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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Gartnersecurity

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?