An account takeover is a type of phishing scam where an attacker either intercepts an account password or tricks the user into sharing their password with them. This could be anything from your bank card details to your social media logins.
An account takeover can also occur when someone hijacks your account by posting on your behalf without your permission and using your username.
An example would be if someone manages to hack into your email address and gets a hold of all the passwords you use for other websites, they could then use those passwords to log into accounts they do not have access to. This can lead to identity theft or leaking personal information online like all your personal phone contacts.
It has become critical for businesses to safeguard their accounts with account takeover protection as it becomes more common.
Account takeover protection tips
To prevent a potential account takeover, businesses and individuals should have two-factor authentication enabled and use 2FA methods that are easy to use and convenient.
They should also monitor their accounts for suspicious activity, such as login attempts from countries outside their home country, sudden spikes in traffic, etc.
Some signs that your business has been attacked are if you find strange emails from your personal email address that you did not send, or messages from your friends and family asking for money they claim they need for an emergency.
If you believe that your business has been targeted by an account takeover, contact the company's IT department and change your password immediately.
Before you share personal information online, it is important to think about how much your personal information is worth. You should also take care to choose the right platforms that can protect you.
Private information like your phone number, home address, and social security number should not be shown publicly on Social Media or platforms like LinkedIn.
The most common form of personal information shared online is your Social Security number. It can be used by hackers and other criminals to get your bank account and debit card numbers, credit card numbers, and even access your online banking accounts. Your SSN can also be used by identity thieves to apply for credit cards in your name, make fraudulent purchases, or even steal your identity.
It’s best to limit the amount of personal information you share online as much as possible so that nobody other than the intended recipient has access to it. But this is doubly so when it comes to your SSN.
Companies and individuals must take steps to secure their accounts by implementing appropriate security steps such as two-factor authentication, the use of the most updated browser, and password managers.
If you do not have strong authentication on your password, there’s a possibility of hackers stealing your login credentials with ease. This is why it's so important that you create complex passwords and change them up regularly for all your accounts.
What are common actions to take if your account was hacked?
1) If your card gets compromised, contact your bank to cancel it.
A common method of identity theft is stealing a person's bank card number online and using their card and information at a retail store. They may also use the stolen bank card number online or call the customer service line with the stolen bank card number and ask for new funds to be transferred into their account.
2) If your Social Media, Google, Netflix, etc was hacked – each site should have a page you can contact for help.
For example, Facebook’s is here
Google can be reached here
And Netflix’s is here
All reputable companies like the above are well versed in account takeover protection in 2021 and will help get you back on track.
3) If the account takeover is serious or escalates, the Federal Trade Commission offers an excellent advice site with full details on how you can get your identity back.
4) Change passwords on any other important services like Paypal
What is email account takeover?
In the email account takeover scam, the attacker either tricks you into disclosing your password or simply steals it from you. They then log into your email account and monitor it for any signs that you're going to report them.
As soon as a scammer has access to your account, they can send spam, change settings, or even wipe out all of your data.
An email account takeover scam is an elaborate scheme in which someone attempts to steal sensitive information from victims by pretending to be their online accounts.
The perpetrator may first pose as a legitimate company, convincing the victim to provide credentials in order to gain access. Alternatively, scammers could trick their victims into disclosing passwords through social engineering techniques such as phishing emails.
Once obtained, these credentials can allow the perpetrator limitless access to personal data and passwords.
To recap, you should look out for the common methods of account takeover.
- Phishing: A phishing website is a fake website that imitates a legitimate one and attempts to steal your personal information. This method is commonly used for account takeover and is mostly successful since people are too busy and distracted to notice the differences.
- Social engineering: This method utilizes social engineering by tricking an individual into giving up their login details or other information through email, social media messages, phone calls etc.
- Impersonation: An impersonator attempts to take over an existing account by deception, like pretending to be someone else who has already signed up for the company's app or site.
- Ensure that you use two-factor authentication whenever available;
- Keep a close eye on your account for suspicious activity;
- Don't sign up with a bank or make an online purchase without verifying the URL.
Preventing account takeover is highly recommended because it can cause data breaches and significant loss of income.
To prevent any future attacks and to ensure account takeover protection, it's best to use the tips we shared with you above and keep the hackers at bay.