Cyber threat pushes local credit union to beef up security


Cyber attack

(Credit: MGN Online)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, May 7, 2013

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW) -- Banks and credit unions across the nation are on high alert after a cyber security threat.

"That's why I came here," said Cody Adams. "Because I went to get on my online services and it said it wasn't available right now."

Adams has been banking with SRP Credit Union for two years.

"I haven't had any problems with them at all," he said. "They have good banking services."

He's one of about 100,000 members serviced by SRP throughout the CSRA.

"We decided it would be in the best interest of our members, the best way to protect them would be to take our online services down for a period of about 24 hours," said Ed Templeton, president of SRP Credit Union.

It's called a denial-of-service attack, and experts say this kind of attack isn't to get people's personal data, but instead to disrupt service and try to weaken the system.

"We didn't want to take a chance in losing or jeopardizing any of our members' confidential information," Templeton said. "The privacy of that data is the number one goal around here."

And SRP also has its IT department on high alert, using tools on site and even a third party to watch for unusual activity.

An issue many have been all too familiar with after a major cyber attack on the South Carolina Department of Revenue last year.

Hackers got access to millions of Social Security numbers and hundreds of thousands of debit and credit card numbers.

"It's just absolutely mind-boggling what's going on in the cyber world today," Templeton said.

Although Adams was inconvenienced for one day, he doesn't mind if that will keep his money safe.

"I think it's a good thing, a good security measure, to protect all the members," Adams said.

Investigators say the threat comes from anonymous hackers in the Middle East and North Africa. They're calling this attack OpUSA.

So far, there has not been any major attack.

But investigators say they're treating seriously beyond Tuesday's deadline and keeping an eye out for a while.


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