This month, Sacramento’s Raley’s grocery chain said it had been the victim of a cyberattack targeting customers’ credit and debit card numbers. The Sacramento Bee says that increasingly, credit and debit card numbers have become commodities sold by cyberthieves who harvest them from banks, businesses, restaurants, and retailers. “The sophistication of these attacks is unprecedented,” said G. Mark Hardy, president of National Security Corp., a Tampa-based cybersecurity consulting firm.
Last year, targeted attacks on businesses jumped 42 percent, according to Symantec, the California-based security software firm. Attacks spiked 31 percent among companies with under 250 employees. It’s part of a shift from mass attacks by computer viruses, worms, and other cyberthreats to more targeted infiltrations. The attackers, often from overseas, “find this method more effective because it allows them to fly under the radar and avoid drawing widespread attention to their malware,” said Brian Burch of Symantec.