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How do Account-Takeover-Attacks work?

Last updated on August 30, 2023

How do Account-Takeover-Attacks work?

In the modern, connected world where online accounts have become commonplace, there is an unseen danger that threatens our digital identity: account takeover attacks (ATO attacks). These sophisticated attacks can cause serious damage, from financial loss to exposure of confidential information. In this article, we explain how these attacks work and why it's so important to protect against them.

The process of an account takeover attack

Account takeover attacks are often elaborate and well thought-out attacks. They usually proceed as follows:

  1. Acquisition of credentials: Attackers use various techniques such as phishing, brute force attacks, or buying stolen credentials from data leaks to obtain users' credentials.

  2. Account Credential Verification: Once the attackers get hold of credentials, they test them on various platforms to see if they can access other accounts that use the same credentials.

  3. Unauthorized Access: Upon successful verification, the attackers gain access to the account. They can assume the identity of the legitimate user and thus access personal information, financial data and other sensitive data.

  4. Abuse of the account: The attackers can use the taken over account for various malicious activities, such as money transfers, fraudulent purchases or spam distribution.

Why they are so dangerous

ATO attacks are particularly dangerous because they often go unnoticed. The attackers work covertly and mimic the behavior of the legitimate user. This makes it difficult to detect such attacks until the damage has already been done. The effects can be devastating, from financial losses to compromising the victim's reputation.

Protective measures against them

Given the seriousness of ATO attacks, it is imperative to proactively take protective measures.

  1. Strong, unique passwords: Use a strong and unique password for each account. A password manager can help keep track of this.

  2. Two-factor authentication (2FA): Enable 2FA wherever possible. This extra layer of security makes it much more difficult for attackers, even if they have credentials.

  3. Monitor accounts: Keep a regular lookout for suspicious activity in your online accounts and respond immediately to anomalies.

  4. Security Awareness: Be wary of suspicious emails or messages that try to grab credentials.

  5. Captcha: Captcha tests on online platforms ask users to complete a specific task that is easy for humans but difficult for bots. This ensures that real humans interact while bots are blocked.

Account takeover attacks are a pervasive threat that can affect anyone. Protect your digital identity by being aware of your credentials and taking extra security measures.

The role of CaptchaFox in protecting against account takeover attacks

CaptchaFox provides a smart and effective way to distinguish human users from malicious bots. Integrating CaptchaFox into online platforms significantly improves the security posture.

These are the features that make CaptchaFox stand out:

  • European hosting: CaptchaFox is hosted on European servers, which makes it compliant with the region's strict data protection regulations and ensures the protection of personal data.

  • No data storage and cookies: In compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), CaptchaFox does not store any personal information of users and does not use cookies.

  • Intelligent bot detection: By analyzing a variety of data points, proof-of-work and user-friendly challenges, CaptchaFox quickly verifies the legitimacy of the user.

CaptchaFox thus provides a reliable line of defense against account takeover attacks. Intelligent bot detection greatly limits the ability of bots to guess credentials on a large scale. This is crucial, as account takeover attacks rely predominantly on automated processes.

To learn more about CaptchaFox contact us for a demo or read the documentation.

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