Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Big Mistake

June 20, 2023

Introduction

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, commonly known as CFPB, is a government agency designed to protect consumers’ financial data. Recently, they experienced a data breach on a quarter-million customers. The incident ties back to an accidental email that shows just how dangerous insider threats can be.

What Does CFPB Do?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is an independent government agency responsible for protecting consumers in the financial services industry. It was established in 2010 as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The CFPB’s mission is to make sure that all consumers “have access to fair, transparent, and competitive markets for consumer financial products and services,” in their own words. They do this by enforcing federal consumer financial laws, conducting research, providing education and assistance to consumers, and enforcing the law when necessary.

The CFPB also works with other federal agencies, state attorneys general, and consumer advocates to ensure that consumers are treated fairly by the companies they do business with. They also have the authority to create regulate and curb predatory practices. Basically, they handle a lot of sensitive financial data for a whole lot of people and companies.

Inside the Breach on CFPB

Did you know that three-fourths of organizations are vulnerable to insider threats right now?

CFPB was, too. That’s how an employee ended up forwarding an email meant for their personal account to 256K customers instead. The email contained personal information, transaction accounts and more on other users.

Their first mistake? Trying to send that information to a personal account anyway. The practice became commonplace with work from home and hybrid schedules, but it leads to insufficiently secure devices, networks and communication platforms. Only access work files from work!

The employee at fault has been caught and fired. This incident, however, still underlines the danger of insider threats even when they’re accidental. This is why every employee must remain vigilant and cognizant of their security awareness training, no matter their level in the organization. Financial organizations naturally hold extremely sensitive data, making them an attractive target for hackers. Knowing exactly which big spenders to target makes their goal a lot easier.

Conclusion

Insider threats are unfortunately common, and they’re not always as malicious as you might think. One oversight, a single breach of security conduct and it could be your career on the line.

Bridging this gap can be as simple as paying attention to security trainings and refresher or followup courses. Let this be the impetus you need to stop sharing confidential documents to personal accounts for the sake of convenience. There’s no “unsend” button on the human memory — or the World Wide Web! Once that private data is out there, it’s out there forever.

Prevent unnecessary data leaks like this one. By keeping up to date with best security practices, you can avoid becoming an accidental insider threat yourself!

References

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