sanjiva and Paul for everything they have done for me. I also must express my gratitude to Asanka Abeysinghe, the Vice President of Solutions Architecture at WSO2 and a good friend of mine—we have done designs for many Fortune 500 companies together, and those were extremely useful in writing this book. Thanks, Asanka!

Of course, my beloved wife, Pavithra, and my little daughter, Dinadi, supported me throughout this process. Pavithra wanted me to write this book even more than I wanted to write it. If I say she is the driving force behind this book, it’s no exaggeration. She simply went beyond just feeding me with encouragement—she also helped immensely in reviewing the book and developing samples. She was always the first reader. Thank you very much, Pavithra.

My parents and my sister have been the driving force behind me since my birth. If not for them, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I am grateful to them for everything they have done for me. Last but not least, my wife’s parents—they were amazingly helpful in making sure that the only thing I had to do was to write this book, taking care of almost all the other things that I was supposed to do.

The point is that although writing a book may sound like a one-man effort, it’s the entire team behind it who makes it a reality. Thank you to everyone who supported me in many different ways.

I hope this book effectively covers this much-needed subject matter for API developers, and I hope you enjoy reading it.

Amazon : http://www.amazon.com/Advanced-API-Security-Securing-Connect/dp/1430268182

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