salami attack
n. A series of minor computer crimes — slices of a larger crime — that are difficult to detect and trace.

Example Citations:
According to one knowlegdeable source, another hacker brags that he recently found a way to get into Citibank’s computers. For three months he says he quietly skimmed off a penny or so from each account. Once he had $ 200,000, he quit. Citibank says it has no evidence of this incident and we cannot confirm the hacker’s story. But, says computer crime expert Donn Parker of consultants SRI International: “Such a salami attack is definitely possible, especially for an insider.”
—William G. Flanagan and Brigid McMenamin, “‘The playground bullies are learning how to type’,“ Forbes, December 21, 1992

Faced with the equivalent of a cyber-crime tidal wave, the FBI has at last begun to grapple with such arcane computer mischief as the deployment of Trojan horses — destructive data viruses. Agents are learning how to recognise the infamous salami attack — programmes that capture information in barely detectable slices — and how to defuse a logic bomb.
—Tony Allen-Mills, “FBI ‘geekbusters’ hack into higher reaches of computer crime,” The Sunday Times, February 8, 1998

Earliest Citation:
The “salami attack” executes barely noticeable small acts, such as shaving a penny from thousands of accounts.
—Philip J. Hilts, “Computers Face Epidemic of ‘Information Diseases’,” The Washington Post, May 8, 1988

Related Words: