Account takeover attacks are one of the most common cyber attacks, allowing hackers to use stolen credentials to access and control online personal and business accounts. Once they have access to these accounts, hackers can transfer funds, use stored credit cards, deplete gift cards and loyalty points, redeem airline miles, submit fraudulent credit applications and plant ransomware or malware on the system.
How Hackers Gain Credentials
Often, the first step in an account takeover attacks is to obtain the username and passwords needed for access to these accounts. This can be done through a variety of methods, including purchasing lists of credentials on the dark web or black market, launching bots that can endlessly test password/username combinations until a valid combination is discovered (also known as a brute force attack), or using phishing tactics to trick users into disclosing their login details through email or online forms.
Understanding Account Takeover Attacks: How They Happen and How to Protect Yourself
A key to preventing account takeover fraud is continuous monitoring, or watching all transactions as they happen. This allows you to identify patterns that indicate someone may be using their account for fraudulent activity.
Signs of Account Takeover Fraud
Unusual or questionable transactions can be a sign of account takeover fraud, but they are not always easy to spot. For instance, a customer’s account details may change in the bank system, which could indicate they have been taken over or someone has changed their password.
It is important for financial institutions to understand how valuable their customers’ accounts are and to make them aware of the importance of protecting them. By empowering users with this understanding, they are more likely to protect their own accounts and help prevent fraud.