Is Your Credit Union Prepared for a Data Breach Event?

by Jim McCabe
Is Your Credit Union Prepared for a Data Breach Event?

…The Odds are Against You as Thieves Get More Sophisticated.

We are experiencing the worst year in history for data breaches in the United States.  Since the beginning of 2014, when Target department stores had announced one the largest breach events ever, there has been a significant increase in incidents, with a major breach now occurring on a monthly basis. The list of companies affected by breaches in 2014 includes some of the largest, most recognized retail and financial entities — EBay, UPS, Michael’s stores, PFChangs, Home Depot, Jimmy John’s, JPMorgan/Chase Bank, and most recently, the United States Postal Service.  All have experienced significant breach events that affected millions of consumers.

Since 2005, in the U.S. alone, there have been over 1 Billion records breached.  The only question remaining is simply “who is next?”  As noted by the assistant director of the FBI’s Cyberdivision, “You’re going to be hacked…,” so you need to “…have a plan.”

Credit unions are facing enormous financial burdens with the issuance of new credit cards every time a major retail or restaurant chain announces a breach.  But there are risks looming for credit unions far beyond the cost of card replacement.  With thieves becoming increasingly more sophisticated, leveraging the latest technology, and credit unions offering greater data mobility services, including apps for Smartphones, IPad’s, and Notebooks, the possibilities of credit unions and their members being attacked are going to continue to grow.  The NCUA, echoing this rising threat, issued a warning in May 2014 that included a direct message to small credit unions.

Your members’ risk of ID theft is also increasing exponentially.  According to the National Consumer League, which recently conducted a study with Javalin Strategy Research, the odds of your members experiencing an ID theft event following a breach of their information has increased 300% in the past four years.  Members now have a one in three (33%) chance of a breach, resulting in an ID theft event.

Data Breach Fatigue

Has your credit union simply accepted the current policies and procedures that will merely pass the auditors and examiners inspections?  Or is your credit union taking a harder look at data breach and ID theft events – and how it can enhance policies and procedures with greater security measures for WHEN they happen, not IF?

When searching for greater security measures, credit unions need to consider implementing a complete solution that provides a high level of protection, incorporating a number of critical services, including:  business monitoring; data breach response support that includes remediation support for members; and employee and member ID theft recovery and restoration.  In other words credit unions need to adopt a fully managed recovery for all forms of ID theft.  There is no shortage of data breach/ID theft services and solutions for credit unions and their members.  The key is finding the solution that best protects your credit union and its members from ALL forms of security issues.

The bottom line — don’t let your institution be caught unprepared.  With the ongoing rise in data breach and ID theft occurrences, credit unions need to accelerate their security measures and put programs and services in place now to better protect themselves and their members.

About the Author

Jim McCabe
Jim McCabe is the Senior Vice President, Identity Theft Services, for Vero, a CU Direct company