Increase in Account Takeover Attacks on E-Retail Amidst COVID-19

Masses of global citizens have been retreating to their homes and relying on online services to stock up their domiciles during the coronavirus pandemic, and it could be having an influence on cyberattacks against websites.


Researchers at application protection company PerimeterX have reported a two-month increase in account takeover attacks against online home goods retailers, and a rise in bot-fueled automated data scraping attacks against all e-commerce websites over the same time period. 


READ MORE: Malicious coronavirus map hides azorult info-stealing malware


In a new blog post authored by founder and CTO Ido Safruti, PerimeterX reports that “in recent days” nearly 80 percent of log-in attempts against home goods retailers were the result of ATOs. The company also notes that searches for toilet paper have increased by 1,400 percent since March 11. “We have even seen some sites experience larger spikes in single-day traffic during March than they saw during the last Cyber Monday…,” the report states.


Our hypothesis is that increased competition for business in key segments has fueled scraping growth as competitors seek to capture more online customers with deals and pricing offers. Scraping growth has been concentrated on hot items such as toilet paper, face masks and disinfectants.

- Ido Safruti, Founder and CTO, PerimeterX


PerimeterX believes that product hoarders are likely responsible for the scraping attacks.


READ MORE: Protecting against cybersecurity threats when working from home

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