NAFCU urges legislative action on cyber security

Pushing for higher standards for retailers

Recently, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions urged congress to pass legislation that would require stricter standards for retailers in the fight against hacking.

Readers of HousingWire magazine know from April’s issue (paywall) dedicated to cyber security that this is a rising problem.

In fact, on page 32 of April’s issue, it states that hackers are evolving their methods, using malware to breach emails and firewalls. They can mimic emails and voicemails and convince unwitting employees to redirect wire transfers, so training employees to slow down and question anything that seems “off” is key.

“Data breaches have reached a tipping point,” said Carrie Hunt, executive vice president of government affairs and general counsel. “The Identity Theft Resource Center reports that hacking incidents reached a nine-year record in 2015, with the business sector, including retailers, accounting for 39.9% of breaches, the single largest category.”

“Consumers and financial institutions, including credit unions, continue to pick up the tab for retailers and other businesses’ lack of national data security standards,” Hunt said. “It is critical that Congress act to protect consumers and our economy.”

The business sector accounted for 48.4% of data breaches in May, with retailers being the leading category, and 19.9% of exposed records, according to ITRC’s data. On the other hand, the financial sector accounted for 2.5% of data breaches in May and 0% of exposed records.

Currently, credit unions and other financial institutions protect consumers’ personal data under 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, however there is no similar act or regulatory structure for other entities such as retailers, according to NAFCU.

Delaware democrat senator Tom Carper and Missouri republican senator Roy Blunt introduced the bill Data Security Act of 2015, which would set a national security standard for retailers.

Now, NAFCU and six other financial trade groups are promoting their Stop the Data Breaches campaign.

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