Announcing GraphQL Security Scanning

For the second time this year: API security scanning changes today. We’ve been working hard on adding support to scan GraphQL APIs for security vulnerabilities, best practices, and correctness. Earlier this year, the Tinfoil Security API Scanner initially launched with support for the Swagger documentation format, and we’re excited to expand coverage to now include GraphQL APIs. To be clear, we’re not deprecating support for OpenAPI scanning - in fact, OpenAPI specification v3 support is coming soon! We’ve enjoyed building our own GraphQL APIs to power our user interfaces and we felt the need to ensure their correctness as we built them. To that end we’ve added first-class GraphQL support to our API Scanner. We’re thrilled today to announce the beta of our GraphQL scanning capabilities at the GraphQL Summit conference in San Francisco.

We use GraphQL internally to iterate quickly with our user interfaces without huge changes to the backend server each time. (We’re hiring, if Elixir, GraphQL, and Vue are interesting to you, by the way). GraphQL makes it easy to decouple user interface needs from a backend API server by offering a buffet of data and relationships without restricting the format to a specific JSON payload. Nowadays UI developers can iterate quickly, but this puts extra load on API server engineers to make a performant, and most importantly safe, GraphQL API.

One huge advantage of GraphQL APIs is that they are self-documenting. Most GraphQL APIs can be introspected to pull out the types, fields, and mutations. This can make it a joy to work with a tool like GraphiQL to explore an API, but also makes it very easy to get started scanning. All you need to do is provide the GraphQL endpoint and the Tinfoil Security API scanner will do the rest. We automatically discover the different types, fields, arguments, and mutations exposed by your API, and generate an optimized set of documents to exercise all of the different aspects of your API.

In addition to searching for various injections (both direct and blind), we also look for GraphQL-specific concerns. One such concern is cycles in the query graph, potentially DoSing an API server with a request that is time consuming to fulfill. GraphQL allows you to set complexity limits on documents received from the client to help prevent this, and our scanner makes sure your API server has a reasonable complexity limit set. When not auditing high-complexity queries, we make sure the documents we generate balance simplicity with API coverage.

Our support for GraphQL is only beginning; please stay tuned for more developments! If you’re interested in joining the beta of our GraphQL Scanning, please drop us a line.


Ben Sedat

Ben Sedat is the Engineering Wizard of Tinfoil Security. He's a bit of a blend between a traditional software engineer (builder) and security engineer (breaker). He spends a lot of time thinking about security: both detection as well as creating solutions for the security issues that exist in software and the internet. He also plays lots of video games. Lots.

Tags: graphql


TechNet Cyber 2019: Here we come!

Ready for another round of “Do Good With Your Data?” Join us at TechNet Cyber in Baltimore this weekend! In the vein of our community partner for the year, HSSV, we’ve deviated a bit to help the veterans folks at TechNet support.

We believe your data should be used for something good, and want to encourage you to think about what your data is worth.

To help us with our mission, Tinfoil Security has partnered with Freedom Service Dogs of America for Technet 2019. FSDA provides assistance dogs for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Each dog provides support as veterans re-enter civilian life, including companionship for disabled veterans. For every badge we scan we will make a donation to FSDA. The more scans we get the more money goes toward this incredible foundation and the more of an impact we can make for those who gave so much to protect us. Help us help veterans. 

Freedom Service Dogs of America Logo

Additionally, we’re excited to announce that our founders have both won the AFCEA 40 under 40 award this year! We are humbled and honored to be selected. We have a booth at TechNet Cyber in Baltimore this year, and would love to chat. Feel free to stop by booth 2143 for a conversation and a tinfoil hat. 

Bodyguard Foilz

TechNet Cyber - a way to connect government and military leaders with industry leaders - gives us the opportunity to further educate business and government leaders about the necessity of a security-first mindset. We believe that the internet and its users need more security, and we strive to make that goal a reality, one company at a time. Even if just a few companies or government agencies see the advantages of securing web applications and APIs in their DevOps pipeline, then our mission at TechNet Cyber was a success.  

Most post-breach plans by IT leaders have a common flaw: the plans are reactive,  rather than proactive. Security should be the first thing you develop a mindset for. A good guide to start with is the SANS Top 5, which especially if a security team is a new addition to your organization. 

A large number of breaches are the direct result of something easily preventable. This is the most frustrating aspect of most breaches: something easily preventable causing damage to the consumers and the companies. Human error is too high for the demanding nature of today’s SDLC; that’s where automated tools come in. A solid security team augmented with a great web application and API scanner works to ensure that you are doing everything they can to be secure. 

We are excited to attend TechNet Cyber 2019. We’ll be at booth 2143, so make sure you stop by and have a conversation about how our web application and API scanners can help your company be secure and efficient. If nothing else, stop by the booth to see if you can do more push-ups than Derek. ;)


Nicholas Bates

Nicholas is The Writing Writer, or Tinfoil Security's new Technical Content Writer. He has a background in network security where he worked as an engineer for 7 years before joining the Tinfoil team. As a father of his 3-year-old daughter, when he is not writing you can find him hiking with his family, or practicing Jiu-Jitsu.


RSA Conference 2019: Questions, Comments, Concerns?

What Just Happened?!

A little over a month ago, the Tinfoil Security team was out in full force at RSA. We met and talked to over a thousand of you. We were ecstatic about these conversations as what we have been working on fell in line with what developers, CISO’s and security engineers see as relevant and essential. The fact that security continues coming to the forefront is good for everyone as a whole. The more security awareness that is out there, the more the expectation for security will rise. With that, the companies that have poor security practices will lose. Consumer information will be protected with better and improving security practices and processes.  

The Takeaways

There were a few things that we believe stuck out the most at the conference. First, GDPR: what is going on with it, how do we comply, and do we need to comply? These were a few of the questions floating around regarding GDPR. There has been a new sub-industry created by GDPR. At this year’s RSA, there were many consulting, auditing or assessment companies explicitly playing in the GDPR “field.” We gained some insight into GDPR as far as it applies to companies moving forward. In a general sense, that there is a lack of a clear plan or outline for compliance to GDPR. California has come up with its own new privacy law that has companies concerned and confused, as well. The sentiment that I gained from this is that there will be a rather large learning curve when it comes to tech companies and GDPR compliance.

The second theme was the adoption of the idea of Security of DevOps or a security-first mindset when developing applications. This idea was pushed further into the light by our very own CEO, Ainsley, with her talk at RSA (“Building Security Processes for Developers and DevOps Teams”) which highlighted how the world of technology and development has changed. Briefly, the pace at which we push code is impossible to keep up with security-wise using old processes, technologies, and teams. Tackling this monumental task means building a multidisciplinary team to handle security and development for your applications. Her talk also focused on how to bridge the communication gap between operations, security, and development, breaking down the walls that currently exist.

The last hot topic was IoT and securing IoT devices. Few companies know how to build secure internet connected devices. As the adoption of IoT devices is ramps up, consumers are left less secure and have a wider attack surface. For the time being, consumers should consider being skeptical of IoT devices and take into consideration the increased level of vulnerability they are opening themselves up to. There should be a few fundamental considerations made by any company that wants to play in the IoT space. At a minimum, companies should find where their threats lie and build processes to reduce those threats. Releasing information to consumers around what they’re working on fixing and what the consumer is still vulnerable too helps as well. There are currently no laws we’re aware of that would force companies to disclose that information to consumers, but companies like Synology, 1Password, and Microsoft do an outstanding job of keeping their consumers up to date about what they're working on and what they have remediated.

In Summary

This years’ RSA Conference centered around a few main points that were reiterated throughout the entire conference. GDPR is here to stay, so how do companies cope with it? Security for DevOps was a major concern with them as well, with questions focused on how to get teams to work together, whether they are focused on development or security. Additionally, how can we automate some of the processes involved in developing secure applications? We can help with this point. Lastly, the overall impact of IoT was ever-present, with everyone asking questions around where security in the IoT space is going and how we believe it needs to get there. Did you find these same themes echoed at RSA? Are there things we should know or ideas we missed? Let me know



Nicholas Bates

Nicholas is The Writing Writer, or Tinfoil Security's new Technical Content Writer. He has a background in network security where he worked as an engineer for 7 years before joining the Tinfoil team. As a father of his 3-year-old daughter, when he is not writing you can find him hiking with his family, or practicing Jiu-Jitsu.

Tags: security DevSec DevOps


You've Got the Swagger, We've Got the SaaS

API security scanning changes today. Tinfoil Security is launching our new patent-pending API Scanner! After astounding feedback from developers leveraging our scanner and rigorous testing, we are proud to offer our scanner to the public. We are giving developers and companies the ability to scan and secure APIs with two different methods of deployment: on-premise and SaaS. We are very excited to invite you to see the API Scanner in action. 

As a clarification, we’re talking about web-based APIs such as REST APIs, web services, mobile-backend APIs, and the APIs that power IoT devices. We are not targeting lower-level APIs like libraries or application binary interfaces - a crucial distinction to make. The sorts of security vulnerabilities that affect web-based APIs are going to mirror the same categories of vulnerabilities we’ve spent the past eight years defending against with our web application scanner.

We’ve built a security scanner that understands how APIs work from the ground up, how they’re used, and most importantly, how they’re attacked. Existing solutions use a web application scanner to scan APIs, but that approach does not take into account the unique nature of APIs. Just as web applications can be vulnerable to issues like Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) or SQL injection, APIs can also fall prey to similar attacks. It isn’t quite that simple, though, and the nuances of how these vulnerabilities are detected and exploited can vary drastically between the two types of applications. In the case of XSS, for example, the difference between a vulnerable API and a secure API depends not only on the presence of attacker-controlled sinks in an HTTP response, but also on the content-types of the responses in question, how a client consumes those responses, and whether sufficient content-type sniffing mitigations have been enforced.

APIs also aren’t discoverable. Unless you’re one of the dozen companies in the world with a HATEOAS-based API, it isn’t possible for a security scanner to load up your API, follow all of the links, and automatically discover all of the endpoints in that API. The parameters expected by those endpoints, and any constraints required by them, are even harder to discover. Without some way of programmatically acquiring this information, API security scanning simply can’t be automated in the same way that web scanning has been.

To deal with these discoverability issues in APIs, we looked at standards like Swagger, RAML, and API Blueprint. We’ve found that Swagger (now known as the OpenAPI Specification), in particular, is winning out as the standard for API documentation. In response, we’ve designed our API scanner to ingest Swagger documents and use them to build a map of an API for scanning. Doing so solves the issue of being unable to crawl an API. It also allows us to scan APIs with a higher level of intelligence than black-box dynamic web application scanning has ever been able to.

We have addressed authentication issues using something we call authenticators. We’ve distilled API authentication down to its foundations; whether that’s as simple as adding a header or parameter to a request, or as complex as performing an entire OAuth2 handshake and storing the received bearer token for later use. We’re then able to chain together all of the authenticators, incrementally transforming unauthenticated requests into authenticated ones. Having such a nuanced understanding of all the steps of an authentication workflow lets us detect when any of those steps have failed, and when the server isn't honoring any of them. This allows us to fuzz the individual steps of an authentication flow, providing a powerful tool for determining authorization and authentication bypasses.

Some features that will get any developer excited: 

  • Intelligent payload generation
  • A powerful REST API to control the scanner and its reports
  • First-class support for API authentication workflows. 

What we mean by intelligent payload generation is parameter fuzzing that takes into account the schemas of the parameters, e.g. types of parameters, constraints, whether the parameter is required, and valid inhabitations to name a few.

In addition to vulnerability scanning, our scanner also performs correctness checking and looks for bugs to reduce an API’s attack surface. With full integration into your existing CI/CD pipeline, we create and track issues and vulnerabilities easily, allowing your teams to focus on what’s most important to your organization.

You can, for the first time, secure your APIs with a scanner that was built specifically for APIs. We’re not just pointing our web application scanner at your API and calling it good. Our API scanning is intelligent and thorough. By using your API’s specification as an outline, we focus on security vulnerabilities as they manifest themselves within APIs. This means fewer false positives, a higher degree of coverage, and a better understanding of the risk posture posed by your APIs.

There is every reason to give our unrivaled API Scanner a test drive, and you can do it right now. For a more detailed feature breakdown, please refer to this post



Nicholas Bates

Nicholas is The Writing Writer, or Tinfoil Security's new Technical Content Writer. He has a background in network security where he worked as an engineer for 7 years before joining the Tinfoil team. As a father of his 3-year-old daughter, when he is not writing you can find him hiking with his family, or practicing Jiu-Jitsu.

Tags: DevOps DevSec Free Scan Launch


Do good with your data at RSA, with Tinfoil Security!

We’re at RSA this year for another episode of “Do Good With Your Data.” There’s one more day left in the conference, and dropping by our booth comes with a little extra for every badge we scan.


Last year, we took the opportunity to use your data to do good. For each badge we scanned, Tinfoil Security donated a meal to those in need, right here in San Francisco. We provided meals to the hungry for more than 3 months!


This year, our community partner is Humane Society Silicon Valley! With each unique badge scanned at RSA, Tinfoil Security will make a donation to our furry friends in need. HSSV has been serving our local community for over 80 years, and was recently celebrated as the first model shelter in the nation. Tinfoilers love this particular location, volunteering their time and fostering an array of animals. We’ve had kittens and dogs that are small, sick, three-legged, and even blind!


To help us with our mission this year, we have advocates, Grace and Hopper, from HSSV. Both are young adult cats looking for their forever homes. Come by for a kitty break and learn more about them, HSSV, and Tinfoil!


More about our mission:


At least once during this year’s conference, you’re likely to scan your badge for free swag - a pen, a beer, a t-shirt, or the chance to win a prize. Every year, we are astonished at how much companies had invested in items that would hopefully attract your attention so they could partake in a swag exchange to get hold of your data. Many items you might collect are fun and useful - we love the nerdy things! However, our goal is to encourage you to think about how much data you share when your badge is scanned, and what you are willing to give up for it. We want you to ask yourself: “What is my data worth?”

Don’t want your badge scanned at all? Come to our booth (#3216 South Expo) and we will show you a hack to protect your data! We will also be giving away free pens, stickers, and tattoos - no badge scan required!


In case this is your first time hearing about us:


Tinfoil Security provides security tools for developers and DevOps teams. We integrate into your current development workflow, empowering developers to find and fix vulnerabilities as a part of their normal development process. Our goal is to increase bandwidth for your security teams while training developers to code more securely and treat vulnerabilities as normal bugs. Whether you’re building web applications or APIs powering mobile backend servers, IoT devices, and web services, we have a dynamic vulnerability scanner that’s right for you and your team.


More about our 2019 Community partner: Human Society Silicon Valley


Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) is an independent, privately funded, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving people and pets for over 80 years. HSSV offers quality adoptions, affordable spaying/neutering, vaccinations, microchipping services, pet care services, and education programs to enhance the human-animal bond. Established in 1929, HSSV has adopted more than 500,000 animals into permanent, loving homes.


You can make a donation directly at: http://hssv.org


Don’t forget to visit Tinfoil Security at our RSA Booth # 3216 (South Expo).


Ainsley Braun

Ainsley Braun is the co-founder and CEO of Tinfoil Security. She's consistently looking for interesting, innovative ways to improve the way security is currently implemented. She spends a lot of her time thinking about the usability and pain points of security, and loves talking with Tinfoil's users. She also loves rowing, flying kites, and paragliding.