The Impact of Bad Bots in Financial Services

Credential stuffing is a commonly used method of account takeover (ATO) in financial services. It is the practice of automatically injecting stolen usernames and passwords to fraudulently take over user accounts.

Once the attacker has gained entry, the consumer’s personally identifiable information (PII) and funds are exposed, leaving the victim at risk of fraud and the financial institution subject to regulatory fines for the data breach.

Credential stuffing attacks are exposing financial institutions to varying degrees of fraud and theft, creating an urgent need to take proactive measures that minimise risk to your customers and cost to your business.

    Card Cracking’ or ‘Carding’ is a technique used to gain brute force access to a user’s account. The attack is carried out against payment processing capabilities to test the validity of thousands of stolen credit card numbers.

    There are various card cracking methods, from verifying full card details to automatically injecting missing values such as the CV2 and expiry date, using bots.

    With the rise of aggregators, there are now more access points than ever – and this number will only get bigger – for threat actors to target and verify card details.

    Open Banking, specifically the EU’s PSD2 legislation, requires financial institutions to implement APIs, making their systems and data accessible to third party aggregators and brokers. It’s vital that the API layer is appropriately secured as once breached, this layer acts as a doorway to the organisation.

    Most financial institutions have little or no visibility of what constitutes human vs. automated bot traffic to their API, let alone an understanding of that traffic’s intent. So-called ‘whitelisted’ traffic from third parties and brokers may be acting nefariously or be putting huge pressure on the infrastructure and processing capabilities of a bank.

    Understanding how traffic behaves on APIs equips your organisation to better manage access and permissions while enabling you to innovate with API functionality.


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