Friday, February 12, 2016

Cyber Breaches: The Modern-Day Bonnie and Clyde

Gone are the days of Bonnie and Clyde, when a car with a V-8 engine was the preferred vehicle for robbing financial institutions. Today, the threat has moved into the less tangible cyberspace, but credit unions are still targets.

At Filene Research Institute’s Jan. 26 Research Colloquium, titled Credit Unions in the Crosshairs: Cyber Losses Are Real, industry experts discussed the evolving risk landscape and offered insights into how credit unions can best protect themselves from data breaches.

At the event, CUNA Mutual Group’s Theran Colwell, Risk Management Director, and Jay Isaacson, Vice President, Product Executive addressed the troubling reality that no credit union is completely excluded from being the target of a cyberattack.

“We’ve seen credit unions across the asset spectrum and all over the country impacted by data breaches,” explained Colwell.

And, with the growing complexity and connectivity of credit unions and their products and services, the severity of data breaches is only growing, as is the average cost per incident. The ever-increasing risk of a breach means there has never been a better time for credit unions to take proactive measures.
According to Colwell, data breaches can occur because of employee negligence or theft, lost or stolen laptops, vendor leaks or mistakes and network hackers and malware. The single best preventive measure credit unions can take to protect against these potential risks is implementing layered levels of security that protect data at rest, in motion and in use.

“A common denominator of many cybersecurity claims is the lack of data encryption. If credit unions encrypt the data they transmit over the Internet and in emails, as well as the data that resides on their network, mobile devices, backup tapes and disks, they can drastically reduce their risk,” noted Colwell.

Additional protections include blocking access to personal email accounts on network computers, implementing endpoint security on devices connected to the credit union network and deploying a data loss prevention solution.

For more ways to protect your credit union and to learn more about cybersecurity risks and best practices, keep an eye out for Filene's research report – based on insights from the Colloquium – which is expected to be released this April. 

NOTE: An alternate version of this post appeared originally in CUInsights.