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3 Cyberattack Vectors & 6 Layers of Cyber Defense for Credit Unions

By: Dataprise

Verizon DBIR

Table of content

The average cost of a cyberattack in the financial industry is between $4 – $6 million, making it a profitable matter of interest for hackers all over the world. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board held a webcast in April 2021 about the kinds of emerging threats the industry is seeing and how credit unions can prepare for them.

During the discussion, Chairman Todd Harper said, “Like my fellow Board Members, I am deeply concerned about the risk cyberattacks pose to our financial system.” In this post, we’ll look at how attacks work and what IT services for credit unions can be implemented to mitigate them.

The Business of Ransomware

Ransomware has become so profitable that it’s far more like a legitimate business than most people realize. From job postings on the dark web to pyramid schemes for the developers, it’s a mirror of many corporations today. 

With all the effort being poured into the enterprise, it’s become that much more sophisticated. In the past, we might have thought of a hack as a single extortion. For instance, data is encrypted and a credit union pays to unlock the data. 

Now though, you’re more likely to see double, or even triple extortion. For double extortion, a hacker might ask a credit union to pay once to unlock the data and then pay again to prevent its release. With triple extortion, the hacker might ask for an additional payment to send direct messages to customers about the business’ poor security defenses. Considering organizations of all sizes host incredibly valuable information, they’re a huge target for hackers today – making cyber security for credit unions more important than ever.

3 Common Attack Vectors

Here are the most common ways that hackers are likely to target a credit union:

  1. Phishing emails: AKA social engineering, this form of attack is cost-effective. It relies on the idle habits of people opening emails that were designed to seem legitimate. 
  2. Bad links: Usually a subset of phishing, bad links are unfortunately easy to click. Much like the email that looks like it came from a coworker, they may look entirely harmless until the last second. 
  3. Vulnerability exploitation: This seems to be the method of choice for major breaches in the news. These vulnerabilities can hide deep in your security system. It just takes the right hacker to spot them. 

Without proper protection and strategic IT services for credit unions, these attacks can be catastrophic to institutions. Luckily, there are many ways to improve your cyber posture.

6 Layers of Cyber Security for Credit Unions

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as total protection. However, these layers of cyber security for credit unions can do plenty to greatly reduce the odds of a successful attack and mitigate the spread and damage if one does occur.

  1. Patch vulnerabilities: By far the most important piece of advice: continuous scanning, monitoring, and patching helps credit unions strengthen their defenses. 
  2. Advanced endpoint protection: Known for standardizing security controls, these IT services for credit unions monitors behaviors in your endpoint environment and can both slow down and thwart attacks entirely.
  3. Endpoint isolation: This layer of cyber security for credit unions isolates an infected endpoint, making it possible to stop the spread and still preserve forensic evidence after an attack.
  4. Automated backups: Ransomware can (and is designed to) jump to and target your backups, so it’s important to automate them and not keep them all in the same place.
  5. SOC/Monitoring: Having the best tools doesn’t mean much if no one is monitoring them. From alerts to analysis, credit unions can rely on this layer of cyber security for credit unions for early threat identification and to help them adjust their methodology as time goes by.
  6. Security awareness training: Most attacks occur due to human error, which is why teaching, testing, and training employees goes a long way to preventing and mitigating attacks.

Keep Hackers at Bay with IT Services for Credit Unions

Hackers aren’t stopping any time soon, but these are some actionable steps credit unions can take towards preventing and stemming attacks. The most important factors here are knowledge and action. For networks to be protected, they need continuous oversight and IT services for credit unions that adapt as fast as the hackers do.

Assessing Cyber Security for Credit Unions

How confident are you in your credit union’s cybersecurity posture? Take our quick cyber posture assessment today to receive personalized insights and recommendations for effective IT services for credit unions from our experts.

If your business could stand to benefit from IT services for credit unions, see our virtual server hosting, managed infrastructure solutions, managed cybersecurity and data protection. With the right credit union IT services, your organization can be prepared and secure.

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