Account Takeover or Identity Theft: Different Faces of Cybercrime
Let's learn about the different faces of cybercrime: Account takeover and identity theft. Gain insights into these threats and safeguard your digital presence.
by Rista Fathika
July 26, 2023
Cybercrime refers to criminal activities carried out in the digital realm using computers, networks, or the internet. Account takeover vs identity theft is some of a wide range of illegal activities conducted by individuals, organized groups, or nation-states with malicious intent.
Some common forms of cybercrime include identity theft, phishing, online fraud, hacking, malware attacks, and many more. Therefore, cybercrime poses severe risks to its victims. Whether individuals or organizations.
Understanding Account Takeover and Identity Theft
Both identity theft and account takeover are some examples of cybercrimes. Both have severe consequences for individuals and organizations. Therefore, people must be vigilant, and proactive, and take necessary precautions to minimize the risk.
By practicing good cybersecurity habits and staying informed about emerging threats, individuals can better protect their personal information and reduce the likelihood of falling victim to account takeover identity theft.
1. Account Takeover
Account takeover fraud or ATO fraud refers to a form of cyber-attack where an unauthorized individual or entity gains unauthorized access to a user's online account. Typically, through the compromise of login credentials or exploiting security vulnerabilities.
Account takeover theft means commonly used credential theft and unauthorized access. Financially, victims may suffer from unauthorized transactions, drained bank accounts, or fraudulent purchases made in their name.
Moreover, it also poses risks to personal privacy, with attackers potentially gaining access to sensitive information. Hence, compromising personal or professional communications, or conducting identity theft.
For organizations, account takeovers can result in reputational damage, eroded customer trust, and loss of business. Customers may lose confidence in a company's ability to protect their accounts and personal data, leading to a negative impact on brand reputation.
2. Identity Theft
Identity theft is a type of crime where an individual's personal information is stolen and misused by someone else for fraudulent purposes. It involves the unauthorized acquisition and use of sensitive data.
Such as Social Security numbers, credit card details, or bank account information, to impersonate the victim and commit various fraudulent activities. Moreover, identity thieves can obtain personal information through various means.
Including data breaches, phishing scams, stolen mail, dumpster diving, or hacking into computer systems. Once an identity thief has access to personal information, they can open new credit accounts, make unauthorized purchases, obtain loans, or commit criminal activities.
Differences Between Account Takeover and Identity Theft
While both account takeover vs identity theft are cybercrimes and have serious consequences for the victim, there are a few differences between the two. However, both require strong security, awareness of the individuals or organizations, and the applied steps of prevention.
Below are some points of differences between account takeover and identity theft that people should be aware of. Therefore, they can take and apply the best security as prevention.
Account takeover is more focused and limited in scope. It involves gaining unauthorized access to and control over a specific online account or set of accounts.
Meanwhile, identity theft has a broader scope. It involves the unauthorized acquisition and misuse of an individual's personal information. Usually to assume the victim's identity and engage in fraudulent activities across multiple platforms and services.
Account takeover typically involves compromising the login credentials of a specific online account. This can be done through various methods, such as phishing, social engineering, brute-force attacks, or exploiting vulnerabilities in the account's security.
Meanwhile, identity theft involves the unauthorized acquisition and misuse of an individual's personal information, which can be obtained through various means.
This can include data breaches, hacking into systems containing personal data, stealing physical documents, social engineering, or intercepting mail or electronic communications.
While account takeover focuses on gaining control over specific online accounts, identity theft is more concerned with acquiring and using personal information to assume the victim's identity and carry out fraudulent activities.
Account takeover primarily targets specific online accounts, such as email, social media, banking, or e-commerce accounts. To gain unauthorized access, conduct fraudulent activities, or steal sensitive information associated with that account.
Meanwhile, identity theft has a broader focus that extends beyond individual online accounts. It aims to obtain and exploit an individual's personal information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card details, or other identifying data, to assume the victim's identity.
In summary, account takeover focuses on gaining unauthorized access and control over specific online accounts. Whereas identity theft involves a broader focus on acquiring personal information to assume the victim's identity for various fraudulent purposes.
The impact of both account takeover vs identity theft is severe. Account takeover is typically limited to the compromised account and its associated services. However, it can result in financial loss, privacy breaches, reputation damage, and disruption of the victim's online activities.
Meanwhile, identity theft can have a much broader and long-lasting impact on the victim. It can lead to financial loss, damage to credit scores, and even legal complications. Therefore, it causes emotional distress and may affect multiple aspects of the victim's life.
Preventing Account Takeover and Identity Theft with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Both account takeover vs identity theft requires a multi-layered approach as a preventive approach. Therefore, people should practice good password hygiene by using strong, unique passwords, enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA), and being cautious of phishing attempts.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is an effective security measure that can help prevent both account takeover and identity theft by adding an extra layer of protection to the authentication process. Here's how MFA can help:
1. Stronger Authentication
MFA’s security requires multiple forms of verification to gain access. Typically, something they know (like a password), something they have (like a unique code sent to their mobile device), or something they are (like a fingerprint or facial recognition).
That strict authentication process makes it more difficult to gain unauthorized access. Even if the attackers possess the user's password.
2. Enhanced Security for Sensitive Accounts
MFA is particularly beneficial for accounts that hold sensitive information or have high-value assets, such as online banking or email accounts. It significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access and protects the user's personal and financial data.
Account takeover vs identity theft are cybercrimes that require people to implement robust security as a prevention act. By implementing MFA, individuals, and organizations can significantly enhance their account security and protect against both account takeover and identity theft.
With fazpass, an all-in-one OTP platform, you can fortify your online accounts with an additional layer of security. OTPs provide a unique and time-sensitive code for each login attempt, making it nearly impossible for hackers to gain unauthorized access.
Safeguard your valuable data and personal information from potential breaches by implementing OTPs through fazpass. Stay one step ahead of cyber threats and take charge of your online security today!
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