<p>So what’s going to definitively turn the tide? That old reliable of American capitalism: consumer demand. Mackelprang, the security chief at Digital Insight, feels that security and stability are going to have to be as valued as bells and whistles to the customer, whether it be Joe Consumer buying Windows at Best Buy or the CU exec investing in server software, before the software industry starts to develop and incorporate robust protections in a consistent and ongoing manner. “He’s absolutely right,” says Woehler at PM Systems, adding that such change may now be under way. “We’re starting to see that very thing in some of the new products coming our right now. Both Windows XP and Red Hat Linux 7.2 now come with personal firewall options available during the installs. “Gartner really scared the heck out of Microsoft (recently) when they came out and recommended that companies move away from Microsoft IIS (the software giant’s ubiquitous server software system).” Of course, there’s a human factor, too. “In the conduct of our assessment of credit unions, we are usually able to get the network user name and password of about half of all the employees we contact,” Woehler says, simply by using what he calls “spoof” e-mail and direct phone calls. To combat that problem, Ha, the AmeriChoice IS manager, says, “The best investment is in training and education, so that you understand the threats that are out there and how to deal with them.” And how might credit union chiefs view security as the new year dawns? Whether the threat is from hackers out for the fun of it or crackers with theft or political motivations in mind, “I would ask credit union executives to ask these two questions,” Fleming says. “How would my credit union suffer if our Internet connection was terminated for a month? For two? For six? “Could we continue to be competitive if we had no external network connectivity to . core processors and e-commerce sites like CUNA’s? “If the answer to these questions is not favorable, you must act to shore up your security to protect your members’ interests,” says Fleming. Or, as Mackelprang at Digital Insight puts it: “I think everyone involved in this business and in the financial services industry need to realize that if, in fact, we don’t do things securely, all the other things we do well, will become unimportant.” -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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