The High Costs of Cyber Breaches and What Credit Unions Can Do

Whether you are working in the finance sector, the healthcare industry, or even the field of education, there is not a single organization that is completely safe from the threat of being hacked. Getting hacked is no cheap affair, either, as the average cost of a cyber breach can be as high as $4 million per attack. However, there are some steps you can take in order to lessen the likelihood of falling victim to one of these schemes. In this article, we will discuss a few tips you can implement in your credit union to keep your sensitive data safe from prying eyes.

The Rise of Cyber Attacks

In 2016, five of the leading twenty US banks reported that they became victims of cyber breach attacks—and that’s just from the first half of the year. Interestingly enough, only one in every five breaches were the direct result of hacking attempts. Instead, at least a quarter of the leaks were linked back to lost or stolen devices. A report by The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) also noted that breaches mainly occur due to employees being tricked into handing over important information. Unfortunately, this trend may well continue into the later half of the year and beyond, as banks hold incredibly valuable information about their clients and customers.

 

Weak Points to Watch Out For

Most data thieves are able to get the data that they need from a number of places, such as card readers, point of sale systems, and online payment methods. They may also be able to intercept data shared over an unsecured wireless network. However, most culprits go straight to the most vulnerable sources of sensitive data: the employees, clients, customers, and members of financial organizations.

 

How Credit Unions Can Prevent Breaches

As a first line of defense, your credit union must invest in a reliable interbank network that complies with the latest PCI-DDS guidelines. Otherwise, even a single breach could make your members doubt the security of your systems, causing them to switch to other organizations that they deem more reliable. The PCI-DDS also discourages any organization from storing certain pieces of sensitive information; if they must be stored, then it is essential that they be protected with the latest encryption methods. At the end of the day, though, the most important thing that credit unions can do is to educate their members on the latest cyber breaching tactics.

 While you may need to spend some time and resources on keeping your staff and members trained in the latest cyber security measures, it will definitely pay off in the long run. After all, a single cyber breach can cost your union millions of dollars in damages, and it only takes a tiny crack in the system for hackers to force their way into your sensitive data archives. Don’t let your credit union become one of the many victims. Stay vigilant and keep yourself up to date on the latest cyber security methods.

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