Nearly any business with user accounts or membership systems can be the target of account takeover attacks. These attacks often rely on malware or man-in-the-middle strategies to capture login credentials.
Cybercriminals can use these credentials to access accounts and steal data or sell the information on the dark web. Account takeover protection software can help prevent this theft, preserving customer loyalty and trust.
Account takeover fraud (ATO) is a multifaceted attack that involves cybercriminals gaining access to a user’s account and credentials. Whether it’s an email account, bank account, social media profile, or eCommerce account, attackers use the information gained to commit unauthorized transactions, steal data, and more. They can also monetize the stolen information by selling it on the dark web or using it to impersonate the victim in business email compromise (BEC) attacks or in more direct financial fraud such as wire transfers and purchases.
To mitigate ATO, companies must implement effective detection capabilities that leverage device, IP, and network data to provide visibility across the digital landscape. This includes identifying red flags and patterns to spot malicious activity, establishing strong password policies, and implementing multi-factor authentication. In addition to these technologies, a solid ATO prevention strategy must balance risk mitigation with cost and user experience (UX) considerations. For example, requiring more challenging CAPTCHA challenges for all users may not be practical or fair to the legitimate customer base, especially if they are easy for bots to solve through image processing software.
Lastly, the best ATO prevention strategies combine working practices and education with like-minded security partners who understand the attackers’ mindset. This approach helps to ensure that defenses can keep up with evolving attack methods, reducing the likelihood of an ATO.
Account takeover attacks are a severe threat to businesses of all sizes. When cybercriminals obtain unauthorized access to user accounts, they can use the stolen credentials for a wide range of fraud activities, such as making wire transfers from fraudulent bank accounts, stealing intellectual property and other sensitive information, and more. The losses from these crimes can be substantial for both individuals and businesses. Businesses lose revenue and customers, incur higher processing fees, and suffer from damage to reputation and customer trust.
A comprehensive account takeover protection solution is essential for every digital business. Using machine learning to establish a standard behavior profile, an account takeover monitoring system monitors account activity for anomalies and red flags. It can identify the onset of suspicious activity, such as sudden changes in login patterns, multiple login attempts from different IP addresses, device spoofing, etc.
The most effective way to protect against account takeover is by preventing it from occurring in the first place. While there are many ways that cybercriminals gain access to user accounts, the most common include phishing attacks, malware and keyloggers, credential stuffing and brute-force password cracking, and weak or outdated security infrastructures. Detecting and stopping these threats is an ongoing task that requires real-time monitoring of accounts, detection of a potential account takeover, and then blocking the attacker’s access to the account.
Account takeover attacks are a common source of financial losses and data theft. They also damage business reputations and erode customer trust. The best way to protect against these damages is to prevent ATO attacks from happening in the first place. This can be done through creating strong passwords, implementing multi-factor authentication, and monitoring account activity for unusual patterns. Additionally, businesses should use bot defense to detect and stop malicious automation, including brute force attacks, machine-in-the-middle attacks, and malware.
Cybercriminals who commit ATO attacks use stolen credentials to access online accounts. They may have various reasons for targeting these accounts, from making unauthorized transactions to using stolen identities for sinister activities like money laundering and human trafficking. Despite their motives, they all follow similar steps to execute an attack.
A good account takeover detection solution will monitor a user throughout the transaction process, identifying clues and patterns that can indicate account takeover activity. This can be a powerful tool for the banking industry because it gives them visibility into a consumer’s account before making a payment.
A robust account takeover software should identify red flags of an attack, such as failed login attempts. It should then alert users to these signs so they can take action and automatically notify the bank of any suspicious activity. The best approach is to use a fraud prevention solution that combines automated and manual review of risky behavior, eliminating the need for humans to review every user manually.
Account takeover is a severe problem that impacts both individuals and businesses. For individuals, it may result in the theft of personal information or a disruption of their online services. For businesses, it can lead to lost revenue, damaged reputation, and regulatory fines.
Cybercriminals often gain access to user accounts through social engineering attacks, phishing, and compromising the security of websites and applications. They then use stolen login credentials to take over those accounts and commit fraud. For example, they may change the password or username to avoid detection and use the account to execute unauthorized transactions.
Account takeover software can help to detect and prevent these types of attacks by monitoring user logins for suspicious behavior. For instance, the system will send an alert if a user tries to log into their account from an unknown device or location. It will also alert the business if a suspicious pattern of activity is detected.
In addition, the best account takeover protection software can monitor for phishing and malware infections by scanning emails for keywords and checking for suspicious downloads. It can also check for changes in login data and look for other signs of a malicious attack. This is more effective than relying on technicians to make these critical decisions. Automating these sensitive decisions helps to ensure that all users are treated fairly.