SecurityTrails Blog · Aug 30 · by Gianni Perez

Security APIs for Blue Teamers: Advancing Detection Engineering

Reading time: 4 minutes

Signals, signals, and more signals; cyber practitioners are engrossed in an ever-increasing, utterly crushing deluge of event data and security logs.

With its comprehensive record of system events, network activities, user interactions, and more, log data provides the scaffold to swiftly detect and respond to potential threats.

Amidst this challenging environment, timely, accurate, and actionable insights are critical to stay ahead of the trend toward absolute dismay. For blue teamers tasked with keeping the “lights on” regarding all things detection engineering, reliably harnessing the power of log data becomes an indispensable skill in the battle against relentless cyber threats.

Join us in this quick read as we explore the growing role of security APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) in unlocking a new era of detection opportunities and risk identification. Through the lens of our SecurityTrails API™, we’ll examine a handful of use cases that will allow organizations to monitor and protect their systems more effectively, so let’s dive in!

Leveraging Real-Time Threat Intelligence

In previous articles, we discussed unleashing the power of security APIs to address critical areas of cyber defense, such as threat hunting—the proactive approach of searching and potentially identifying malicious activity lurking undetected by traditional security measures.

Similarly, these can be widely adopted to allow blue teams to aggregate threat data from various external sources, such as threat feeds, open-source intelligence platforms, and commercial threat intelligence providers. This aggregated data provides a comprehensive view of the threat landscape, helping organizations identify emerging threats and vulnerabilities. In addition, integrating security APIs into this fold facilitates enrichment through additional contextualization, such as IP and domain reputation, geolocation, or even malware analysis.

For instance, our SecurityTrails API™ provides two distinct products designed to expedite data enrichment, information retrieval, and the speedy identification of pertinent security details for organizations. These include:

  • SQL API: With the SQL API interface, you can construct versatile yet intricate queries spanning our datasets, yielding rapid outcomes. Our domain-specific language component empowers users to craft complex yet flexible SQL-like queries spanning extensive volumes of domain data.
SQL API interface
  • Domain and IP Intelligence API: Our main corpus of IPv4, DNS, WHOIS, and company data, the SecurityTrails API™ stands out for its contribution to cybercrime investigations by allowing blue teams to retrieve WHOIS information for domains of interest and similar use cases. This information empowers cyber practitioners to gather evidence, establish connections, and collaborate with other stakeholders to thwart malicious activity.

What about the Attack Surface?

With careful consideration and planning, Security APIs can help cyber defense teams strengthen their external asset protection, thereby reducing the overall attack surface. For example, by integrating threat intelligence APIs, security teams can gain real-time insights into emerging threats impacting publicly-facing endpoints, allowing them to adapt their strategies and quickly mitigate vulnerabilities. In addition, automated incident response, enabled by API-driven orchestration, ensures rapid containment of potential breaches, minimizing the exposure window for attackers.

In the past, we’ve showcased essential new features like detecting user agents on specific IPv4 addresses. In a typical scenario, blocking outdated user agents can effectively mitigate botnet attacks on web applications, including denial-of-service attacks and data theft.

Fetching user agents

Fetching user agents seen during the last 30 days for a specific IPv4 address using the SecurityTrails API™

Such API-driven strategies collectively bridge a critical security gap in handling cyber threats, seamlessly merging real-time threat intelligence, automated incident response, and comprehensive data analysis.

This now widely-adopted approach has yet another significant impact: Security APIs facilitate access to historical data, enabling the analysis of past incidents for more effective pattern recognition and refinement of detection rules. In this context, security APIs enhance the accuracy and speed of detecting and responding to activities with high-risk scores, improving an organization's overall security posture.

Taking action

Using security APIs for detection engineering purposes will inevitably lead us to indicators of compromise (IoCs)—these are the telltale signs, or sentinel fragments, meticulously (or not) left behind by threat actors. As hinted, you can trigger immediate actions through security APIs, such as blocking traffic from malicious IPs, isolating compromised systems, or even applying patches. This cohesive approach streamlines workflows, reduces human error, and ensures consistent enforcement of security policies.

Other actions may include automated incident response. By integrating security APIs with incident response platforms, organizations can ensure the rapid containment and mitigation of threats, reducing manual intervention and response times. Lastly, security APIs facilitate extracting valuable insights from large volumes of data in real time. This capability is vital for rapid decision-making and early threat detection.

Until next time

Embrace the game-changing power of security APIs to protect your organization against the ever-evolving backdrop of cyber threats. With its comprehensive access to historical WHOIS data, enriched IP information, and extensive domain awareness, the SecurityTrails API™ empowers your detection engineering with unmatched precision and response capabilities.

The era of collaborative and proactive cybersecurity is here, driven by the seamless connectivity and insights that security APIs offer. Don't wait—leap into a more secure future today.

Gianni Perez Blog Author

Gianni is a technical writer at SecurityTrails and adjunct college cybersecurity instructor with over two decades of infosec experience. He knows firsthand the demands security professionals face, and draws upon his knowledge of IT systems - from administration and software dev, as well as automation, to provide valuable security insights that make a real difference.

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