Noted cyber security blogger and journalist Brian Krebs recently gained an exclusive interview with a New England bank that reported a sharp rise in fraudulent charges on debit cards. The scammers were making purchases on stolen card numbers from plain-old magnetic strip cards but making them look like they were made on EMV (“chip”) cards, although the bank had not yet issued such cards. This “EMV-spoofing” technique had been picked up by Canadian banks earlier this year and traced to Brazil.

“The recent EMV-spoofing cases point to the continued need for fraud detection mechanisms that even small banks and credit unions must implement to protect themselves,” said Ande Smith, a principal at the forensics and data security firm Deer-Brook, with whom Verrill Dana works closely in data breach cases. “During the transition phase, which may take years, the mish-mash of magnetic and chip/pin point-of-sale systems in the US will create opportunities to mask fraudulent activity.”

A recent report by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) supports this call for improved risk management at regional banks and other financial Institutions.  The results of the FFIEC’s 2014 survey of 500 community financial institutions indicate that these institutions have room to improve in terms of employee education and training on cyber risks; improving cybersecurity controls; understanding their vendors’ cybersecurity risks; and establishing incident management procedures, among other things.