Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Redstone Federal Credit Union President: “Members hardly said anything.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, March 14, 2010

Huntsville, AL-based Redstone Federal Credit Union President Joe Newberry was characteristically tight-lipped about security when he spoke recently about their new computer system being hacked.

Saying only that call volume was a little more than normal,” he was dismissive of any members’ concerns, and added that when “people saw their accounts were normal,” they stopped complaining. He refused to answer questions about security breeches in the new computer system that serves over 320,000 members at one of Alabama’s largest credit unions.

Credit unions emphasize they are “member owned,” but many RFCU members didn’t feel a sense of ownership when Newberry ignored their questions.

Earlier, the new computer system was hacked, which was discovered Friday, causing widespread failure throughout the ACH (Automated Clearing House) system, forcing a shut-down of the new computer system. The characteristic silence from the organization led many to speculate that a time-delayed computer virus, “Trojan Horse,” worm or other hidden malicious computer program had silently activated, stealing millions from Tennessee Valley families, residents and businesses.

The Huntsville area is well known for computer knowledge and technological expertise. Residents were suspiciously silent about the loss, and there were no demonstrators, although many had completely lost everything in their accounts.

The NYC-based Advance Publications/Newhouse News corporate owned paper “The Huntsville Times” asked few questions of the organization, and downplayed the event, characterizing it as “a glitch,” or “posting problems.”

Local television and radio stations didn’t consider the event news-worthy enough to interview the RFCU president or any other officials. Even though, local media refused to report in-depth of RFCU’s security breech, leading community and RFCU members to believe that the tens-of-millions of dollars loss hardly caused a peep from among their nearly-half million members.

In some cases, accounts were completely emptied. In others, deposits appeared and then disappeared. The complete extent of the damage is yet unknown.

Newberry refused to say how much RFCU had lost, only commenting that technicians “worked around the clock,” to discover and aright any lingering problems.

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