Credit co-operatives: How to respond to cybersecurity threats?

25 Aug 2016

Cybersecurity should be a key topic on the agenda of credit unions, according to former White House chief information officer, Rebecca Payton. A keynote speaker at the World Credit Union Conference in Belfast, she talked about the security challenges posed by technological advancements.

Between 2006 and 2008 Ms Payton was White House chief information officer where she oversaw IT operations for president Bush and his 3,000 staff. She warned delegates about common misconceptions regarding cybersecurity, such as the idea of being protected simply by having antivirus software.

“Every 90 sec a new version of malware is found, no software can keep up with that,” she said. According to Ms Payton, 95% of all security breaches are due to human error, and 78% of these involve tricking the user. She thinks that credit unions should not only worry about hacks from outside their networks, but also from inside. The credentials of staff members could be compromised, she said.

Her main tip for credit unions to be better prepared to cope with cyber threats was to name two top critical assets and focus on protecting these. The next step would be to split these in five different segments and have them in different places from the rest of the assets.

“A breach is inevitable but how we respond as a victim is not,” she added advising board members to make the case for increased cybersecurity as part of disaster planning or an extension of other programmes.

Photo: Theresa Payton speaking at the WOCCU conference in Belfast (c) WOCCU


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