Posted by Vickey Morris, SCMS, CCUE, CUDE, VP Marketing, Cornerstone Credit Union League on 10/16/2017

The following information has been provided to Cornerstone Credit Union League for Cyber Security Awareness Month, and is used with permission from the National Credit Union Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (NCU-ISAO), whose mission is to advance credit union-specific cyber resilience in a strategic and collaborative partnership.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM).  The National Credit Union ISAO will be sharing information and resources regarding important security topics, and encourages members to do the same. 

Being aware of signs of physical threats and potential indicators of cyber-attacks is an important step in early identification and/or prevention of incidents that can impact businesses, individuals, or the public.

Employees should be aware of company policies pertaining to reporting threats, and follow appropriate protocols as outlined in the organization’s security policies.

Companies should also make it easy for employees to report suspicious behavior and incidents by considering the following:

  • Human Resources providing and avenue to report suspected insider threats and suspicious behavior around the workplace.
  • Information Security Teams providing resources to report suspected cyber threats such as a “report phishing” button in email clients, and the use of a centralized shared mailbox (e.g. report-threats@yourcompany[.]org).

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers these signs for identifying potential cyber incidents[1][4]:

  • Suspicious emails requesting information or containing suspicious attachments.
  • System failures or disruptions such as websites being down or credentials being denied.
  • Unauthorized changes, access, additions, or users to systems and configurations.
  • Suspicious questioning by individuals regarding systems, access types, networks, etc.

Additionally, DHS lists these signs for identifying behaviors that may lead to physical security breaches or other dangerous events[2][5]:

  • Observing suspicious persons around facilities, or lines of questioning regarding the workplace or personnel.
  • Stockpiling of supplies such as key cards, uniforms, badges, or potentially dangerous materials on or around the workplace.
  • Unauthorized assets deployed near company facilities .
  • Surveillance or potential “dry runs” around important facilities, or even public venues.

The additional attached resources can be printed and posted at the workplace as a reminder of what to look for and how to report cyber incidents and suspicious behavior.  These documents also contain contact information related to reporting crimes:

Report Suspicious Behavior Poster

Report Cyber Incidents Poster

Protect Your Workplace Brochure



  4. Department of Homeland Security. (n.d.). PYW - Report Cyber Incidents Poster [PDF].
  5. Department of Homeland Security. (n.d.). PYW – Report Suspicious Behavior Poster [PDF].


Categories: Compliance, Technology Consulting & Compliance
Posted by Mr. Michael Salyer, IT Analyst, Credit Union Resources, Inc on 10/10/2017

I’m betting few of you know that October is Cyber Security Awareness Month.  However I am willing to bet that most of you have heard of the cyber security breach at Equifax, in which the personal information of over 143 million people was compromised. The effect of this breach and the importance of patching was covered in Kevin Hood’s blog from last month.

Cyber security awareness isn’t limited to just patching. Protecting your information, both business and personal, must also be a top priority. Take these simple actions at work and at home to help keep you, your identity, and your information safer online:

  • Treat your personal information like money – value it and be cautious about how apps and websites collect it from you.
  • Regularly update the software on your Internet-connected devices, including PCs, smartphones, and tablets, to reduce the risk of infection from malware.
  • Talk with your family, friends, and community about the importance of Internet safety.
  • Control and limit who can see your information online by checking the privacy and security settings on your accounts and apps.
  • Be cautious about what you receive or read online; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

BizTech Magazine suggests the following, also covered in our information security risk assessment is regarding physical and operational security for your credit union:

  • Instill a culture of security – This starts with building a security culture and employee awareness.
  • Invest in security gates and doors – this can include limiting access through control of security access cards or smart locks.
  • Monitor your systems and space – placing security cameras at important points in the office, and having access to the live feed and recordings.
  • Getting alerts with alarms – selecting an appropriate alarm system for your business that will notify of intrusions, and offer the use of individual access codes.
  • Focus on the server room – if your servers are located in a closet or small room in your facilities, investing in a security gate is significantly less expensive that the potential costs of unauthorized access.

Cyber security awareness is not merely the purview of IT professionals. Credit union employees at every level must be constantly aware of cyber threats. Although during our risk assessments we will assist you in identifying these threats and making recommendations for remediation, we are only there once a year and cannot provide year-round monitoring. Constant vigilance is the key to keeping both your home and credit union information safe.

Categories: Technology Consulting & Compliance
Posted by David England, Senior Research Analyst, Cornerstone Credit Union League on 10/6/2017

In the advertising wars, there are many battles you must win.  Key among them are:

  • Grabbing the target market’s attention.
  • Making memorable ads that the target market recalls.
  • Relaying the very message you intended to send.
  • Moving your target market emotionally (or in some other way).
  • Boosting the image of the Brand and/or product (or, preferably, both).

How will you do this going forward?  What will the competition be doing? Where are credit union Members and potential Members headed, and which strategies will be most beneficial to you?  Here are eight trends to watch for as we finish 2017 and get ready for 2018.  Much of this information is from an article I read recently, “17 Marketing Trends to Watch Out For in 2017” by A.J. Agrawal.  All of the strategies are currently used, and all are expected to GROW in use over the next 12 months.

First, if you have not already done so, build a Lead with Mobile First strategy.  Mobile banking began in 1999 in Europe.  There is now more Internet traffic from Mobile devices than from desktops. Research tells us that from 2012 to 2018, time spent per day on mobile apps has grown to 3 hours and 25 minutes while the time spent on mobile web has grown to 51 minutes per day.  In recent years, the rate of increase has slowed.  Still, it rises.  Focus your content, ads, and online experience on the mobile user.  The important point here is that you want to not only optimize for mobile, but you also want to make sure your ad/content is integrated with Members “on-the-go” lifestyle.

Second, some of the content you develop should be Interactive Content.  This can include assessments or quizzes, polls, surveys, brackets or contests. The idea is to get Members to actively engage with you instead of ignoring your ads or very passively consuming them. 

Third, search your Membership base to find personalities (or cleverly make one up) who can be a positive influenceInfluencer Marketing derives its value from 3 sources:

  1. Social reach: Influencers are able to reach consumers through their social channels and blogs.
  2. Original content: Influencers produce original, and oftentimes effective, marketing content for the brand.
  3. Consumer trust: Influencers maintain strong relationships with their audience, who has a certain level of trust in the influencer’s opinions.

This personality would talk about your products/services/trustworthiness/people/etc., all the while gaining trust and credibility for the personality and the CU.  Influencer Marketing is growing because people tend to trust recommendations from perceived experts/leaders/etc. It is sine qua non that Members believe that the influencer actually believes in (uses) the product/service/CU.   

Fourth, increase your use of videos on Facebook (FB).  Back in the fourth quarter of 2015, Mobile Video view outpaced desktop views.  Because we live in a time of mobile video, companies are using it.  Show how easy it is to get specific tasks completed, how to use shared banking, etc.

Fifth is Segmentation.  This one is certainly not new, but it is growing still.  At a 30,000 feet level, segmentation is about sorting offers and information to reach different types of Members using their preferences, purchases, etc.  Segmentation allows the credit union to gain the attention and consideration of the “right “ Members or potential Members.  

A sixth strategy is using Chat bot Technology, which is becoming more sophisticated.  The classic historic early chat bots are ELIZA (1966) and PARRY (1972).  They were used exclusively to simulate typed conversation.  Yes, they were simpler.  And yes, chat bots have come a long way.  Today, building bot programs to provide information, smooth processes (e.g., loan apps), and personalized responses will make your credit union easier to work with – anytime of day.  The goal is to build bot programs in a way that Members cannot tell if they are communicating with a human or computer.   

The seventh strategy, Native Advertising, is a method of blending ads into existing content.  Members recognize the tricks of advertisers to gain their attention.  The key to this strategy is to find content that already is of value to your Members and then weave products/services/tips/information/etc. into the existing content.  CUs could use content about the employer/the employees/the community/the industry/ the job category/etc. as a launching off point.                  

The eighth strategy to consider is Purpose Driven Marketing.  This is simply where brands partner with non-profits or charities and set up internal programs that “give back.”  Clearly, this is nothing new to credit unions.  When we do this, the story is not lost on consumers.  Also, it builds the CU brand.  This is a CU advantage, and we need to get all of the benefit we have earned by building this goodwill.

Master these strategies and win more battles, and then win the war.    

Categories: Business Partners, Marketing & Printing, Research
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