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

How virtual desktop infrastructure enables digital transformation

Challenges and benefits of VDI

Free download

The Okta digital trust index

Exploring the human edge of trust

Free download

Optimising workload placement in your hybrid cloud

Deliver increased IT agility with the cloud

Free Download

Modernise endpoint protection and leave your legacy challenges behind

The risk of keeping your legacy endpoint security tools

Download now

Recommended

Russia's "politically motivated" REvil raid could be used as leverage, experts warn
ransomware

Russia's "politically motivated" REvil raid could be used as leverage, experts warn

17 Jan 2022
Meta files lawsuit to uncover hackers targeting Facebook, WhatsApp
phishing

Meta files lawsuit to uncover hackers targeting Facebook, WhatsApp

21 Dec 2021
Five things to consider before choosing an MFA solution
Security

Five things to consider before choosing an MFA solution

17 Dec 2021
Australia and US sign CLOUD Act data-sharing deal to support criminal investigations
cyber crime

Australia and US sign CLOUD Act data-sharing deal to support criminal investigations

16 Dec 2021

Most Popular

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode
Microsoft Windows

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

6 Jan 2022
Sony pulls out of MWC 2022
Business operations

Sony pulls out of MWC 2022

14 Jan 2022
Dell XPS 15 (2021) review: The best just got better
Laptops

Dell XPS 15 (2021) review: The best just got better

14 Jan 2022