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