Sharp rise seen in attacks using stolen credentials

The attacks have been beating fraud detection systems

Organizations are seeing a sharp increase in attacks using stolen account credentials, with crooks using new techniques to beat fraud detection systems, according to Gartner.

Gartner clients have reported a "significant rise" over the last two months in the use of stolen credentials to access accounts, wrote fraud expert Avivah Litan in a blog post Thursday.

The hackers are trying to access systems related to credit cards and financial data, digital currency, travel rewards and high-end fashion -- "anything and everything that has monetary or resale value," Litan wrote.

The type of attack is not new, but the methods are making it more difficult to detect.

Sweeping attacks that try out thousands of stolen account credentials are usually detected and blocked quickly. But the fraudsters are going in low, slowing the pace of attacks and distributing attempts to gain access through a large number of computers.

"The average online retail attack will only use an IP address 2.25 times now before moving on to the next IP address," Litan wrote.

Account credentials may be tried only once or twice an hour from different endpoints on a botnet over days or weeks, a technique that makes the attempts appear less suspicious and harder to identify.

Other times, the fraudsters use networks associated with popular cloud services whose IP addresses are not considered malicious and will not be blocked, she wrote.

Device fingerprinting, a technique that involves mimicking certain parameters of a device to evade detection, is also slipping under the radar. Fraudsters who know a person's credit card details will try to access a service from an IP address in approximately the same geographic area that they live, for instance.

The account credentials used in the attacks are likely being obtained from data breaches at major services. Litan cited the discovery of a gang likely based in Russia called CyberVor that amassed 1.2 billion login credentials and 500 million email addresses from a variety of services.

The discovery was made by Hold Security, a Wisconsin-based firm that also detected major data breaches at Adobe and Target. Many observers shrugged off the discovery and questioned Hold's motives rather than "confronting the gravity of this finding," Litan wrote.

For companies trying to defend their properties, Litan said there are security systems on the market that can beat some of the new techniques. They include cloud-based systems that aggregate the metadata for IP addresses and devices used for transactions, and "deflection," a technique that scrambles website code and makes it harder for attackers to identify weak weak points.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Gartnersecurity

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?