What keeps small credit unions up at night?
Oftentimes, it’s cybersecurity, or the lack thereof. That’s according to Tom Kane, president/CEO of the Illinois Credit Union League, who led a discussion on the dos and don’ts of cybersecurity during the Small Credit Union Roundtable at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference Sunday.
Fortunately, said Kane, who runs a $250,000 asset credit union through the league, there are easy, affordable steps small credit unions can take that can translate to substantial protection.
“Being small credit unions, there’s a limited ability for you to actually make some of the changes that experts will get up here and (tell you to do),” Kane said. “Most of the fixes you’ll be pitched are often very costly. … But if you can do a few relatively simple things, you can avoid being a victim.”
In fact, a credit union can reduce the likelihood of being hacked by orders of magnitude by taking basic mitigation steps such as changing passwords frequently, keeping software up to date, and installing antivirus software, Kane says.
“You can do some relatively simple things, important things that are relatively cheap and protect yourself,” he added.
Kane also outlined steps from a new document called “Secure in Six” that CUNA has created on how credit unions can protect themselves. That document now exists on the new CUNA Small Credit Union Community, to be launched this week.
In addition to Kane’s advice, CUNA Mutual Group Chief Financial Officer Tom Merfeld addressed the group about cybersecurity insurance, which he said is becoming increasingly popular among credit unions of all sizes.
Martha Ninichuk, director of NCUA’s Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives, spoke about the resources NCUA offers to help credit unions grapple with the growing threat of cybersecurity, and noted that the agency is working to update its examiners guide to help credit unions step up their security protocols.