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What is Business Logic?

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Business logic is the process of deciding what actions to take with collected data based on the given business requirements. Simply put, it’s a reflection of how the various parts of a business work together in real life. This data can come from a variety of sources, such as user input or external databases. Believe it or not, many applications with complex interconnected activities rely entirely on business logic in order to work correctly. 

For example, let's consider an application that allows users to purchase items from a catalog and subsequently pay for them using a payment method associated with their account. If a customer tries to make a purchase using a payment method that is associated with a different account than the one they currently have, the application will not be able to verify the customer's identity and will not be able to complete the transaction. Therefore, the application would need to contain logic that allows it to verify whether a user is who he claims to be based on provided information before attempting to complete a transaction.

Unlike more basic programming concepts, the concept of business logic is very flexible; you can even develop your own logic and apply it to your own applications with code. This code can be stored in an application or API, or it can be embedded into websites and other digital platforms. For example, a word processor might allow the user to format text and include images or multimedia; the logic behind the formatting and appearance is defined in the code of the application itself.

There are a number of benefits to using business logic in your systems. For one, it can help you keep your systems organized and easy to use. Additionally, business logic can help you to automate tasks and processes. For example, a system that tracks inventory levels can use business logic to prompt staff when the stock of a particular item is dangerously low. Having logic in your applications can also help you avoid errors and downtime. By knowing what actions to take in response to various conditions, you can minimize the chances of problems arising. 

 

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Business logic vulnerabilities

Despite these benefits, business logic doesn't come without risk as vulnerabilities can be especially problematic. If your application relies on business logic to function, a vulnerability in that code could allow an attacker access to sensitive data or cause your system to act in ways that aren't intended. It could even cause your entire system to crash. These issues often occur as a result of human error, as they can be difficult to spot when testing your application. Sometimes these vulnerabilities stem from weaknesses in the software you use to develop your applications, such as the programming language or development platform. In other cases, they can be the result of defects in the business logic itself. 

But keep in mind, these vulnerabilities aren’t unique to applications. As we mentioned above, they also impact APIs as APIs can also be governed by business logic. The first 5 of the OWASP Top 10 API Security Threats are business logic related. One of the most common vulnerabilities is broken access control in the business logic. This means that the API failed at authenticating that the user was actually allowed to access the sensitive data. Broken access control can also occur if a user is able to inject malicious code into the business logic. This could allow them to modify the behavior of your system or carry out unauthorized actions. These types of vulnerabilities can be hard to identify during testing because they can only occur when the attacker is logged in to the system using the credentials of an authorized user. This means that they might only be identified once they have been exploited in the real world.

Prevent business logic attacks

There are several ways to avoid developing business logic vulnerabilities in your APIs. First, make sure that all of your code is properly tested before it's released. Test the code thoroughly to ensure that users will be able to complete their tasks without running into any bugs or errors. Second, use proper coding practices. This means using good software development standards and following guidelines for writing code that is easy to read and maintain. 

Next, implement a good development process for updating and improving existing code. Always update your existing code rather than creating new versions of your software from scratch in order to avoid introducing new bugs and inconsistencies into your systems. An important step here is maintaining a complete, accurate, and current inventory of the APIs and code you have and what they’re capable of. Finally, evaluate which languages, libraries, and development platforms are most appropriate for the task at hand. When choosing your tools, consider factors such as how easy it is to find developers and how quickly your code can be developed. By taking these steps, you can help to avoid developing business logic vulnerabilities in your APIs.

Luckily for you, Noname Security offers a proactive API security testing solution to identify flaws in your business logic. Active Testing will analyze the business logic of the API to understand how they operate and what their dependencies are. Once we understand this business logic, we can launch API-centric attacks against them to validate their security capabilities or lack thereof. The result is that you can stop vulnerabilities from ever reaching a production environment.

Active Testing automatically runs more than 100 dynamic tests that simulate malicious traffic, including but certainly not limited to the complete set of OWASP API Top 10. We also leverage knowledge we’ve gained from simulating real world attacks in numerous customer environments. The developer does not need to be a security expert, but can instead lean on our unique understanding of API security captured in our pre-configured test cases.