One cyber security breach can ruin a credit union. If member data is stolen, members will rightfully lose trust in their credit union. Today's expectations for data security are high and that includes your members' expectations. Cyber security is not just the concern of the IT department, it is a responsibility of each credit union staff member as well. A careless use of information can impact everyone. Here are some tips on ways you can help be part of your credit union's data security force.
- Keep a Clean Machine. If your antivirus program is not centrally managed and updates aren't automatically pushed out, it needs to be. These updates include coding to prevent newly discovered malware attacks. If your protection is out of date, you become vulnerable and your data is at risk.
- Use Strong Passwords. This is increasingly difficult as the number of passwords a single person uses has grown exponentially. Hackers count on users becoming negligent with their access information. Passwords should contain a combination of numbers, upper and lower case letters, and special symbols... at the very least. If keeping track of passwords feels like a burden, consider using a password keeper, such as LastPass.
- Read URLs and Email Sender Information Carefully. Hackers can buy domain names with slight variations from ones that you know to be secure, every credit union should already be aware of such phising schemes. Do not open emails that have questionable subject lines or senders. Reputable organizations will not request confidential information, like Social Security numbers, via email. If you're unsure if an email is valid, go to the company website directly and call the contact number to verify the request.
- Trust but Verify. Social engineering is the art of manipulating someone to give up confidential information or allow access to an unauthorized individual. It's easy to side with a member who is embarrassed at the teller line because they forgot their Drivers License at home but be leery of the stories you buy into. You'll earn respect in the long run by taking a stand and showing that security is a priority at your credit union. Think of Apple who made headlines in early 2016 for not providing assistance in unlocking iPhones in a number of criminal cases, stating that security should be of the highest importance.
Keeping member data safe is critical in a digital world. While it is up to credit union management to actively fight and defend against cyber attacks, it is every employee's responsibility as well.