The TutsPlus.com site has continued their "Building Your Startup" tutorial series with a new post about APIs and security. In this series, they've been using the Yii2 framework to create a calendaring "startup" site. Now they're to the point of adding a "RESTful" API to the system and want to be sure it's secure.
Recently, I introduced you to Yii's simple REST API generation and Meeting Planner's new "RESTful" service API. At that time, I mentioned that these APIs were only loosely secured. Sure, there was a shared secret between the client and the server, but there were a couple of problems.
First, the secret key and user tokens were repeatedly transmitted in query parameters of SSL calls. And there was no other authenticity check for the data, allowing a middle-person attack. In today's episode, I'll guide you through how I secured the API against these weaknesses for a more robust API.
They start off looking at the API security that was previously put in place using an "app ID" and "app secret" values to identify the user. To improve on this, the system is updated to use the "app secret" value to sign the outgoing data via a HMAC hash that is sent along with the request.