Cyber attacks are on the rise, with new data breaches happening on a daily basis. Growing online presence of individuals and businesses has made it easier for cyber criminals to access everybody’s confidential data and to use it to their own benefit. The most troubling type of cyber attacks is called account takeover fraud as its impact can be extremely bewildering. Not only is it difficult to detect, but it can cause significant financial and reputational damage.
Account takeover fraud happens when a malicious third-party uses stolen confidential data to gain access to users’ online accounts like their email address, social media profile or even a bank account and use it for their own financial benefit. Account takeover fraud attempts have increased 282% between Q2 2019 to Q2 2020 which means it is the end time for everyone to start taking active steps in the fight against account takeover fraud.
How can fraudsters get your confidential data?
There are numerous ways fraudsters can get access to the confidential data they need to take over an account.
Malware – By installing malicious software on the victim’s computer or mobile device fraudsters can gain access to their confidential data.
Social engineering attacks – With these types of cyber attacks fraudsters are exploiting victims’ natural tendency to trust and convince the victim to either provide them with confidential data or to install the malware on their device.
Credential Stuffing – This type of fraud happens when fraudsters use automated scripts and stolen login details they bought off the Dark Web to try to access an account .
SIM Card Swapping – By transferring the victim’s mobile phone number to a new SIM card, fraudsters can get access to any account that requires using a user’s phone as an additional level of security.
Why do fraudsters want stolen accounts?
Account takeover can have more consequences that we can even imagine.
Fraudsters may, for example:
- Expand their reach and breach all of your other accounts.
- Sell stolen identities to the highest bidder.
- Order a new credit card from your credit card company
- Open a new bank account in your name
- Make payments from your bank account
- Use it for phishing attack or for spam
Account takeover fraud is constantly evolving and it is impacting more and more of different aspects of victims life which is why it is of utmost importance to take all the steps necessary to prevent it.
How to prevent account takeover fraud?
Account takeover fraud is difficult to detect as cyber criminals take an extra precaution not to get caught so they can exploit your details as much as they can. By implementing these following steps you will be able to reduce the risk of account takeover fraud ever happening to you.
Stay vigilant: Do not ignore account alerts as they might be the warning you need to stop the attack. If you do not recognize the activity it is warning you about and look into it right away.
Improve your password hygiene: Even though it is easier to reuse your passwords than to constantly remember the new ones, that makes you an easy target for fraudsters. You need to create a unique and secure password for every of your online accounts. By using a password manager you can keep a track of them without even trying to remember them.
If you own a business, you will need to implement a password protection policy for your customers and the employees.
Use multi factor authentication: By implementing multi factor authentication you can twart fraudsters attempts to gain the access to the account as they won’t be able to go through additional layers of protection. Activate it wherever you can, especially if you own the business.
Be observant with links: Never click on links in emails, especially if they are coming from unknown email senders, or suspicious web pages. It’s always better to be suspicious and access the site directly from your browser than by following any links.
Use a VPN: Hackers will try to get access to your device through unsecured public WiFi which is why you need to use VPN everytime you are away from home and you need to use it.
Implement cybersecurity tools: By implementing cyber security tools like a device fingerprinting you would be able to gather more information about your users and use it to prevent account takeover and identity theft before there is any damage done.