Corporate account takeover: How not to become a victim 101

Author: Selina, Product Marketing Specialist, Zoho Corp.

Account takeover is an attack where cybercriminals take ownership of user accounts using stolen credentials. It is essentially an identity theft fraud where the hacker, who now has full control over the user’s account, performs malicious activities posing as the real user. These malicious activities might include sending out phishing emails or messages, stealing and misusing sensitive financial or personal information, or using stolen information to takeover more user accounts.

Financial institutions, with their overflow of PII, were once common targets for identity theft fraudsters. Today, all organisations that have user-facing logins are equally at risk.

How and why do account takeovers happen?

Some common strategies that threat actors use to steal users’ credentials and take over their accounts include:

  • Phishing or other social engineering attacks
  • Brute-force attacks that include credential stuffing, credential cracking, or dictionary attacks
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks
  • Login credential theft through data breaches, viruses, or malware
  • Botnet attacks

Learn more about why passwords are here to stay.

Cybercriminals are on the lookout for security vulnerabilities to exploit. The majority of vulnerabilities arise due to the ignorance of users. Daily Mail’s blog on popular passwords states that users often create obvious passwords, like “123456”, “qwerty”, and “password” that might be easy for them to remember, but are also easier for hackers to crack. Many users also rarely change their passwords, and often reuse the same login credentials for multiple websites and identities.

The illegal sale of verified credentials is an alarming and massive business on the dark web. Hackers make a profit either by selling credentials stolen through data breaches, or by taking over accounts using those stolen credentials. Statistics from ProPrivacy indicate that credit card details with an account balance of up to $5,000 cost only $120 on the dark web, and that a hacked Gmail account sells for about $65.

How do account takeovers impact organisational cybersecurity?

The havoc that attackers cause through account takeovers is limitless. Damage to an individual can result from goods purchased with stolen credit card details, or illicit loans taken out in the consumer’s name. Large-scale damage to corporations can result from sensitive data records stolen in bulk, phishing emails sent from admin accounts, and critical systems taken down by deploying malicious bots or ransomware. Beyond IT infrastructure compromises and financial damage, cyberattacks harm an organisation’s reputation and injure overall operations. Recovery from an attack can be challenging.

Accounts that are not protected with MFA normally have a higher chance of being taken over. It is wise to deploy additional security in your organisation instead of having passwords as your only line of defence.

Shield identities from thefts with adaptive MFA using ADSelfService Plus

ManageEngine ADSelfService Plus is an identity security and Zero Trust solution that helps your organisation enforce adaptive MFA, custom password policies, self-service password management, and more.

ADSelfService Plus offers context-based MFA with 19 different authentication factors to secure user identities. You can customize MFA to protect privileged accounts in your organisation with more sophisticated authentication flows. Using the self-service password reset feature, users can easily reset their own passwords, eliminating help desk dependency and unsafe credential transfer between parties. ADSelfService Plus’ Password Policy Enforcer allows you to enforce custom password requirements, like mandating the number of special characters, restricting consecutive characters from usernames or previous passwords, and restricting custom dictionary words and patterns.

Corporate account takeover: How not to become a victim 101 1Test drive ADSelfService Plus for yourself! Schedule a free, personalised web demo to receive valuable ADSelfService Plus’ identity security insights today!

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