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March 27, 2023

This Week's News is Sponsored by Better Branches ~



General News


Nominations for the 2023 Finopotamus Tekkie Awards Are Open

Nominations for the 2023 Finopotamus Tekkie Awards are open through June 5, 2023. Most awards recognize credit unions and their technologists. However, this year there is a new category: Tech CUSO of the Year. Nominations will be accepted from CUs, technology providers (including CUSOs), and PR agencies.



Municipal Employees CU Returns to Sharetec

The Municipal Employees Credit Union (MECU) recently announced that it has returned to Sharetec as its core data processing system. MECU had previously used Sharetec for over 20 years before switching to another system in 2017.



Alliant CU Partners with Franklin Madison

Alliant Credit Union plans to offer to provide $2000 of Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance for each of their members by partnering with Franklin Madison. Members will also be offered the opportunity to upgrade their coverage level.





Hardware News


Microsoft Details Its ChatGPT Hardware Investments

Microsoft has detailed its hardware investments for ChatGPT, a new natural language generation model designed for use in its chatbot technology. The company is using scale-out Nvidia A100 GPUs to train ChatGPT as well as new hardware called Quantum-inspired Optimization (QIO) for inference workloads. Microsoft has also invested in FPGA-based hardware to power its natural language understanding models. The advancements are expected to improve the speed and efficiency of chatbots while also enabling them to better understand human language.



Security at the Core of Intel’s New vPro Platform

Intel's new vPro platform includes hardware-enhanced threat detection, virtualization-based security (VBS), and a new Security Dashboard, which provides IT teams with visibility into the device's health status. Other updates include improvements to Intel Hardware Shield for protection against firmware-level attacks and the addition of Intel Control-Flow Enforcement Technology to halt modern malware. The platform also delivers support for Intel's Active Management Technology (AMT), which is used by IT departments to manage and control devices remotely.



Top 5 Security Risks for Enterprise Storage, Backup Devices

An average enterprise storage and backup device has 14 vulnerabilities, three of which are high or critical risk that could present a significant compromise if exploited, according to Continuity. Unpatched vulnerabilities in storage and backup systems are the main points of attack for most ransomware. Users are often not aware of the fact that traditional vulnerability management tools do not cover those systems well. The top 5 security risks are 1) Insecure network settings (use of vulnerable protocols, encryption ciphers, etc.); 2) Unaddressed CVEs; 3) Access rights issues (over-exposure); 4) Insecure user management and authentication; and 5) Insufficient logging & auditing.



Hardware Section Sponsored by
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Software Updates


CISA Releases Free Tool for Detecting Malicious Activity in Microsoft Cloud Environments

IT teams searching for malicious activity in their Microsoft Azure, Azure Active Directory (AAD), and Microsoft 365 (M365) cloud environments have a new free solution at their disposal: Untitled Goose Tool. Released by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), it is an open-source tool that allows users to export and review logs, alerts, configurations, cloud artifacts, and more. According to CISA, “The Untitled Goose Tool offers novel authentication and data gathering methods for network defenders to use as they interrogate and analyze their Microsoft cloud services.”



AI Is Coming to Microsoft Word, Excel as Copilot Announced

Microsoft has launched a new AI-based tool called "Copilot" for Word and Excel users. This tool uses machine learning to provide users with suggestions for text and data inputs. Copilot can help with writing suggestions for word choices, grammar, and formatting in Word, and it can help with data input in Excel by detecting patterns and suggesting formulas. Microsoft aims to increase user productivity and help them work more efficiently with this new tool.



Hornetsecurity VM Backup V9 Helps Protect Users Against Ransomware Threats

Hornetsecurity has launched the latest version of its Email Encryption, Archiving and Spam Filter service, VM Backup v9. The solution provides encrypted backup of virtual machines with VMware vSphere, while also offering protection against ransomware and other cyber threats. They claim that the tool helps reduce risk of data loss and securely stores backups in off-site locations, providing recovery options in case of a disaster. The solution also includes a web-based management dashboard to monitor backup status and manage recovery points.





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Testing Automation Helps Combat ATM Fraud

As ATM transactions continue to rise and become more complex, risks of fraud increase. Testing automation can help prevent fraud by continuously monitoring and testing the various components of an ATM system. Automated testing can detect any abnormalities in the system and alert the responsible authorities. Additionally, it can help identify any vulnerabilities that fraudsters could exploit. The article suggests that FIs and ATM manufacturers should prioritize implementing testing automation to improve the security of the ATM network.



ATM Growth Prospects

The global market for ATMs is expected to reach $34.8 billion by 2030 due to robust branch automation initiatives. Initiatives focusing on integrating self-service solutions, optimizing service quality, and improving operational efficiencies are expected to propel the growth of the ATM market. The market is expected to also benefit from the shift towards a cashless economy, which is driving the development of new types of ATMs that can facilitate digital transactions.



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Wireless World


Mobile Payments as an Engine for Financial Inclusion

Mobile payments can provide access to digital financial services, such as savings accounts and loans, and simplify transactions for consumers and small business owners. The use of mobile payments also facilitates financial inclusion by creating a digital footprint for users, which enhances creditworthiness and financial transparency. However, the article notes that there are still barriers to widespread adoption of mobile payments, including infrastructure limitations and consumer education.



Visa Sees Remittance Shift to App-Based Digital Payment Methods

Visa has seen a shift in remittance towards app-based digital payment methods as the pandemic forced a change in consumer behavior. Visa's data has highlighted an increasing trend towards digital remittances - they are quickly becoming the most popular way to move money internationally, when compared to going to a branch (34%); sending cash, checks or money orders by mail (12%); or giving money to another person who is traveling (11%).



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Security Section


Deposit Accounts in the Fraud Crosshairs

A hot area for fraudsters is peer-to-peer (P2P) fraud, which has surged in popularity as consumers increasingly send money almost instantly using tools that include Zelle and Venmo. However, check fraud continues unabated: data shows a 106% year-over-year increase in check fraud from 2020 to 2021 and an additional 30% increase in the first nine months of 2022. The article states that FIs must utilize advanced technology and strategies to detect and prevent fraudulent activity. This includes monitoring transaction patterns, using biometric authentication, and investing in machine learning algorithms.



9 Attack Surface Discovery and Management Tools

The article lists 9 different attack surface discovery and management tools that can be used to detect vulnerabilities in an organization's cybersecurity infrastructure. These tools include: 1. SecurityScorecard - Provides continuous monitoring across multiple attack vectors; 2. BitSight - Measures the security performance of a company and its third-party vendors; 3. RiskIQ - Provides visibility into digital assets and infrastructure; 4. Tenable - Offers a wide range of vulnerability scanning and management tools; 5. Qualys - Provides vulnerability management and compliance monitoring; 6. Rapid7 - Offers vulnerability management and penetration testing services; 7. Forescout - Provides real-time visibility and control over connected devices; 8. Skybox - Offers network security management and vulnerability management; 9. UpGuard - Provides continuous monitoring of vulnerabilities and data leaks.



Prancer Announces Integration with ChatGPT for Enhanced Security Assessments

Prancer announced an integration with ChatGPT, a language-based artificial intelligence (AI) tool, to improve its cloud security assessments. Prancer uses ChatGPT to understand the intent of user questions and provide accurate answers to help users understand why a certain remediation step is important. ChatGPT is designed to generate responses that sound as if they are coming from a human expert, aiming to provide more personalized and interactive results for users. This integration aims to enhance the efficiency and accuracy of cloud security assessments.





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Technology and Marketing


8 Deposit-Raising Tactics

The article highlights 8 strategies that FIs can use to raise deposits in the current economic climate. These include creating compelling savings offers, developing targeted campaigns, emphasizing security and insurance, leveraging technology, simplifying account opening processes, creating referral incentives, optimizing branch experiences, and collaborating with FinTech firms. The article emphasizes the importance of prioritizing deposit growth in order to strengthen balance sheets and remain competitive.



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Online Banking/E-Commerce/Website Design


The Federal Reserve Announces July Launch for the FedNow

The Federal Reserve announced that the FedNow Service will start operating in July and provided details on preparations for launch. The first week of April, the Federal Reserve will begin the formal certification of participants for launch of the service. Early adopters will complete a customer testing and certification program, informed by feedback from the FedNow Pilot Program, to prepare for sending live transactions through the system. Certification encompasses a comprehensive testing curriculum with defined expectations for operational readiness and network experience. In June, the Federal Reserve and certified participants will conduct production validation activities to confirm readiness for the July launch.



A2A Payments a Growing Force in Payments

As more consumers move away from cash and checks, P2P payments through mobile apps and digital wallets have become increasingly popular. This article cites data from Fiserv, which found that A2A transfers are projected to grow to $10.8 trillion in the US by 2021. A2A transactions actually totaled 9% of e-commerce transaction value in the US in 2022.



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Internet Access


Edgio Adds Advanced DDoS Protection with Other WAAP Enhancements

Edgio announced an advanced DDoS (distributed denial of service) protection capability. The CDN provider's new DDoS scrubbing offering impersonates the customer’s network to phase out malicious traffic, and employs advanced IP masking at source to prevent direct-to-origin attacks. In addition to DDoS protection, the enhanced WAAP (Web Application and API Protection) solution includes a web application firewall (WAF), API security, and bot management.



7 Essential Cloud Finance Metrics to Track

Seven cloud finance metrics that organizations should track to better control cloud costs are covered in this article. These include cloud spend by service, cloud spend by business unit or project, cost per instance, monthly recurring revenue (MRR), revenue per user, gross profit margin, and customer acquisition cost (CAC). By tracking these metrics, organizations can identify areas where they can optimize their cloud spending and make more informed decisions about their cloud strategy. The article also highlights the importance of continuous monitoring and the use of cloud cost management tools to track these metrics.




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Call Centers


Microsoft: 365 Copilot Chatbot Is the AI-Based Future of Work

Microsoft 365 has launched a new AI-based chatbot called CoPilot, aimed at streamlining the remote working experience. CoPilot integrates with Microsoft Teams to offer support with common tasks such as scheduling meetings, booking conference rooms, and finding information within an organization's support pages.



What Are the Tech Skills Needed for Contact Center Success?

Technical skills are indispensable for contact center agents. The author highlights the importance of agents being proficient in navigating multiple software platforms, as well as being familiar with tools such as chatbots and artificial intelligence. The article gets feedback from numerous call center experts and concludes by urging contact centers to invest in ongoing training and development programs to ensure that agents maintain their technical proficiency.