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Essential API Security

Course Description

This course covers the most common and devastating API security vulnerabilities of the OWASP Top 10. Throughout this course, you will learn about real-world authentication and authorization failures and potential solutions. Topics include API authentication, authorization decisions, and handling state with tokens.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify different API authentication strategies
  • Assess which API authentication technique fits your use case
  • Explain how to handle user authentication state in APIs
  • Identify current cookie security best practices
  • Configure the API to handle JWTs securely
  • Identify common authorization pitfalls in API
  • Audit and improve an API authorization policy


Delivery Format: eLearning

Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes

Level: Intermediate

Intended Audience

  • Architects
  • Back-end Developers
  • Enterprise Developers


  • None


Course Outline


  • Authentication and Authorization
  • Course Overview

Simple API Authentication Mechanisms

  • Including a Secret in the Request
  • Pros and Cons of Sending Secrets
  • Signing Requests with an HMAC
  • Pros and Cons of Using HMACs

Advanced Client Authentication

  • The Concept of Key-Based Client Authentication
  • Strategies for Handling Keys
  • Client Authentication with JWTs
  • Client Authentication with mTLS
  • Comparing JWTs and mTLS

User Authentication Strategies

  • Traditional Server-Side Sessions
  • Client-Side State
  • Using OAuth 2.0

Cookie Security Best Practices

  • The Use Case for Cookies
  • A Secure Cookie Configuration
  • Handling Cross-Site Request Forgery
  • Mitigating CSRF in APIs

Securely Handling JSON Web Tokens

  • Using JWTs for Authentication State
  • Using the Correct Signing Mechanism
  • Do Not Rely on Unverified Token Metadata
  • Reject Unsigned Tokens
  • Verify Reserved Claims
  • Using Explicit Typing
  • Handling Key Distribution

Common Authorization Pitfalls

  • Excessive Data Exposure
  • Mass Assignment
  • Broken Authorization

Building a Robust Authorization Strategy

  • The Issue with Complex Authorization Logic
  • Centralizing Authorization
  • Offloading Authorization to a Policy Decision Point

Course Wrap-Up


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