Account Takeover-Everything You Should Know
With account takeover frauds increasing by the day, it would be best to learn more about these attacks before you become a victim.
18:23 19 April 2021
Major online marketplaces have been exposed to these attacks over the last couple of years. In fact, a recent survey by the Aite Group revealed that 89% of financial institution executives associated account takeover fraud is the leading cause of losses in the eCommerce industry.
The key to overcoming this vice is to learn more about account takeover fraud. Luckily for you, we will be discussing everything you need to know about account takeover attacks and how to prevent them.
What is Account Takeover?
Account takeover is a form of identity theft where attackers attempt to steal user credentials. These types of attacks usually occur for selfish monetary gains. Although account takeovers are related to synthetic identity fraud, these attacks are different. During an attack, the malicious hackers pose as the legitimate account owner. Once they gain access to the victims’ online accounts, they will change account data and use the breached information to access other accounts and conduct illegal financial transactions and shopping activities.
Recent studies revealed that human resources, IT, corporate, and finance departments are more susceptible to these attacks. The study went ahead to disclose that these departments are at a higher risk of these attacks due to the sensitive and confidential data they handle. These departments play a vital role in the day-to-day running of any business.
What are the Common Account Takeover Techniques?
Cybercriminals employ a variety of techniques to gain illegal access to users’ online accounts. Here is a comprehensive list of typical account takeover attack techniques:
In most cases, account takeover accounts begin with data breaches. The attackers use bots to gain authentic login credentials. They can also purchase credentials if your account has been breached in the past. With several major online marketplaces reporting breaches every day, attackers now have an easy time obtaining crucial user information, credit card numbers, email addresses, and social security numbers.
When the attackers obtain such vital information, they start phishing campaigns. The attackers can also use the breached data to gain access to the accounts. This usually happens through a technique called credential stuffing. Credential stuffing is an online threat, which occurs when attackers use login credentials obtained from your other online sites to access the target account. Nowadays, cybercriminals use advanced programs and bots to overcome login restrictions, including multi-factor authentication, fingerprints, and fake IDs. The good news is that you can overcome these attacks by introducing various measures.
The attackers might decide to start phishing campaigns. In phishing attacks, the attackers take advantage of our trust and confidence in reputable institutions. For instance, the attackers might send an email that looks like an authentic email from the organization to warn you that your online account is at risk. Attackers might also include vital documents that have legit logos, stamps, and employee names.
The plan is to lure the victim into taking action. For example, the email will ask you to click the link to direct you to the attackers’ site identical to your service provider’s account. After doing that, the attackers might trick you into giving your credentials. Moreover, the attackers might install malware into your account when you download a file. The attackers might also trick you into calling the provided phone number. A trained attacker will receive your call and trick you into giving your user information in most cases.
There are various forms of phishing attacks. Here are some of the most common types of phishing:
- Whaling. Attacks focus on reputable individuals in this type of attack.
- Smishing. In this type of attack, the criminals send text messages with a link to fake bank portals. Smishing also includes messenger-based fraud.
- Voice Phishing. This type of phishing attack usually takes place over the phone.
- Spear Phishing. Cybercriminals target individuals and groups in spear-phishing attacks.
These attacks usually happen when the user targets themselves between the user and the FI to receive, edit, and send communication without raising suspicion. To do this, the attackers usually set a malicious access point. This access point allows the attacker to intercept all your outgoing and incoming data. For instance, you might connect to a malicious WI-FI network to access your banking portal. The attackers will take advantage of this and intercept your data.
Attackers can also take control of your online account by using malware. This malicious software will be installed on your mobile device and the personal computer to conduct a wide range of actions. For instance, the malware will visit risky sites, open malicious attachments, and download suspicious applications and programs. These programs might direct you to a malicious website or intercept all your data.
Impact of Account Takeover on Your Business
Let us look at the impact of account takeover attacks on your online business:
Unauthorized Account Access and Online Fraud
Attackers to gain access to the accounts using stolen credentials. The stolen credentials can also be used to transfer reward money and to make unauthorized transactions.
Loss of Brand Reputation
Businesses lose revenue and the confidence of their clients due to account takeover. If a company is accused of a data breach, it faces negative publicity and fines. Moreover, account takeover causes so many companies to lose business.
Come Back as Chargeback
When the business has high chargeback rates, it affects the reputation of the brand. Account takeover causes firms to incur the cost associated with processing and disputing the chargebacks. The customer refunds and inventory losses cause a substantial financial impact.
Loss of Customers
Customers are likely to lose trust in your business after these accounts. Most of them might walk away.
Account Takeover Prevention
You can introduce a raft of measures, including two-factor authentication, security questions, IP blocking, and rate-limiting. However, it is still vital to maintain a positive user experience. Using account takeover protection solutions like DataDome is the best way of identifying bad bots and stopping them before things get out of hand.