Safeguarding your financial institution: The vital role of incident response for credit unions

by Brittany Holmes, Adlumin

Credit unions face increasing threats that can jeopardize the security of their member’s financial assets and sensitive information. From cyberattacks to data breaches and natural disasters, the risks are ever-present, making it imperative for credit unions to be proactive in their approach to safeguarding their operations.

In the event of a security breach or crisis, having a well-defined incident response (IR) plan can be the difference between swift recovery and substantial damage. Credit unions, like any financial institution, must recognize the paramount importance of having a strategic incident response plan tailored to their unique needs and challenges.

In this post, we’ll explore the differences between an investigation vs. incident response, data breach and attack, and the critical role incident response plays in ensuring credit unions’ resilience.

Understanding an investigation vs. incident response

The first step to creating a proactive approach to incident response is identifying the differences between an investigation and incident response. Once broken down, understanding is key in developing an effective plan and how it can ultimately help protect the institution and its members.

An investigation analyzes a specific event that might have been triggered by Managed Detection and Response (MDR) security tools. An investigation looks at a particular event to see if it is malicious in nature, its disposition and contains the threat from spreading.

On the other hand, incident response is the step that comes after an investigation; it includes a deeper dive into the events, additional analysis, potential reverse engineering, and, most importantly, eradicating the threat. Incident response then determines the breach’s root cause and overall impact on the business and its assets. It focuses on discovering how the threat got into your network, how long it was there, what it did, and how it bypassed the defenses.

How to identify an attack vs. a security incident

It’s important to realize that most credit unions are being attacked daily. In an attack, you’ll often see many signs of failed entry or exploitation attempts against the customer. If you think about an account inside of a customer, let’s say, the billing department, with access to all sorts of financial systems and billing data, that can be a red flag. Additionally, Adlumin’s Threat Research Team observes repeated phishing emails, all using the same tactic, techniques, and procedure to get that initial exploitation onto the victim’s machine – that might constitute an attack on your environment.

A sign of a security incident could look like when an employee falls victim to a phishing attempt, and the attacker gains access to the system. Other signs are actions taken on the network’s assets, like programs being installed, data being exfiltrated, or settings like security-relevant logging being changed.

Incident response and the Adlumin advantage

Most IR response firms use third-party tools and deploy it all over the environment to collect information and logs. As a Managed Detection and Response provider, our platform stores our customers’ logs and events for the past three months or more, so we don’t have to deploy additional technology.

The events are constantly being saved to a secure source, where attackers can’t modify them. This is important because if you gather log sources after the attacker has disturbed the environment, the logs may have been poisoned. So, it’s hard to determine the truth.

Since the Adlumin agent is already collecting logs and events, even before an incident happens, a lot of the data is already safely stored and logged, which means we can cut down on incident response times.

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By considering these topics and your unique circumstances, credit unions will be better equipped to find tools that meet your specific criteria and maximize their value to your business.

To learn more about how Adlumin’s MDR and incident response offering is instrumental to protecting your assets and sensitive data, download our datasheet today or contact us today, schedule a demo, or sign up for a free trial.


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