IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Account takeovers rise nearly threefold during pandemic

Financial services hit hardest by account hijackers, says Sift report

Account takeover fraud has soared during the pandemic, according to a report released today by anti-fraud company Sift. 

Sift’s Q3 2021 Digital Trust & Safety Index claims account takeovers increased threefold between Q2 2019 and Q2 2021. It now represents 39% of all fraud the company blocks. 

Most of this increase happened during the pandemic, with attacks rising approximately 2.8 times in the past year alone. The rise is ongoing, the report said, having failed to revert to pre-pandemic levels. 

Financial services were the hardest hit, with account takeovers increasing 850% between Q2 2020 and Q2 2021. However, most of these attacks focused on cryptocurrency wallets and accounts, which are a well-known target for scammers

Criminals don't always do anything immediately obvious to stolen accounts, such as changing passwords. Instead, they test the account credentials on other services — an attack known as credential stuffing — to see if they can access the victim's other accounts too. 

Hackers will also mine the accounts for credit card information, personal information, and password hints. This is perhaps why there are so many repeat victims, as half of them have had accounts hijacked multiple times. 

Related Resource

Transforming specialty retail with AI

Future proof your retail business with AI

Whitepaper front coverFree Download

Sift found that thieves stole money directly from 45% of victims, and 42% of account takeovers resulted in unauthorized purchases with a stored credit card. A quarter of victims lost loyalty and rewards points, and one in five were unsure of the total impact of the account takeover attack. 

Automation is becoming a bigger factor in account takeover fraud, Sift warned. Attackers use bots to attempt credential stuffing attacks using large lists of login credentials purchased on the dark web. 

They often use lists of servers that attempt to log in from different IP addresses to make their activities less suspicious. Sift correlates the addresses and servers to form clusters of known bad addresses. The number of IP addresses in the largest known IP cluster grew 50-fold between Q1 and Q2 2021, thanks to an automated account takeover fraud group called Proxy Phantom. 

Featured Resources

2023 Strategic roadmap for data security platform convergence

Capitalise on your data and share it securely using consolidated platforms

Free Download

The 3D trends report

Presenting one of the most exciting frontiers in visual culture

Free Download

The Total Economic Impact™ of IBM Cloud Pak® for Watson AIOps with Instana

Cost savings and business benefits

Free Download

Leverage automated APM to accelerate CI/CD and boost application performance

Constant change to meet fast-evolving application functionality

Free Download

Recommended

Cyber resiliency and end-user performance
Whitepaper

Cyber resiliency and end-user performance

8 Feb 2023
Automation: The key to optimised server management
Whitepaper

Automation: The key to optimised server management

8 Feb 2023
PowerEdge - Cyber resilient infrastructure for a Zero Trust world
Whitepaper

PowerEdge - Cyber resilient infrastructure for a Zero Trust world

8 Feb 2023
Digital transformation & risk for dummies
Whitepaper

Digital transformation & risk for dummies

7 Feb 2023

Most Popular

Warning issued over ransomware attacks targeting VMware ESXi servers globally
cyber attacks

Warning issued over ransomware attacks targeting VMware ESXi servers globally

6 Feb 2023
ION Trading reportedly pays LockBit ransom demands
ransomware

ION Trading reportedly pays LockBit ransom demands

6 Feb 2023
Tips for Boosting your Organisation’s Security Posture with Encryption
Sponsored

Tips for Boosting your Organisation’s Security Posture with Encryption

6 Feb 2023