Login pages are the most abused gateways on any business website. Account takeover attacks or ATO makes 35% of the bot attacks on critical gateways, and they are getting increasingly frequent and sophisticated.

ATO is at the heart of financial fraud, causing massive losses to end-users who lose funds and hurts online businesses, affecting customer lifetime value, future revenues, and business growth.

So how to protect your business from account takeover? Let's find out. 

What Is Account Takeover

Account takeover (ATO) is a type of bot attack aimed at online identity theft. To be precise, the bot operators' main goal is to steal an online account (e-mail, social media, game, e-commerce, etc.) that can be monetized in various forms.

Most commonly, after bots get access to the account, they consequently get access to payment services and credit cards connected to these accounts and can conduct purchases on behalf of the victim. 

The Purpose of ATO

The main purpose of account takeover fraud is the same as any other bot attack - money. By gaining unauthorized access to user accounts, fraudsters can conduct various forms of illegal schemes and monetize the data.

How ATO Damages Your Business

1. Frequent ATO cases endanger your reputation and customer trust;

2. Chargebacks from unauthorized purchases and customer support costs take a heavy toll on your budget;

3. High risk to the long terms success of the online business, impact on revenues and business growth;


Account Takeover Scenarios

For successful obtaining user account bot operators use the following methods:

1. Credential Cracking - by using means like brute force, wordlist (or dictionary method), guessing attacks bots find out the login credentials of the victim - legitimate user;

2. Phishing - Using social engineering for obtaining credentials through e-mail, social media, or messengers. 

3. Data breaches - hackers gain access to databases of popular websites or APPs to gain a huge list of credentials;

 4. Credential stuffing - bots utilize acquired credentials on various websites to check their usability and access accounts;

Account Takeover Examples

Account takeovers attacks come in various forms; here are some of the most popular types of ATO attacks. 

Corporate Account Takeover 

A corporate account takeover is a form of identity theft when fraudsters obtain credentials to access classified information and assets within the company. 

A company bank account or other important assets are the main goals in this attack. This type of account takeover is highly dangerous for businesses since their financial assets could be stolen.

E-mail Account Takeover

E-mail account takeover refers to stealing e-mail credentials; as a consequence, fraudsters can get access to every other website you have registered using your e-mail. 

You can check if your e-mail has been stolen here.

Game Account Takeover

Game account takeovers are widespread attacks in the gaming industry. Hackers steal game accounts to access game assets inside the account, such as game currencies or loyalty points and payment options connected to it (payment platforms, credit cards, etc.).

E-commerce Platforms Account Takeover

E-commerce account takeovers lead to unauthorized purchases using these accounts and, accordingly, the payment methods connected to the accounts.

Streaming Platforms Account Takeover

Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, and others have become increasingly popular, especially in the period of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Consequently, account takeover attacks targeting streaming platforms have increased dynamically. 

Social Network Account Takeover

Social network accounts hacking, followed by fraud, are not news. These types of attacks are as old as social networks are and cause reputation loss and a lot of discontent among users. 

Fraudsters use the accounts for spamming, money scams, and other activities depending on their goals. 

How to Avoid Account Takeover

To avoid account takeover attacks on your business, you need to set the following precautions:

1.Set up a 2-factor or multi-factor authentication: e-mail code, SMS code, or a confirmation link;

2.Set up an advanced CAPTCHA on login and other sensitive gateways to detect bots;

3.Limit user actions inside an account until the user logs in from a trusted device;

How to Detect Account Takeover

Discovering account takeover attacks is an extremely complicated and sophisticated process. It is almost impossible to achieve due to human-powered sweatshops aimed at achieving specific tasks.


 Distributed bot attacks with only a few requests from each IP make it extremely hard to detect or block as well.

Apart from that, even if an account is stolen, users may not notice it at once since bot operators might lie dormant until they spot an opportunity for a big profit using the account. 

Here are the main signs of account takeover:

  • Frequently failed logins and lockouts;

  • Unexplained traffic spikes on the login pageI;

  • Increased customer complaints on unauthorized access;

  • Increased purchase chargebacks due to unauthorized purchases;

How to Prevent Account Takeover

Account takeover protection is vital for any online business with sensitive login and registration. Here are X suggestions for averting account takeover attacks: 

Blocking old browser versions 

Most bota attack facilitators prefer older versions of browsers because of their vulnerabilities and flaws that appeal to fraudsters' needs. Therefore it is necessary to block these versions. 

Reinforcing popular bad bot gateways

Finding out the holes in your web design that allows bots to invade your website is crucial for your business's safety. So is protecting those secret paths to prevent future bot invasions. 

Traffic source assessment

Observation of traffic sources, session length, and bounce rate from sources facilitates detecting automated traffic and consequently preventing it. 

Failed entries monitoring 

A high number of failed logins, gift cards, or credit card credential inputs with short periods point out automated login attempts and usually mean ATO attack attempts.  

Full-stack bot management solutions

Bot management solutions allow you to detect and mitigate bots at all the website entries. However, this solution is quite pricy. 


2-factor authentication is a good solution since it adds another layer of verification except for login credentials, such as SMS code, e-mail code, or a fingerprint for a mobile application. 

However, the e-mail code option may not work if the ATO attack compromises the e-mail, and you haven't set up back up mail. 

Advanced CAPTCHA 

Advanced AI-based CAPTCHA is one of the strongest fighters against account takeover attacks since its behavioral analysis, environmental analysis, and the least user friction provides the most effective solution against bot attacks. 


ATO is the most widespread bot attack that causes a lot of trouble for account owners and businesses. Protecting your website or application from ATO is vital for all online businesses.


If you want your business to have an untainted reputation, steady growth, and increasing LTV and turnover, a proven solution to protect your customers from ATO attacks is imperative. 

Each minute you hesitate, an account on your website could get stolen again, and you are putting your business at great risk.

Bad bots make 98.3% of requests on critical gateways. And they are not there to hang out. Don't hesitate and protect your business from malicious bot attacks right now. 

For a solution beyond bot prevention and ensures business priorities such as customer experience and conversion rates stay positive, take a look at the world's leading solution with 290,000 domains under its Global Security Network - GEETEST

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