Have you ever received an email or notification about a login attempt on one of your accounts, but you never attempted it? This indicates account takeover, a common and growing threat in today’s digital landscape.
Account takeover is an identity theft where cybercriminals gain unauthorized access to your accounts, steal your personal information, or use your account for fraud. And since the impact of social media influencers is quite high on the general public, such incidents can negatively impact businesses and the economy.
The consequences of an account takeover can be severe, ranging from financial loss to reputational damage. Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to avoid account takeover as cybercriminals use more sophisticated methods to access accounts. A recent study found that 80% of businesses experienced at least one cyber attack.
As a content creator, protecting yourself from account takeover is crucial. Your online presence and reputation are vital to your success, and a security breach could result in a loss of followers, revenue, and trust from your audience.
But don’t worry; you can take steps to protect yourself from account takeover. This article will discuss what account takeover is, its methods, consequences, and statistics. We will also outline practical steps to protect yourself and additional measures that content creators can take to safeguard their online presence.
Understanding Account Takeover
Account takeover is a growing problem; cybercriminals use various methods to gain unauthorized access to your accounts. Here are some of the most common methods used for account takeover:
Types of Account Takeovers
- Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks are one of the most common methods used by hackers to obtain login credentials. Phishing attacks usually come in the form of an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or an online retailer. The email usually contains a link to a fake website that looks like the real thing. When the user enters their login credentials on the fake website, the information is sent to the hacker, who can access the user’s account.
- Social engineering:
Social engineering is when cybercriminals use psychological manipulation to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information, including login credentials. They may pose as customer service representatives, tech support, friends, or colleagues to gain your trust and extract sensitive information.
- Password reuse
Many individuals use the same password across multiple accounts, making it easier for cybercriminals to access several accounts if they can obtain your password for just one account.
- Brute-force attacks
Brute force attacks are another method used by hackers to obtain login credentials. Brute force attacks involve guessing a user’s password by trying different combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols. These attacks are typically carried out using automated software that can try thousands of password combinations in a short amount of time.
Malware is software that can infect your device and record your keystrokes, allowing cybercriminals to obtain your login credentials. Malware can be disguised as legitimate software or downloaded unknowingly when visiting malicious websites.
Understanding a case
According to the Digital Trust & Safety Index published by Sift, there has been a staggering 131% increase in account takeover (ATO) attacks in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. Cybercriminals have become increasingly sophisticated in their methods of gaining unauthorized access to online accounts, with a particular focus on the cryptocurrency market which has seen a 79% increase in ATO attack rates due to market volatility.
Sift’s researchers have also discovered a new scam on Telegram which involves fraudsters collaborating and using hijacked bank accounts to launder illegally obtained funds from crypto wallets. This highlights the growing trend of fraudsters working together to execute ATOs, leading to consumer losses, business impacts and damage to brand reputation.
To combat ATO attacks, businesses need to implement advanced defense mechanisms such as machine learning systems that can analyze vast amounts of data to detect and prevent suspicious activities before accounts are compromised. It is critical for businesses to protect against ATO attacks in order to maintain consumer trust and prevent financial losses.
With the increasing number of ATO cases, it is important for everyone to remain vigilant and proactive about their account security. For content creators, an account takeover can have a significant impact on their reputation and income. A single inappropriate post or message from a hacked account can negatively affect both the creator and the brands they collaborate with. This is why having creator insurance is vital to protect against the impact of ATO attacks.
But even if you have Insurance for digital creators, the major question is how to identify if you are a victim of account takeover.
How To Detect Account Takeover?
Account takeover occurs when a hacker gains unauthorized access to an individual’s account, allowing them to take control of it, change the password, and lock the account owner out. This type of fraud can lead to identity theft, financial loss, and reputation damage. Therefore, creators must know the signs of account takeover and how to detect them.
1] Signs of Account Takeover
One of the most common signs of account takeover is receiving notifications for unfamiliar account activity, such as login attempts or password resets. If you start receiving emails or SMS alerts from your service providers about these activities, you should take them seriously and investigate further. Another sign is noticing changes to your account information, such as an unfamiliar email address, a different password, or altered security settings.
2] Check for Suspicious Activity
To detect account takeover, you should regularly review your account activity on all your devices. Many service providers offer an activity log or account history that shows when and where your account was accessed, what changes were made, and what actions were taken. You can also check your sent folder for any emails or messages you didn’t send. Furthermore, monitor your bank and credit card statements regularly to detect fraudulent transactions.
What to Do if Your Account is Compromised?
If you suspect that your account has been compromised, there are some crucial steps that you should take to safeguard your account and data.
Steps to take if you suspect account takeover:
- Change your password immediately
- Enable two-factor authentication
- Check for any suspicious activity
- Contact the service provider and report the incident
How to Protect Yourself as a Creator?
Regularly monitoring accounts is essential to detect account takeover as early as possible. The longer an account remains compromised, the more damage a hacker can do. By reviewing your account activity regularly, you can quickly spot suspicious activity and take action to protect yourself.
As a content creator, a few ways to protect your account are as follows:
1] Use Strong, Unique Passwords and Enable Two-Factor Authentication
The first step in protecting yourself from account takeover is to use strong, unique passwords and enable two-factor authentication (2FA). A strong password should contain a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols and not be easy to guess. Enabling 2FA adds an extra layer of protection by requiring a verification code and your password.
2] Regularly Update Passwords and Security Settings
It’s crucial to regularly update your passwords and security settings. Doing so ensures that your accounts are secure and less susceptible to attacks. Updating your passwords should be done every few months, and security settings should be checked and updated regularly.
3] Be Cautious of Suspicious Emails, Links, and Downloads
Creators should also be cautious of suspicious emails, links, and downloads. Cybercriminals often use phishing scams to gain access to accounts. Be wary of any email that requests personal information or urges you to click on a link or download an attachment. If in doubt, contact the sender to confirm the email’s legitimacy.
4] Monitor and Control Access to Your Accounts
It’s essential to monitor and control access to your accounts. Avoid using public Wi-Fi or shared computers to access your accounts. Be sure to log out of your accounts when using a shared device. Additionally, limit access to your accounts by not sharing your login credentials with anyone.
5] Use Security Tools and Services to Enhance Protection
There are several security tools and services available that can help enhance protection. For example, password managers can help generate and store complex passwords. Additionally, some tools can scan the dark web for compromised credentials and alert you if any of your accounts have been compromised.
How to Recover Your Account?
Recovering a compromised account can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, but it’s essential to act quickly to minimize the damage. Here are some tips to help you recover your account:
- Reset your password: First, you should change your password. Ensure it’s a strong and unique password you haven’t used before. You can also enable two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security.
- Check and update your security settings: Review and update them as necessary. Ensure your email address and phone number are current to receive alerts and notifications in case of any suspicious activity.
- Monitor your account regularly: After recovering it, it’s crucial to monitor it for any signs of unusual activity. Check your account history and review any recent changes that you didn’t make. If you notice anything suspicious, report it immediately.
Remember, the key to recovering a compromised account is to act quickly and follow the necessary steps. With the right precautions and attention, you can regain control of your account and protect your personal information from further damage.
Protecting your online accounts as a creator is crucial for maintaining the integrity of your work and ensuring your personal information stays secure. By taking preventative measures such as using strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and regularly monitoring your accounts, you can reduce the risk of an account takeover. Additionally, if your account is compromised, it is important to act quickly and follow the necessary steps to recover it. Additionally as a strong risk management strategy buy a creator protection plan from Welance, which offers the best creator insurance to safeguard your business and intellectual property.