OWASP API Security Project

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OWASP API Security Project

This project is designed to address the ever-increasing number of organizations that are deploying potentially sensitive APIs as part of their software offerings. These APIs are used for internal tasks and to interface with third parties. Unfortunately, many APIs do not undergo the rigorous security testing that would render them secure from attack.

The OWASP API Security Project seeks to provide value to software developers and security assessors by underscoring the potential risks in insecure APIs and illustrating how these risks may be mitigated. In order to facilitate this goal, the OWASP API Security Project will create and maintain a Top 10 API Security Risks document, as well as a documentation portal for best practices when creating or assessing APIs.


While working as developers or information security consultants, many people have encountered APIs as part of a project. While there are some resources to help create and evaluate these projects (such as the OWASP REST Security Cheat Sheet), there has not be a comprehensive security project designed to assist builders, breakers, and defenders in the community.

This project aims to create:

  • The OWASP Top Ten API Security Risks document, which can easily underscore the most common risks in the area.
  • Create a documentation portal for developers to build APIs in a secure manner.
  • Work with the security community to maintain living documents that evolve with security trends.


The OWASP API Security Project documents are free to use!

The OWASP API Security Project is licensed under the http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license], so you can copy, distribute and transmit the work, and you can adapt it, and use it commercially, but all provided that you attribute the work and if you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

What is this project?

The OWASP API Security Project seeks to deliver actionable documentation on creating and deploying verifiably secure web APIs, as well as illustrating the major risks and shortfalls that APIs may encounter. By helping developers create resilient software, and helping assessors understand the subtle risks an API may entail, the goal of this project is to bring security to an increasingly programmatic world.

The primary deliverables of this project are the OWASP Top Ten API Security Risks and a secure API development documentation portal.


The OWASP API Security Project will be presented in 2016.

Project Leader

Related Projects

Quick Download

Once API Security documents are created, they will be available for direct download here.

The initial version of this document, including an up-to-date table of contents, is available here.

News and Events

There has not yet been press coverage of this project.


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How can I participate in your project?

This project welcomes contributors of all sorts. The easiest way to get involved is to contact the Project Leader, and indicate that you're willing to help.

What type of contributors are you seeking?

We're currently looking for software developers who have experience building out resilient APIs, and security assessors who have assessed APIs. This project is currently in the "research" stage, meaning that the more you can contribute to building out the project, the better!

Can I still participate if I'm not a developer/assessor?

Sure -- we just need to figure out the correct role. If you're strong with technical writing, that would be great; if there are other skill sets you think you can bring to the table, please let us know.


The OWASP API Security Project is small, but will be maintained by volunteers. If you'd like to volunteer, please contact the Project Leader.

The creator of this project and current Project Leader is David Shaw.

The roadmap for this project is straightforward: we'll begin by conducting research and seeking feedback from developers and security auditors on the problems they most frequently encounter via web-based APIs. We'll create, from this research, the OWASP Top Ten API Security Risks, a sub-project of the API Security Project. Once this document is created (and maintained), we will also create guidelines in order to demonstrate each of the risks (as well as other, non-top-ten risks) and illustrate how to prevent them.

Q4 2015 Priorities

  • Establish the project, including mailing list, wiki page, etc.
  • Conduct PR-related activities to involve the community at large.
  • Conduct research to understand widely-accepted risks in APIs
  • Compile Top Ten API Security Risks
  • Publish and Publicize Top Ten API Security Risks
  • Use data gathered in process to "reverse" the Top Ten, in order to create a Secure Development deliverable for APIs

We'd love for you to get involved with this project if you feel you can contribute! Please contact the Project Leader to better understand how you can volunteer.

Please refer to the primary wiki page to learn about this project.