Account Takeover Prevention

Attack Detection
Today’s digital economy is driven web, mobile, and API-based applications. Now, more than ever before, protecting APIs from automated attacks, malicious bots, and exploits is a business-critical requirement with no room for compromise. Gartner estimates the API security market to be worth more than $4B annually.
Cequence Security takes an innovative, platform-oriented approach that provides customers with complete visibility and actionable intelligence to protect their modern, public-facing API infrastructure. The Cequence Unified API Protection solution is an open, distributed, container-based software platform that can be deployed in data center, cloud, and hybrid environments.
Once they have control of a compromised account or multiple accounts, threat actors are able to commit fraud. These individuals may be using customers’ payment details or gift cards, or even harnessing their multiple accounts to buy and resell in-demand merchandise en masse.
When they seek to launch an account takeover attack, threat actors often target parts of a company’s technology infrastructure. Today, that increasingly means APIs. With APIs serving as the development bedrock of numerous important web applications for critical functions like account login and registration, creating an API protection strategy has become more important than ever.

What's the Risk of Account Takeover?

Juniper Research predicts that cumulative losses from online payment fraud will be $343 billion between 2023 and 2027. The Juniper report noted that account takeover attacks are among the threat types causing this massive financial damage. In fact, researchers explained that account takeover attacks have become industrialized over the past year-plus, and are evolving to become a so-called “Account Takeover 2.0.”
Cequence’s own research on 21 billion API transactions during the second half of 2021 found that account takeover attacks targeting login APIs rose by 62% compared to the previous survey. That rise comes alongside the increasing use of API-based logins — log-in and registration transactions handled by APIs rose by 92% over the same period, to over 850 million.

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 Do Account Takeover Attacks Target APIs and Applications?

APIs are the backbone of many vital web applications. This is a boon to developers, who gain a quick, consistent and effective way to build functionality into their software. It can also introduce risks, however, as companies have to treat their API infrastructure as a potential attack surface that must be defended. User account takeovers are one such risk that businesses must stay on guard for.
In the current threat landscape, attackers commonly use waves of bots to search for vulnerabilities in login and authentication systems. They’re sending this bot traffic against web apps, mobile apps and increasingly, the underlying APIs these applications are built on.
Threat actors have learned to vary their tactics when launching account takeover attacks. Sometimes, they use brute force, with thousands of login attempts in a short period of time. Then again, they may operate low-profile campaigns that involve legitimate-seeming login attempt behavior. If there is a vulnerability such as an outdated and deprecated API with a known flaw, attackers may prefer to strike that weak point.
All authentication applications are worthy of protection but, as the variety of customer and corporate account takeover attacks demonstrates, basic methods won’t suffice.

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 Bot Defense.

How Do You Get Started with Account Takeover Defense?

Defending infrastructure today means protecting everything against a wide variety of threat types. Wherever there is a weakness, threat actors will strike, so the importance of consistent, blanket digital risk protection has never been higher.
Your organization needs to establish visibility into all its web apps, mobile apps and API infrastructure, including APIs that may otherwise go unnoticed, such as shadow APIs or deprecated APIs.
If you’re ready to stop account takeover attacks and take the necessary steps to protect your systems, you can try Cequence’s solutions, schedule a guided demo or contact us.

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