Stay Safe: Detecting Account Takeover Attacks

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Main Takeaways

  • Account takeovers (ATO) are attacks where malicious actors steal login credentials to take control of online accounts.

  • This form of identity theft is on the rise and affects both individuals and businesses.

  • Learn about the signs of account takeovers and how to watch out for attacks in the next of our Stay Safe blog series.

Attack Takeover (ATO) attacks can result in your crypto or personal data being stolen. Learn how to stay safe by detecting ATO attacks before they happen.

What if you wake up one day to find out someone has drained you of your crypto savings? Having your funds stolen is just one of the realities that victims of Attack Takeover (ATO) attacks face.

ATO attacks revolve around cunning cybercriminals who seize ownership of unsuspecting victims' online accounts to steal funds or personal data. The attackers may also use the stolen identity to engage in malicious activity. Unfortunately, there are a number of ways attackers can steal login credentials, including malicious software (malware) and social engineering attacks, where hackers manipulate victims into revealing information.

However, attackers often leave traces that can serve as warning signs. Recognizing these red flags can enable you to take timely action and protect your accounts from ATO attacks.

Red Flags: How to Spot Account Takeover Attacks

Requests for sensitive information or account access

Exercise caution if you receive calls, messages, or emails asking for your personal information or login details. Legitimate service providers will never ask you to disclose sensitive information through such channels.

Suspicious emails or messages

Suppose you receive messages or emails that look suspicious or were unexpected. In that case, someone might be trying to use phishing techniques to obtain sensitive information, such as your username, password, or second-factor authentication (2FA) code. Be wary of messages with suspicious links or requests for urgent action like password updates. Note that these fake messages are sent through unfamiliar email addresses and often contain spelling or grammatical errors.

To avoid such phishing attacks, you may choose to set up an anti-phishing code that only you know. This unique code will be attached to all official Binance emails, so you’ll know it’s from us.

Changes in account funds

Keep an eye on your asset balances and transaction history. Be on the lookout for sudden increases in trades or orders, withdrawals you did not initiate, or unfamiliar transactions. If you’re a Binance user, you can report any unusual activity immediately to our Customer Support team.

Inability to log into your own account

If you are unable to log in with your existing credentials, someone else may have changed your password. Alternatively, your two-factor authentication method may have been changed without your knowledge, preventing you from accessing your own account.

Unauthorized changes to account settings

If you see any unexpected changes to your account settings, like contact details, email addresses, or security preferences, someone might be trying to maintain control of your account.

Other Tips for Spotting Account Takeover Attacks

Set alerts from Binance

Enable notifications within your Binance account settings to receive alerts for unauthorized account activities like password changes, login attempts, or withdrawals. Receiving alerts from Binance informing you of activities you did not initiate is a sign that someone else has access to your account.

Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication (2FA) can help secure your Binance account as they add an extra verification step, making it difficult for hackers to access your account. Examples of 2FAs include passkeys, the Google Authenticator app, and SMS codes

Additionally, if you’ve set up 2FA, you will be alerted whenever you or someone else is attempting to log into your account. 

Observe login patterns

If your account has been logged in at unusual times or tracks browsing patterns that aren’t typical of yours, it may be a sign that someone has access to it. Imagine you log into your Binance account in the evenings after work. However, you received a notification that your account was active in the early morning while you were asleep – suggesting that someone else may have accessed and used it.

Check for unfamiliar linked devices

Logging into an account with device information (such as device type, operating system, browser version, IP address, and unique identifiers) different from what is typically associated with the account suggests an unauthorized login attempt. Suspicious login attempts from locations significantly differing from the usual or expected locations may also indicate a potential attack.

While these red flags are not a definitive sign of an ATO attack, you should investigate further, immediately change your password, and enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an extra layer of protection if possible. If you suspect your Binance account is compromised, please immediately contact Customer Support.

The Importance of Regular Account Audits

When it comes to account safety, prevention is better than cure. One meaningful way to defend against attacks is regularly reviewing and assessing your security settings for your accounts. Periodic account checks can help strengthen your account security, identify compromised accounts, detect suspicious activities early, and screen for unauthorized access.

Changing passwords, reviewing access permissions, monitoring activity logs, and updating security settings are some approaches to auditing your accounts.

The Binance security teams are constantly monitoring suspicious activity to optimize security measures. Whenever there is an ATO report from users, Binance will carefully investigate the causes and assist the victims. If you suspect that your Binance account might be compromised, contact Customer Support as soon as possible.

Want to learn how to protect your accounts better? Stay tuned for the next installment of our Stay Safe series, where we share more tips on preventing ATO attacks.

Further Reading

Disclaimer and Risk Warning: This content is presented to you on an “as is” basis for general information and educational purposes only, without representation or warranty of any kind. It should not be construed as financial advice, nor is it intended to recommend the purchase of any specific product or service. Digital asset prices can be volatile. The value of your investment may go down or up and you may not get back the amount invested. You are solely responsible for your investment decisions and Binance is not liable for any losses you may incur. Not financial advice. For more information, see our Terms of Use and Risk Warning.

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