WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (9/22/08)--Credit unions need to focus on internal and external computer security threats and devise a multi-layered mitigation strategy in today’s world, a computer security expert said at a credit union industry conference Friday. A session on how credit unions should handle threats to computer security was presented at the CUNA Operations, Sales & Service Council (OpSS) Friday in Williamsburg, Va. The conference ran through Saturday. Karen Daeke, vice president of security administration at State Employees’ CU, Raleigh, N.C., gave a presentation titled, “Social Engineering Fraud.” According to Daeke, Internal computer security threats include:
* Unauthorized access; * Unauthorized software installation such as adware and spyware; * Unauthorized hardware installation with modems, printers, and portable storage devices; and * Wireless access.
Mitigation strategies to combat unauthorized access include reviewing physical security for computer and network rooms (router, firewalls, hubs), and attempts to control the computer environment (locks, access control, biometrics), Daeke said. To combat unauthorized software, credit unions should password-protect their computers. They also should limit users who have authority to install software, and remove unnecessary ports and drives from computers. Also, there are many free anti-spyware and anti-adware programs available, Daeke said. To minimize threats caused by wireless access points, credit unions should not extend the access range beyond what is needed, Daeke said. External computer security threats include:
* Operating system exploits; * Instant messaging/e-mail exploits * Remote access; * Malware; * Adware and spyware; * Hackers; * Phishing; and * Spam.
Some ways to mitigate external computer security threats include installing firewalls, encrypting instant messaging traffic, installing anti-virus software and not responding to phishers and spammers, Daeke said. Although there is no such thing as an absolutely safe haven from computer system intrusions and threats, the best defense is a multi-layered security system in place, Daeke said. That includes:
* A firewall; * An intrusion detection system; * Anti-virus protection; * Spyware and adware protection; and * Strong passwords and encryption.
And above all, user awareness is needed, she added.