Every October since 2004, the United States has observed National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Computer security is always important, but the month when spooks, zombies, and demons are on display is a fitting time for the mortgage business to give it focused attention.
In last year's proclamation, President Obama said, "I urge all Americans to take measures to decrease their susceptibility to malicious cyber activity, including by choosing stronger passwords, updating software, and practicing responsible online behavior."
The Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance are major forces behind the month's events. Weekly themes will include:
The theme for this year is "Our Shared Responsibility." Security isn't a zero-sum game where stopping attackers means they'll just go somewhere else. When more businesses prevent breaches, there's less reward for criminals and therefore less incentive for them to keep trying. On the other hand, losing valuable data or paying ransomware demands doesn't just cost an institution—it gives the thieves more resources to fund their next exploit.
The mortgage business is a popular target for cybercrime because of the opportunity for financial gain. Security expert Jeff Bernstein warns of the increasing threat to mortgage companies, with damage already in the billions of dollars, and offers some simple advice: "Most security compromises happen because somebody is doing something that they shouldn’t do." Awareness of the right practices can greatly reduce risks.
Individuals and organizations, including businesses of all sizes, can become NCSAM Champions simply by registering online and pledging to take some constructive action to raise public or internal awareness.
Access Business Technologies is constantly at work promoting the best security practices for the mortgage business. Several areas are especially important in this field:
Last year, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a press release reminding everyone of the "risks that cyber threats pose to individual banks and thrifts, as well as the financial system as a whole."
Access Business Technology's software tools, including DeviceGuardian™, DocumentGuardian™, and EmailGuardian™ enable mortgage businesses to handle all aspects of the lending process in keeping with strict security compliance, without compromising convenience for customers. Contact us to learn how these tools can aid your business.
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is an excellent time for mortgage businesses to review and tighten their procedures and to remind their customers of the importance of data security. Promoting general awareness with the hashtag #CyberAware and using the Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit will encourage employees to do their part. Be a Champion and help to promote and institute best practices for protecting customer data.