Written by Ricardo Piñeres, Regulatory Compliance Counsel
NAFCU has been beating the drum loudly on data security, and calling for action to ensure that merchants are properly protecting consumer information and actively working to prevent data breaches. While the most recent and far-reaching problems have occurred at the merchant level, credit unions are not immune from cyber-attacks. And that is the message that NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz delivered earlier this week.
During a speech in Washington, DC, on Monday, Chairman Matz highlighted the threats posed by cyber-criminals and how credit unions must step up their efforts to ensure that members’ funds and information are protected. “Attacks, intended to create disruption, can crash networks but can also serve as a diversion for more damaging assaults,” Chairman Matz said. “Imagine cyber-terrorists stealing passwords from your credit union and using your credit union as an entry point to gain access to every payment system and every vendor with which you have a digital relationship. Think about the damage they could do. The worst-case scenario doesn’t just deny services; it destroys security and dismantles systems.”
Chairman Matz’s speech is just one of the ways that the NCUA is calling attention to the issue of cyber security. Back in January, the agency released its 2014 Supervisory Focus that prominently highlighted the need for credit unions to ensure that they have cyber security programs capable of dealing with 21st Century threats to the financial networks. During examinations, credit unions can expect examiners to focus on the institutions’ ability to assess and mitigate cyber security risks, and respond to possible attacks. Credit unions are expected to have the appropriate risk mitigation controls in place to better prevent, detect, and recover from cyber-attacks, including:
- Vendor due diligence;
- Strong password processes; and
- Proper patch management and network monitoring.
While Chairman Matz’s speech was a call to action, she also acknowledged that the NCUA must have a role in helping credit unions prepare to deal with cyber threats. Because of this, she announced that the agency has launched a webpage devoted to helping credit unions prepare to deal with cyber threats. The NCUA’s Cyber Security Resources page includes helpful information that the agency believes will help credit unions strengthen their cyber security policies and programs. The webpage includes sections on:
- Relevant NCUA regulations and guidance;
- Relevant federal requirements and guidelines;
- Information sharing forums on cyber threats;
- Best practices;
- Privacy and protecting personally identifiable information; and
- Other additional resources.
Chairman Matz didn’t stop with credit unions and other financial institutions. She reiterated that in order for the system to be properly protected, merchants must be held to a higher standard. NAFCU is in absolute agreement with Chairman Matz’s observation that data protection requirements for retailers are inadequate, and appreciates her strong call for tighter data security standards for retailers.
Free Kick. Next week brings another round of international friendlies. Normally, I would be inclined to just brush them off and wait until club action resumes on the weekend, but this is a World Cup year. Barring major injuries, little of what will happen during these friendlies will give us much new information regarding the globe’s top teams. That being said, there are some intriguing fixtures on March 5. Here are five matches that have piqued my interest:
- Colombia v. Tunisia (1:00 pm EST). Those that have read my previous posts know that I was born in Colombia. Anytime that Colombia takes the pitch, I am transfixed. Outside of my usual devotion to the Cafeteros, I am particularly interested in seeing how Colombia begins to plot a strategy for playing without Radamel Falcao Garcia. While there is still hope that Falcao will play in Brasil, Colombian manager Jose Pekereman will be looking to find attack options to take Falcao’s place should the striker’s knee not heal in time for the World Cup.
- Ukraine v. United States (2:00 pm EST). The core of the U.S. Men’s National Team is pretty much set, but this match could go a long way in determining the last five or six spots on the roster. With Jurgen Klinsmann set to use a primarily-European based squad, I’ll be keeping my eye on the battle for the last couple of defensive spots. It’ll be interesting to see if Tim Ream, John Brooks, or Oguchi Onyewu can make a favorable impression. Outside of the football, this match will be interesting to watch because of the political unrest that has engulfed the Ukraine (the match has been moved to Cyprus to protect the safety of all the players involved). How will the Ukrainian players react, and will we see some inspired play from the highest-ranked team not heading to Brasil?
- Belgium v. Ivory Coast (2:45 pm EST). Neither of these squads is going to catch anybody off-guard in Brasil, as they are extremely talented squads full of players from top European clubs. Furthermore, both have their squads pretty much set. What makes this match interesting is the off-the-pitch rivalry that is starting to boil over between Belgium’s top two keepers (Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet and Atletico Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois). Mignolet has been vocal in his displeasure of being demoted to the back-up role by manager Marc Wilmots. This has infuriated Courtois, and has led to an ongoing battle being fought in the press by both keepers and other members of the squad.
- Spain v. Italy (4:00 pm EST). Anytime these European powerhouses face off, it’s a must watch fixture. Each brings a distinctive style and flair to the pitch, and even in a friendly, it’s a pleasure to watch.
- Mexico v. Nigeria (8:30 pm EST). El Trí endured their worst qualifying campaign in decades, yet they still find themselves heading to Brasil. After a rocky 2013 that saw three different managers get sacked, I am intrigued to see if manager Miguel Herrera can put the pieces back together and form a squad that more closely resembles the Mexican national teams that we have been accustomed to seeing. He has made some progress by getting some of the higher-profile players back into the squad, but there is still a lot of work left to do.
Lastly, with a little over 100 days left until the World Cup kicks off, ESPN has been kind enough to give us ample time to plan out our work and DVR schedules by releasing the television schedule for the entire tournament.
Save time on common conundrums; we’ll answer the most frequently asked Fair Lending questions NAFCU receives. Plus explore the fundamentals of Fair Lending and the recent rise of enforcement actions and litigation. Register by Mar. 11 to save $100.