Bank robbers rob banks, because that is where the money is. Criminals rob online businesses, because that is now where the money is, along with the credit card data, the private information, and the online identities.
Money remains a major target because of its fluidity, putting banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions that move money around, right in the crosshairs, but electronic cash isn’t the only target for online criminals. Defense contractors, developers and governmental institutions are also being targeted by criminals and terrorists looking to gain classified or sensitive information, find other vulnerabilities, and connect to other networks. Regardless of whether money is the direct target or not, it is still the bottom line. Hackers are looking to steal a company’s R&D because they can sell that information to a company with a smaller research budget. The target of their attack may be intellectual property or strategic plans, but it ends up being just something you can turn into money.
So besides the financial industry, the online threat is also growing for smaller businesses and retail stores. These had been largely ignored by online criminals, but small and medium sized businesses have become the low hanging fruit for well practiced hackers. SMBs don’t have the budget that larger companies have, but they still have data that can be monetized. There are more SMBs than there are large corporations, but with fewer protective and detective devices in the way, the profits can be just as, or even more, lucrative with less risk of being detected and tracked.