Once threat actors and fraudsters gain control over a compromised application, account or multiple accounts, they can commit fraud using customers’ payment details, gift cards, or by exploiting multiple accounts to buy and resell high-demand merchandise. APIs are increasingly targeted by those seeking to launch account takeover (ATO) attacks, as they underpin critical web applications for essential functions such as account login and registration. As a result, developing an API protection strategy to protect against account takeover has become crucial.
Juniper Research estimates that online payment fraud will result in cumulative losses of $343 billion between 2023 and 2027, with account takeover attacks being one of the major contributors. These attacks have become industrialized in recent years, evolving into an “Account Takeover 2.0” model. Cequence Security’s analysis of 21 billion API transactions during the second half of 2021 revealed a 62% increase in account takeover attacks targeting login APIs compared to the previous survey, alongside a 92% increase in API-based logins and registration transactions.
Customer account takeovers can lead to a range of negative consequences for businesses. A compromised account can erode customer confidence in the brand and inflict reputational damage. The resulting account takeover fraud may also cause direct financial losses, in addition to the costs associated with repairing the vulnerable infrastructure.
User account takeovers pose a significant challenge for companies to identify and defend against, as they often resemble legitimate login attempts. Threat actors may obtain stolen credentials from third-party sources and use them to compromise user accounts, making detection and prevention extremely difficult. These compromised credentials might have been leaked in previous phishing attacks, placing users who reuse passwords at risk.
Given the growing prevalence of account takeover attacks and the critical role APIs play in modern web applications, implementing a robust API protection strategy is essential. By partnering with companies like Cequence Security, organizations can leverage cutting-edge solutions like the Unified API Protection platform to secure their API infrastructure in data center, cloud, and hybrid environments.
Safeguarding against account takeover attacks is a top priority for businesses in the digital economy. A comprehensive API protection strategy, supported by advanced security solutions, can help mitigate the risks associated with account takeover fraud and protect both customers and businesses from the financial and reputational damages that can result from compromised accounts.