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Security and access control

Security in general is a broad and complex topic, affecting the entire development lifecycle. It is recommended to follow security best practices during all development phases like design, coding and deployment. In this workshop we will focus only on API security and access control, rather than the full range of application security topics.

Application Security

The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Top Ten document is a very good tool to ensure the bare minimum against the security risks and manage critical treats that are most likely affecting your code.

API Security is the whole process to protect APIs from attacks. It is part of the more general security guidelines that are being treated in the OWASP Top Ten document. So those recommendations still apply.

Access control is another fundamental part of the Open Web Application Security Project and addresses the Identity and Access Management (IAM) of an API. IAM consists of two different parts of a security flow:

  • Authentication (AuthN) verifies the user's identity in order to allow or deny subsequent access (see next)
  • Authorization (AuthZ) validates permissions of a user (identity) to access a resource. The permissions of that identity are checked against a resource's policies to (dis)allow access to, for example, (parts of) an API.

These parts are usually managed by dedicated infrastructures and solutions which usually provide most of the security requirements out-of-the-box.

OpenAPI Security Specification

The OpenAPI specification has very well-defined elements for developers and adopters. The most relevant are: - Security Scheme Object defines the security schemes that can be used by the operations. Supported schemes are HTTP Authentication, an API Key, OAuth2's flows and OpenID Connect. - Security Requirement Object defines the list of required security schemes to execute an operation.