Increasing IT Security is No Longer an Option; It’s a Must

More and more, credit unions are finding themselves the target of sophisticated attacks.


A recent study by SecureWorks, an IT service provider to the financial services industry, revealed that internet attacks are more prevalent in credit unions than in banks. The SecureWorks study, conducted from February 2005 to March 2006, compared the company’s 600 bank clients and 500 credit unions clients. Credit unions clients posted 67 percent more internet attacks than the banking clients.

Jon Ramsey, SecureWorks CTO, says that credit unions are being attacked more frequently because hackers believe credit union networks to be less protected than banks. But is that reality?  While some credit unions are taking a more cautious approach to enacting multi-factor authentication solutions, many have implemented systems designed to identify and protect against fraud. 

Rising Credit Union IT Budgets
Enhancing security can be costly, but according to Callahan’s 2006 Technology Survey, credit unions are increasing their IT budgets to upgrade their internal systems and online security needs. Almost all of the Technology Survey respondents said they will be increasing their IT/Ecommerce budgets during 2006. In fact, almost 25 percent said that their budgets would increase by more than 10 percent. 

Credit Unions Are Proactively Increasing Their Security
Callahan’s 2006 Technology Survey shows that credit unions are proactive when implementing internal security measures. Both protecting against and anticipating new security risks can be a difficult challenge, and many credit unions have responded by using vendors who specialize in this area.  Most respondents (80 percent) have implemented penetration testing to identify and protect from attacks.   Another 10 percent are planning to enhance their penetration testing systems in 2006. About two-thirds of respondents (65 percent) said that they already have layered security infrastructures in place, while 13 percent will be adding this in 2006.

Multi-Factor Authentication Programs Are on the Horizon for Many
Although credit unions have been quicker to enact internal systems to protect against fraud, the impact of multi-factor authentication on members warrants a longer timeframe for selection and implementation.   Only eight percent of the survey respondents said that their credit union already has this security measure in place, while 82 percent of credit unions are planning to implement a multi-factor authentication system during 2006.