Akto Promises To Protect The World’s APIs From Cyber Attackers

Security platform Akto warns that APIs are increasingly making the world go round, but they are also a huge vulnerability for determined cyber attackers. The California-based startup, which today announced a $4.5 million USD seed funding round, believes it has the answer.

For the uninitiated, an application programming interface (API) is a piece of software that allows two different computer programs to talk to each other – think of a retailer asking for your bank details when you pay for something, or a price comparison service. quotes from car insurers websites. APIs are therefore vital as the world increasingly interacts digitally.

The problem, explains Akto founder Ankita Gupta, is that cybercriminals want to redirect these connections between different applications. “APIs are constantly getting data from one place and moving it to another, and in doing so they’re very vulnerable,” she says. “Some of that data might be harmless, but what if it’s your confidential personal information or payment information?”

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This is not an idle warning. One recent report documented a 700% increase in API attack traffic over the past year, and market research specialist Gartner believes that APIs will be the most prevalent in 2022. cybercriminal attack vector is used. One recent high-profile breach exposed $9.8 million in Australian telco Optus. user data, was widely blamed for API weakness.

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“That’s what we’re trying to address,” adds Gupta. “Until now, there has been no automated security solution for API protection – our plug-in and play platform closes this gap.”

The company says that the Akto platform offers two very important services. First, once it’s installed, it will identify every API your business is exposed to. One of the problems many companies have, Gupta explains, is that they simply can’t keep track of all the APIs they’re connected to through relationships with other organizations and developers. Therefore, Akto will provide a quick catalog of these links, rather than requiring IT to waste valuable time trying to keep up with them.

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Second, the company maintains a constantly updated list of known API vulnerabilities and weaknesses; its software then scans customer APIs for these issues and, where it finds them, advises how to fix them.

In an ideal world, says co-founder Ankush Jain, customers will use Akto’s platform before agreeing to deploy partner APIs, preempting issues. However, the platform can also be used to scan existing APIs for vulnerabilities and continue to scan APIs as the list of known vulnerabilities is updated. “It’s better to identify these problems as early as possible,” says Jain. “But you have to keep scanning to solve the problem.

Launched late last year, Akto is in closed beta with customers, but has already scanned more than 100,000 APIs for customers worldwide. Users say that part of its appeal is that the platform can be up and running very quickly, reading the impact of client APIs within minutes of installation.

The next phase of Akto is the commercial launch. It will operate as a software-as-a-service business, offering a free “community” version of the platform to those who only need limited functionality and a limited number of APIs. Team and Enterprise versions of the platform will incur a monthly subscription fee.

“In the next few years, we want to launch the largest API security platform in the world,” says Gupta. She believes that by 2023 by the end of the first quarter, the Akto community can attract as many as 10,000 new joiners.

The growth plan will be supported by the additional financial strength provided to the company by today’s seed round. 4.5 million The USD will go to Accel India, which is leading this round, as well as a group of angel investors, and is intended for further product development and market development.

“APIs are pervasive — they’re the glue that allows any software to provide a lot of functionality — but until now, not much thought has been given to how to secure them,” says Prayank Swaroop, Partner, Accel India. “Acto’s approach and technology provide a reliable, scalable, easy-to-deploy and accurate API security solution.”

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