Are Your Customers Safe from Account Takeovers?

Criminals love customer credentials. It’s driving a surge in account takeover (ATO) attacks, in which hackers exploit stolen usernames and passwords to infiltrate user accounts and steal valuable data. So what can businesses do to mitigate this threat, and protect their customers, finances and reputation?

In this episode of Okta and Computer Weekly’s Identity Made Easy podcast series, we explore the rise of ATO attacks, the challenges they present to IT and security teams, and why modern identity is the most effective way to prevent them. Here are some of the key highlights.

Identity Made Easy

What is an ATO attack?

Account Takeover (ATO) is a type of attack cybercriminals use to take ownership of online accounts after harnessing their credentials through phishing, password spraying, or other types of brute force hacking techniques. Once inside, criminals can make unauthorised purchases via stored credit cards, steal loyalty credits, or sell their victims’ details on to other fraudsters via the dark web. 

Why do most organisations struggle to mitigate ATO threats?

Alongside a rapid rise in remote and hybrid working that’s pushed organisations beyond the traditional security perimeter, the ongoing proliferation of apps, devices, and networks makes detecting ATO attacks more difficult than ever before. It’s this poor network visibility, combined with an over reliance on traditional username and password verification that caused ATO attacks to rise by 307% between 2019 and 2021. And sources predict the numbers will continue to increase throughout 2022 and beyond.

How does an identity-first approach to security help?

ATO attacks are a serious problem for every organisation – especially when it comes to maintaining brand reputation and delivering the secure customer experiences that drive loyalty and trust. For this reason, many forward-thinking organisations now turn to modern cloud identity platforms like Okta to:

Validate every login attempt with strong MFA

Weak or stolen credentials are the bread and butter for any ATO fraudster. While organisations often have little control over the types of usernames and passwords their employees choose, they can leverage strong Multi-factor Authentication to securely verify every login attempt and ensure the person trying to access the account is who they say they are. 

Automatically block suspicious login attempts

As well as adding a stronger layer of account verification, adaptive MFA can leverage powerful analytics to automatically assess the validity of each login attempt. If the person is attempting the login is using an unfamiliar or suspicious device, network, or IP address, the login attempt will be automatically blocked to prevent the attacker from proceeding unless further verification is provided.

Centralise access control for every account

Managing access control across complex hybrid IT environments can significantly increase the risk of data breaches. By giving IT teams one place to view, manage, and secure access for every user across every IT system, whether they are internal employees or external partners, cloud identity can improve the visibility and control of IT and Security teams, allowing them to quickly detect and address suspicious behaviours in real-time.

Eliminate the risk of human error with hyper automation

With research showing that 88% of all data breaches are caused by an employee mistake, eliminating the risk of human error is a critical step towards preventing an ATO attack. By automating account provisioning processes with modern identity, organisations can ensure only the right people get the right access to the tools and apps they need.

Enable password less authentication

All ATO attacks rely on stolen or weak credentials to infiltrate their victims’ accounts. By eliminating the need for usernames and passwords and replacing them with one secure single or zero touch login across every account, identity proactively stops ATO attacks at their source while creating a more seamless and simpler login experience for every customer.

Why should your organisation trust in Okta?

Every day, Okta helps more than 15,000 organisations across the globe secure their customer accounts against ATO attacks and other cyber threats with identity. As well as streamlining every login experience with our elite suite of world-class identity products, we help pave the way towards a strong Zero Trust architecture that protects your organisation in both the present and the future.

To understand how an identity-first approach can help deliver the delightful, secure digital experiences that keep your customers coming back, watch the Identity Made Easy with account takeover protection podcast in full or download Your account takeover prevention checklist: 5 steps to minimise the risk eBook.