What’s Your Cybersecurity Awareness and Defense Strategy?


October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month — a month dedicated to ensuring businesses and individuals have the resources they need to remain safe and secure online. For credit unions, this is a great time to closely examine their current cybersecurity strategies and prepare themselves, and their members, for new fraud schemes that may emerge in the upcoming year.

Strategic Link partner, Vero, offers credit unions and their members solutions to address the unending threats of data breach and identity theft. Below, Vero provides insight on the ever-pressing threats of cybercrime and shares ways credit unions can help members combat them.

It’s no secret that 2020 saw a staggering surge in cybercrime. In March, experts reported a 600% increase in malicious emails and phishing scams. Then, in April, fraudsters devised scams around the COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments, swindling thousands of Americans out of much-needed funds. Several federal agencies announced a critical alert in May, warning that the pandemic was helping to facilitate “malicious attempts leveraging stimulus-themed emails and text messages to obtain personally identifiable information and bank account details from individuals.”

Perhaps one of the most alarming warnings came from the FBI in June, when the agency announced that there had been significant attacks on mobile banking apps and fake banking apps being developed by criminals. According to the FBI, “Hackers are increasingly aiming at mobile banking app users to steal credentials and commander bank accounts.”

So what can credit unions do to help members avoid being the victims of cybercrime?

To start, an awareness campaign that educates members about emerging fraud risks can go a long way. Now is a great time to create an “eyes wide open” initiative to help members remain on guard and ready to defend themselves — especially as the holidays approach.

OnPoint Community Credit Union, based in Portland, created “The OnPoint Guide to Personal Cybersecurity” to increase its community’s awareness of the growing threats. The guide includes actionable information on the latest scams and best practices for defending against them. Originally published in 2019, the guide now addresses cybersecurity trends that emerged over the course of 2020.

Additionally, credit unions can incorporate comprehensive protective ID theft and fraud services as part of their member-owned accounts. In fact, hundreds of credit unions nationwide have already begun offering their members this “ultimate safety net” through services and solutions from a variety of business partners. These protective services can generate much-needed no-interest income to offset fraud-related losses and pandemic-related revenue gaps, and secure funding to maximize institution-wide protection.   

Credit unions are built on the philosophy of “People Helping People.” Helping their members mitigate the increasing threats of cybercrime is another way credit unions prove they’re so much more than a financial services provider.

Learn more about the emerging cybersecurity risks that may impact credit unions by viewing the CU Learning TRAXX Enterprise Risk Management session, “Preparing for Pandemics, Cyberattacks, Black Swans – Business Continuity Planning.” This session is available for on-demand streaming.

To learn more about Vero, visit its partner page online or contact the Strategic Link team.

Posted in GoWest Solutions, Industry Insight.