Layered Security for Credit Unions: 6 Critical Components

By April 9, 2021 Accounting & Finance, Blog
Sutton’s Law

During Willie Sutton’s 40-year career as an outlaw, he stole an estimated $40 million dollars. When they asked him why he robbed banks, he said, “because that’s where the money is.” In the subsequent years, that answer has been dubbed “Sutton’s Law.”

If Willie Sutton were born in 2001 instead of 1901, he’d be a cybercriminal. Why barge into a bank or credit union with a gun when deploying malicious software is so much easier? In fact, last year, the FBI estimated that crooks netted $1 billion in ransomware profits alone.

But extortion isn’t the only end result. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is extremely valuable. Once it is stolen, it is sold and re-sold on the Dark Web.

Cybersecurity is a journey, not a destination. It’s an evolving, multi-layered effort that addresses vulnerabilities and builds resiliency.

Not sure where to start? Here are six critical components to layered security that TCG can offer expert guidance on:

Penetration Testing

Penetration testing (or pen testing) is a simulated attack in which cybersecurity professionals, often called “ethical hackers”, search for vulnerabilities in an organization’s computer infrastructure. To get a completely fresh perspective, these experts often have little prior knowledge of the targeted systems.

Two types of pen tests to know:

  • External – An ethical hacker probes for weaknesses in systems that are visible on the internet, including the company website, as well as email and domain servers.
  • Internal – An ethical hacker performs the test on the company’s internal network. This kind of testing provides insight into how much damage an employee could cause from behind the company’s firewall, whether maliciously or accidentally.
Multi-Vector Protection

When cybercriminals execute a “multi-vector attack”, it’s all-out blitz. Penetration attempts are deployed in different ways and across multiple points of entry. All the crooks need is one successful attempt. And once they’re in, it usually isn’t smash and grab. Cybercriminals can camp out for months at a time: listening, learning, and stealing.

Multi-vector protection takes that approach into consideration and prioritizes multifaceted endpoint security. There isn’t a single “multi-vector” tool…a combination of techniques and technologies are used to fill as many security gaps as possible.

Not familiar with Advanced Firewall Monitoring, MDR (Managed Detection & Response), SIEM (System Information & Event Management) technology, or SOC (Security Operations Center) Monitoring? Talk through the options with a well-established MSP like TCG Network Services.

Web and Email Filtering

Want to reduce the flow of malware into your credit union’s network by up to 90 percent? The secret is in limiting how your staff interacts with the outside world via the internet. Every malicious link and attachment that you’re able to filter out is a thwarted attack.

What is the state of your firewall? Is it properly configured? Does it effectively filter harmful websites? Does your email client have Advanced Threat Protection?

End-User Education

Are you familiar with the term phishing? It’s the practice of impersonating a person to steal personal information, extort money, or gain unauthorized access. Now that Work From Home is the norm and we’re living in a 24/7 email culture, the odds of a breach are extremely high.

The best way to prevent a successful phishing attack is ongoing training and testing. If your credit union doesn’t have an in-depth curriculum and regular simulated phishing tests, you’re at risk.

Patch and Update Management

Have you ever seen a “Windows Update” message on your computer and clicked “Remind me later”? You have just acknowledged that your system is out-of-date and less secure as a result. Patching makes computer infrastructure more difficult for hackers to penetrate. That’s crucially important for workstations, laptops, servers, firewalls, and many other kinds of hardware.


Let’s say that cybercriminals have infiltrated your financial institution and they’ve locked you out with ransomware. If you agree to pay a million dollars, they may graciously agree to restore access.

If you have a Business Continuity and Data Recovery plan that includes comprehensive backup, you have an avenue to thwart the attack. First, cut off the hackers’ access to your systems. Then wipe the infected systems and restore the most recent clean copy.


Cybersecurity challenges are constantly evolving, you need a partner company with a laser focus on security. If you’d like to know more about our capabilities, contact us today!

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