Account Takeover Prevention

API Security Attack Detection - Account Takeover Prevention, ATO

The Importance of API Protection in Today's Digital Economy

The digital economy is increasingly powered by web, mobile, and API-based applications, making account takeover prevention, protection of APIs from automated attacks, malicious bots, and exploits an indispensable aspect of modern business operations. The API security market is valued at over $4B annually, according to Gartner. Cequence Security adopts a platform-oriented approach, offering customers comprehensive visibility and actionable intelligence to safeguard their public-facing API infrastructure. The Cequence Unified API Protection data solution is a versatile, container-based software platform suitable for deployment in data center, cloud, and hybrid environments.
Account Takeover Prevention, ATO

Account Takeover Threats and Consequences

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.

The Financial Impact of Account Takeover

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.

The Long-Term Effects of Account Takeover Fraud on Businesses

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.

Preventing and Defending Against User Account Takeovers

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.

The Importance of a Robust API Protection Strategy

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.

Fast Facts

$343 Billion

Cumulative losses from online payment fraud between 2023 and 2027


Increase in account takeover attacks targeting login APIs
A customer account takeover can have several long-term negative effects on a business. A customer with a compromised account may lose confidence in the brand, and the business can also suffer reputation damage. The resulting account takeover fraud may also have a direct financial impact, not to mention the costs associated with fixing the vulnerable infrastructure.
User account takeovers can be especially hard for companies to detect and defend against because they often appear to be legitimate login attempts. If threat actors download lists of stolen credentials from third-party sources and use them to compromise user accounts, that is very difficult to spot and stop in time. Those compromised credentials may have been lost in a previous phishing attack, threatening users who reuse passwords.

ATO Cat and Mouse Game

ATO attacks are evolving. Jason Kent, hacker-in-residence at Cequence Security, discusses what new-style cyberattacks look like in the wild.

How Account Takeover Attacks Target APIs and Applications

APIs serve as the foundation for numerous critical web applications, offering developers an efficient, consistent, and effective way to incorporate functionality into their software. However, this also introduces risks, as businesses must consider their API infrastructure as a potential attack surface that requires defense. User account takeovers, a key aspect of account takeover prevention (ATO), represent one such risk that organizations must remain vigilant against.

The Role of Bots in the Threat Landscape

In today’s threat environment, attackers frequently deploy waves of bots to probe for vulnerabilities in login and authentication systems. These bots target web apps, mobile apps, and increasingly, the underlying APIs upon which these applications are built.

Varied Tactics of Threat Actors in ATO Attacks

Threat actors employ diverse strategies when executing account takeover attacks. In some cases, they use brute force, or credential stuffing, launching thousands of login attempts within a short timeframe. Alternatively, they may conduct low-profile campaigns, simulating legitimate-seeming login attempt behavior. If a protection vulnerability exists, such as an outdated and deprecated API with a known flaw, attackers may choose to exploit that weak point.

The Need for Advanced Account Takeover Protection Measures

While all authentication applications warrant protection, the wide range of customer and corporate account takeover attacks demonstrates that basic methods are insufficient. Effective account takeover prevention requires a multi-faceted approach, incorporating advanced security solutions and strategies. By implementing robust ATO prevention measures, organizations can mitigate the risks associated with account takeover attacks and ensure that their API infrastructure remains secure.
Incorporating the concept of “account takeover protection” into an organization’s security strategy involves adopting advanced tools, solutions, and techniques to defend against ATO attacks. By staying vigilant and employing a comprehensive approach to security, businesses can effectively safeguard their APIs and applications from the threat of account takeovers.

What's the Ideal Defense Against Account Takeover Attacks?

Account takeover prevention should be a major focus for IT security teams today. Detecting and protecting against automated threats targeting authentication infrastructure is challenging, but the results of leaving applications or APIs undefended can be devastating. A solution designed to stop account takeover attacks should deliver:

High-efficacy Prevention

Protecting against account takeover and related bot attacks means using a system stocked with useful countermeasures. Policies should reflect the latest threat intelligence, including data on the infrastructure threat actors are using in their automated attacks.

Customizable Policies

While the mitigation policies that come with a security tool should be capable of defending important infrastructure, there should also be room for customization to reflect companies’ own leading themes.

Consistent Protection for Web, Mobile and APIs

Companies that aren’t defending their APIs are leaving themselves vulnerable to major attack types, account takeover among them. Security tools should use no-client-integration methodologies to gain visibility and consistent policies across all apps and APIs.

Simplicity of Use and Implementation

Today, you may achieve protection by redirecting to a Software-as-a-Service rather than a major installation. The software can protect apps smoothly without requiring JavaScript or mobile SDK integration.
To receive this level of digital risk protection against account takeovers and related types of bot-based attacks, your organization needs Cequence API Spartan.

Initiating Account Takeover Defense: A Comprehensive Approach

In today’s digital landscape, defending infrastructure entails safeguarding against a broad range of threat types. With threat actors poised to exploit any vulnerability, the significance of consistent, comprehensive digital risk protection has reached an all-time high. Implementing fraud prevention measures, enhancing cybersecurity, and ensuring effective management of web apps, mobile apps, and API infrastructure are essential steps in securing your organization.

Gaining Visibility for Comprehensive Protection

Your organization must establish visibility into all your web apps, mobile apps, and API infrastructure, including APIs that could otherwise be overlooked, such as shadow APIs or deprecated or zombie APIs. This visibility is crucial for effective management and implementation of fraud prevention strategies and solutions, ensuring that every aspect of your digital infrastructure is secure.

Leveraging Cequence Solutions for Account Takeover Defense

If you’re prepared to tackle account takeover attacks and take the necessary measures to protect your systems, you can explore Cequence’s software solutions, schedule a guided demo, or contact their team for assistance. By employing Cequence’s advanced management tools and techniques, you can bolster your organization’s fraud prevention capabilities and fortify your digital infrastructure against the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats.
Account Takeover Prevention Defense, ATO

Get an Attacker’s View
into Your Organization