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Turn Super Bowl Blunders into Cybersecurity Touchdowns
Tuesday, January 26, 2016 6:20 AM

By Michael Salyer, IT Analyst, Credit Union Resources

It’s playoff season, and the Super Bowl is just around the corner. Let’s take a minute to look at the cybersecurity involved in the big game and how lessons learned from the past can assist you. Everyone sees on TV, the immense physical security involved in these events due to recent terrorist attacks. However, as everyone who works in a credit union knows, physical security is only half the battle.

Social Engineering/Scams

One lesson learned from Super Bowl 49, and other big events, is that buying a ticket from a third-party broker isn’t a guarantee you’ll get your ticket. Some less-than-reputable brokers will sell tickets to consumers without physically having the tickets on hand. This is known as short selling. Most got their money back when the tickets never materialized, but some did not. The cautionary tale one should learn from this is beware of where you shop online. Before you give any site your credit card number, or any other personal information, do a little research to ensure they are indeed legitimate.

Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity

During Super Bowl 47 at the Superdome in New Orleans, the stadium lost power for 34 minutes right after the second-half kickoff.  Besides being a huge embarrassment to the NFL and the city of New Orleans, this pause in the game had the potential to affect the outcome of the game (the 49ers almost rallied to win the game).  Neither the stadium nor the energy company had proper power backups for an event watched by approximately a billion people worldwide. While in a perfect world every system within a credit union would have redundancy, this is not always economically feasible. Critical systems must either have backups or the credit union should have a robust disaster recovery plan to ensure down time is kept to a minimum.

Due Diligence

Funny/memorable ads are a huge part of the Super Bowl watching experience. An ad that ran during Super Bowl 49 was for Nationwide Insurance. This commercial featured a young child listing all the things he won’t enjoy growing up because, “he died from an accident.” Although the intended message—prevention of avoidable childhood accidents— was noble, this depressing ad had such negative feedback that Nationwide pulled it. Had they done their due diligence, perhaps market tested the idea; the ad could have been retooled to avoid such a negative reaction and overshadow the point of the commercial. What can a credit union learn from this? The details of any agreement or decision must be thoroughly investigated prior to implementation.

Risk Reduction

Another lesson you can learn from Super Bowl 49 is you should never pass from the two-yard line when you have the best running back in the league at your disposal. Seattle’s coach chose to take an unnecessary risk, when a more practical choice was available. Is your credit union blocking websites your employees don’t need access to? Does every employee have an external email account when only an internal one is needed to accomplish their job? Does your credit union have a wireless network when it’s rarely used or there’s not a strong business need for one? These are just a few examples of reducing risk. Removing risk will never be possible as the world stands now, but mitigating risk should be everyone’s goal.

Whether you’re a sports fan or not, lessons can be drawn from these kinds of events. It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO of a large corporation, commissioner of the NFL, or a teller at a credit union; cyber security threat awareness and prevention is your responsibility.

Credit Union Resources strives to be the leading provider of business solutions for the credit union community. The organization is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cornerstone Credit Union League.  Whether you are looking for an effective advertising campaign, sales materials, new lending products, technology solutions, auditing services, a hands-on compliance partner, strategic planning assistance, a shared branching presence, or staffing and operational support, Credit Union Resources has what you need at a price you can afford.