Salami Attacks: What Are They and How Can They Be Prevented?

Salami attacks have been on the rise in recent weeks—targeting banks and financial institutions across the United States. But how does a prevalent form of cyberattack relate to a delicious type of red meat? Here’s the latest on what you need to know about salami attacks.

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What is a salami attack?

Unfortunately, a salami attack isn’t an onslaught brought on by a block of Italian sausage (although that would be pretty cool!). These phishing attacks are instead known as serious invasions utilized by cybercriminals to target unsuspecting bank accounts. Hackers have commonly tried to take small “slices” from random bank accounts—hence where the salami attack gets its moniker.

Learn more about the definition of a salami attack from Oxford Reference.

How does a salami attack work?

After attempting to access accounts by trying hundreds of different routing and bank account combinations, cybercriminals can make minuscule deposits into users’ accounts once they succeed in finding a valid account. Upon finding an account that actually exists, they can set up small monthly charges to be withdrawn from the bank and placed into accounts they can access. The idea is that since the charges are so small, users will overlook them on their bank statements. But when hackers can successfully deploy this criminal strategy across thousands of bank accounts, their earnings can begin to multiply quickly.

What are the ramifications of a salami attack?

When hackers experiment with random combinations of routing and bank account numbers, their odds of success are low. But upon finding a valid account, this spells bad news for the individual whose money is associated with the account. Banking information is highly confidential and extremely sensitive, so when this data gets placed in the wrong hands, trouble can arise. Your account could go from losing small amounts of money each month to being completely wiped clean.

How can I protect my account from salami attacks?

To protect your bank account from being impacted by a cybercriminal salami attack, users are urged to monitor their weekly transactions and monthly bank statements. By actively scanning through these activities, you can monitor any potential charges that turn up on your account. Be sure to notify your bank of any concerns you may have about suspicious charges that pop up on your account.

As a bank, how can you train your team to prepare for cyberattacks?

The importance of cybersecurity has never been greater. Want to protect your company from surging cyberattacks? Our Lume team has you covered. Check out some trending tips on how to safeguard your organization from cyberattacks. We can even provide training to your organization on how to recognize and avoid phishing scams.

For more comprehensive cybersecurity tips and strategies, head to our Lume blog. You can also contact us to learn more about how we can keep your organization safe from a salami attack or other kind of phishing scam.

This blog was written by Lume’s Director of Professional Services, Michael Hensley.

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