Account takeover (ATO) is a type of online identity theft in which a fraudster gains unauthorized access to a user account in a given system. It has been on an exponential rise in recent years. An individual’s online account includes sensitive information with intrinsic value like stored payment instruments, personal data, loyalty points, and purchase history. In an account takeover, the fraudster takes over the account to exploit vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals have created a flourishing e-crime hub in dark web marketplaces to sell the user’s account information.so lets gets started with the main topic 6 Things You Need To Know About Account Takeover
In 2019 alone, ATO attacks have cost the consumers and e-commerce retailers a loss of a whopping $16.9 billion. Account takeover protection is crucial, and companies need to implement the right tool for continuous, real-time visibility to detect and prevent account takeover fraud attempts.
Here are six things you need to know about account takeover fraud.
How Does Account Takeover Happen?
Cybercriminals gain access to the user credentials through different methods. They don’t always need sensitive information; they seek the most specific entry point to perpetuate the account takeover attempt. Once they gain access to the user’s main communication channel, the cybercriminal changes the account details like the security questions, passwords, encryption settings, and others. The authorized user would not know the updated information associated with the account, which prevents them from logging into their account.
How To Detect ATO Fraud?
It would help if you looked out for the following things to detect ATO.
· To claim an account, the fraudster change details on the genuine customer profile. If you detect a mass change of sensitive data across several customer accounts, it is likely a case of ATO.
· A high number of country IP addresses is an indicator of account takeover.
· Fraudsters generally use software to hide the device they are using, also known as called device spoofing. Their device indicates ‘unknown’ as the model.
· Determining the ratio of known or unknown device models helps to identify ATO.
· If multiple accounts are linked to the same device, it may indicate ATO.
What Is The Impact Of Account Takeover?
ATO is a threat to various sectors, including payments, eCommerce, travel, banks, and credit card companies at large. Businesses suffer the impact of chargebacks and penalties frequently in the case of ATO. Along with revenue loss, businesses also experience damage to their brand image and customer trust.
Account Takeover Techniques
Fraudsters use different methods to access the data in a secure account:
· Hacking: One of the most common hacking techniques is brute force attack. In this, the fraudster develops automated scripts to brainstorm password combinations to find authorized login credentials.
· Phishing & Spear Phishing: Fraudsters use email correspondence to trick users into revealing their personal information.
· Social Engineering: ATO criminals look into various databases to find any pertinent information about a user that will help them to guess the password.
· Botnets: Cybercriminals use bots to hack into customers’ accounts. They deploy it at multiple locations. Hence it is difficult to identify malicious IP addresses logging in.
How To Prevent An Account Against ATO?
The use of appropriate security measures can protect a user account against ATO.
· Security Questions: The user will have to answer some pre-determined questions after inputting the password to prevent malicious login attempts.
· Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): The user can establish access to an online account or computer system by providing two different information types. It helps to prevent unrecognized devices or IP address from accessing the account.
· IP Bock-listing: Multiple login attempts generating from one IP can be an indicator of malicious login. IP block-listing helps to mitigate such risks.
· Login Attempt Limits: You can set a standard for login attempts to minimize spam login attempts.
· Device Tracking: It helps identify if any suspicious activity occurs at a particular login location.
· WAF Configuration: Configuring a firewall helps to recognize and mitigate account takeover attempts. A Web Application Firewall protects web applications by monitoring and filtering traffic.
· Sandboxing: It helps to isolate suspicious applications or accounts from critical system resources. It is a security mechanism that allows separate running programs to mitigate ATO risks.
Why Should You Prevent Account Takeovers?
· Reduce Phishing Attack: ATO prevention is necessary to bring down phishing attacks. The cybercriminals pose themselves as authorized persons and ask users for personally identifiable information (PII).
· Uphold Your Brand and Reputation: ATO can hamper your brand image and customer base. Your reputation is likely to suffer if you do not implement measures to prevent ATO.
· Check Loss of Customers: ATO puts the sensitive data of customers at risk. Fraudster gets access to user account to perform malicious operations. Prevention of ATO is essential to provide reliable and valuable service to customers for customer engagement and retention.
· Chargeback management: The consequences for ATO businesses are endless, but the main one is increased chargebacks. It is a fraudulent request for a return or refund in the form of a chargeback. Account takeover prevention is required to bring down the chargeback errors.
· Check Compromised Credentials: ATO prevention is necessary to identify compromised credentials before they can cause any further damage. Data analytics tool looks into the database to identify any suspicious credentials.
In account takeover fraud, cybercriminals steal the user credentials to perform malicious operations. Account takeover is a critical automated threat to most online businesses.