Sept. 27, 2013 – Imagine a credit union CEO walking in the door one morning, only to find that thousands of members’ account data has been wiped. That’s exactly the type of scenario federal cybersecurity experts warned of in a high-level briefing Thursday by the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council.
Anthony Demangone, NAFCU’s executive vice president and COO, attended Thursday’s briefing, along with leaders from all sectors of the financial services industry – credit unions, banks, insurance firms, armored car services, the payments network. NAFCU is a founding member of the council. Thursday’s meeting was aimed at getting all financial sector representatives more engaged in the work of the FSSCC, and the looming threat of the next big cyber attack was the hook used – effectively – to draw them in.
Demangone said the briefing offered a sobering perspective on the likelihood of a potentially damaging cyber attack ahead for the financial industry. “NAFCU is addressing this threat in its discussions with lawmakers, regulators, other industry representatives and cybersecurity experts, and it’s pushing for a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity ,” Demangone said. “We are also continuing to work with FSSCC to ensure credit unions are kept up to date on the latest information available for addressing this threat.”
The FSSCC’s briefing was titled “The Strategic Importance of a Unified Approach to Financial Services Sector Protection.” Speakers included, among others, Charles Blauner, FSSCC’s chair and Citi’s global head of information security; Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Cyrus Amir-Mokri; Brian Peretti, of Treasury’s Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Compliance Policy; Bill Nelson, president and CEO of the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center.
NAFCU expects regulators to issue guidance on cybersecurity in the near future. A proposed framework for a national cybersecurity program from the National Institute of Standards and Technology is also expected to be out soon.
NAFCU wrote the NIST this spring to ensure the coming framework recognizes measures already undertaken by credit unions to prepare. Tessema Tefferi, NAFCU’s senior regulatory affairs counsel, said it’s important that the NIST “take into account and differentiate between each sector’s experience, exposure and expertise.”