Account Takeover

Hackers use a variety of methods to take over accounts. They can steal money or make purchases in your name. They can also manipulate investment portfolios, steal frequent flyer miles, and sell stolen account information online. They can even take over government benefits like Medicare, route the funds to themselves, or resell them on a black market website.

Social Engineering

Social engineering as a method of account takeover is when hackers use deception to access online accounts. They can steal passwords, gain access to personal information, and even extort money. They also use the accounts to commit other crimes, such as phishing attacks and business email compromise (BEC) attacks.

Cybercriminals often buy a list of usernames and passwords on the dark web. Then, they deploy bots to test the credentials on popular retail, travel, finance, and e-commerce websites. This scales their efforts and allows them to profit from each validated certificate.

Many people reuse the same passwords across different sites. This makes them a target for social engineering attackers, who can easily find answers to security questions like the name of their elementary school or the make and model of their first car. They can then use these answers to reset the password and take over the account.

To protect yourself from social engineering attacks, don’t click on links sent to you via email or text message. Double-check them before clicking, and avoid using the same passwords for multiple accounts. You can also protect your information with two-factor authentication, which requires a code to log in and ensures that only you can access your account. Additionally, you can use a bot detection solution like Kasada to identify malicious automation and fraudulent activity that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Data Breaches

Account takeover fraud (ATO) is a growing problem for consumers and businesses. ATO attacks can occur offline or online and are often multi-step attacks. Hackers use malware to infect devices and worm their way into the network. Once they gain access, they steal login credentials and other personally identifiable information (PII) to exploit the account. They then sell the stolen data on the Dark Web or use it to commit fraud.

Cybercriminals use leaked usernames and passwords to take over accounts on several websites and services. Fraudsters can also access an account using a SIM swap attack. This method involves changing the victim’s mobile phone number and intercepting text messages with one-time passcodes. They can then reset the victim’s account passwords and access their sensitive data.

ATO attacks are a huge threat to businesses, especially those with online transactions. But there are ways to protect yourself from them. Using two-factor authentication and installing security software can help prevent account takeover. Heimdal offers a comprehensive range of solutions to stop ATO threats at the source. For example, its solution Heimdal Threat Prevention contains man-in-the-browser attacks and zero-hour exploits and provides network security at the perimeter.

Read Also3 Steps for Improving Small Business Cyber Security

Brute Force Attacks

The brute force attack is a method of account takeover that involves trying many password combinations to gain access to an account. The goal is to use this stolen information to commit various types of fraud, such as unauthorized transactions and identity theft. The attacker can also use the account to access other accounts and networks to commit more serious cyberattacks.

This method of account takeover is particularly dangerous to companies that maintain large databases of personal information. For example, the financial industry is a frequent target for account takeover because hackers can steal credit card numbers and account logins from compromised customer accounts. They can then use these credentials to perform unauthorized transactions or sell them on the dark web.

Many social engineering and data breach tactics can be employed in brute-force attacks. For example, fraudsters can purchase a list of passwords from the dark web and then try to guess them using a dictionary and other tools. Once they successfully access an account, they can use it to make unauthorized transactions or cash in loyalty points.

Companies can prevent this type of fraud by monitoring their account activity, implementing two-factor authentication, and providing training on how to spot social engineering techniques. They should also look for unusual spikes in traffic that may indicate a breach or attack. For instance, if a business sees a sudden increase in traffic at off-peak times, it could mean that a hacker is trying to gather employee credentials.


Account takeover (ATO) fraud is the primary goal of many hackers, and it can be difficult for businesses to detect. This is because ATO attacks often rely on stolen credentials. Fraudsters use these stolen credentials to access an account and make fraudulent transactions. They can also use the report to steal personal information, sell it on the dark web, and plant ransomware or other malware.

Typically, cybercriminals start with a list of usernames and passwords stolen from data breaches or phishing campaigns. They can also buy credentials on the dark web. They then deploy bots that can quickly try the credentials across e-commerce, travel, retail and social media websites in the hope that some will be valid. Since many users reuse the same credentials for multiple sites, this makes the attack very profitable.

Once the hackers have valid credentials, they can transfer money, make unauthorized payments, or open new accounts like credit cards in the victim’s name. The criminals can also steal sensitive corporate data. This can lead to financial losses and reputational damage for the business.

To protect against account takeover, businesses should implement two-factor authentication and educate employees on creating strong passwords. These passwords should be long and complex, contain both lowercase and uppercase letters, include alphanumeric characters, and avoid using obvious PII like names or dates of birth. They should also change their passwords frequently. In addition, they should implement a comprehensive security solution that stops phishing, man-in-the-browser, and zero-hour exploits.