A fraudster’s primary goal in an account takeover (ATO) attack is to steal the user’s credentials and use them for their own financial gain or to sell on the black market. This is done through a variety of techniques including phishing, card skimming, lifting wallets, ATM and credit card hacking and many more. When successful, ATO can cause high chargeback rates, customer transaction disputes and reputation damage for a financial institution.
How can account takeover vulnerability be prevented?
Cybercriminals aren’t discriminatory when it comes to which companies they target. A company of any size, industry or location can be a victim of account takeover detection attacks. As a result, small- and midsized businesses can become an attractive target since they’re less likely to be vigilant about unusual login patterns or transactions.
The first step in an ATO attack is obtaining account credentials, and this can happen through any number of sources such as data breaches, stolen devices or spoofed cookies. Once a hacker has valid credentials, they’ll often try them out on a large number of accounts. This is why it’s important to be aware of an abnormal spike in unfamiliar transactions or a series of failed login attempts.
Continuous monitoring is an effective account takeover detection technique as it can alert you to unusual login behavior that could indicate a breach. A robust fraud detection solution will provide full visibility into a user’s activity before they log in, while they are logged in and after they complete a transaction.