Account takeover (ATO) is a modern threat that most business owners need to take into account because it can cause serious financial implications. Think about the accounts that you have with banks, email address providers, social media websites and practically anything you log into online. Every single one of those accounts can become compromised. Then, the accounts can be utilized to commit fraud under your name.

big data law enforcementAccount Takeover Defined

Account takeover happens as someone gains control of a person’s online or offline account. This normally happens by learning passwords or other sensitive information. As a result, the third party gains access to the account, together with the information stored in it.

The big problem with ATO is that fraudsters can assume the identity of the regular account owner and make changes, transactions or even talk to others. As an example, once access to a bank account is gained, the person can start making unauthorized transactions or the information inside that account can be used to verify identity and break another account.

What Can Fraudsters Do After Hijacking An Account?

Account takeover protection is needed for all modern businesses because once the fraudster takes control of accounts, huge damage can be done. Corporate account takeover is even more important due to the potential access to the data of an entire corporation.

The most obvious example of damage that can happen refers to the bank account. After access to the account is gained, the hacker can start making purchases or transferring money into another bank account. Also, it is possible that personal information will be used to take out credit or loans under the name of the rightful account owner. Account communications, like bank statements, can be re-routed to another postal or email address so it is hard to figure out that a fraud happens.

How Does A Fraudster Gain Access To The Account?

The simplest method used to take control of an account is to obtain the password. Also, it is possible to target addresses, names, common security question answers (like mother maiden name) and telephone numbers in order to reset passwords.

In most cases the target is an online bank account and the method used to gain access is malware or phishing. However, any account that you log into can be targeted. This is why businesses need to be protected.

Why Protect Businesses?

protect businessAccount takeover protection is absolutely mandatory for the modern business because when someone gains access to an account related to the company, huge damage can be done. Data can become public and we all know how bad data leaks can be for the reputation of a brand.

One of the huge problems associated with ATO attacks is having client data compromised. In this situation the client can easily sue the business. When the company has ATO protection in place, even if a fraudster gain access to an employee account, access is not gained to sensitive company or client data. Do not make the mistake of thinking that regular computer protection software like antivirus programs or firewalls help. You need a more specialist ATO protection system in place.