Application-to-application password management enables secure, encrypted password exchange between two applications or endpoints. APIs act as agents to facilitate communication between applications. As a result, applications do not need to be embedded with credentials. Instead, when they need to access a resource securely, the API carries the credentials required to authenticate the application-to-application communication. After the application is closed, the password expires, leaving no room for data leak.
The risks of unmanaged application passwords can be pose a serious security threat and can have dire consequences on businesses. Here are some key risks associated with unmanaged application passwords:
Unmanaged application passwords can lead to unauthorized access to sensitive information or systems. If passwords are not properly managed, they can be easily guessed, shared, or compromised, allowing unauthorized individuals to gain access to applications and systems.
Unmanaged passwords can also lead to privilege escalation attacks. If an attacker gains access to an application with limited privileges but can exploit weak passwords or gain administrative access, they may be able to elevate their privileges and gain control over other systems or data within the organization.
Unmanaged passwords are thrice as likely to be reused across multiple applications, services and processes. Attackers can take advantage of this by using automated tools to launch credential stuffing attacks. In such attacks, stolen usernames and passwords from one service are used to gain unauthorized access to other services, where users have used the same or similar credentials. This can lead to widespread account compromise and reputational damage.
Without a password security hygiene, it becomes difficult to track and attribute privileged actions to specific individuals. In the event of a security incident or breach, it may be challenging to determine who was responsible, hindering investigation and remediation efforts.
Passwords are stored safely in password vaults, and applications need to fetch these credentials to establish communication with each other.To keep interactions between applications secure, an API acts as a mechanism to retrieve credentials and grants access to applications to get business-sensitive information.
For instance, say application A needs to communicate with application B to retrieve some information. The API in this case acts as an agent and fetches the credentials of application B from the password vault and shares them with application A. This keeps interactions between the applications secure. With this integration, applications are not limited to communicating with just users or admins. They can now interact with other applications and fetch data.
Credentials used to access information between applications are often stored in scripts and unencrypted formats, which are largely unsafe. Hackers can gain control through these unhashed passwords and access sensitive information. Application-to-application password management provides a trusted mechanism to defend against these threats. Additionally, it also offers the following advantages:
The following practices are recommended to manage interactions and access between applications:
It is imperative to keep tabs on passwords and privileged accounts periodically in order to fortify security against malware and outside threats. Important resources to monitor include: