Central Hudson customer data hit with massive cyberattack

Up to a third of Central Hudson's customers may have had their personal or financial information accessed by hackers in a cyberattack that struck over President's Day Weekend, the electric utility announced Wednesday.

In a release issued about the attack, Central Hudson offered to give a year's worth of credit monitoring to each of the 110,000 customers whose information may have been breached:

“We will be using an automated telephone system to call all of our customers for whom we have telephone contact information to alert them as to whether they are potentially affected or not by noon tomorrow,” said Central Hudson President James P. Laurito. He stressed that no evidence has been uncovered to date that confirms that any information was transferred during the attack, and that Central Hudson is taking these notification steps as an added precaution.

“The approximately 110,000 customers whose account information was potentially affected will receive from us via U.S. mail an offer of a full year of complimentary credit monitoring as a precaution,” Laurito said. All other customers will be receiving telephone and mail notification that their account is not involved in the investigation.

Central Hudson first announced the attack on Tuesday, and warned customers to alert their banks and local law enforcement if they noticed any suspicious transactions from their bank accounts

The Poughkeepsie Journal reports that state and local law enforcement, Central Hudson staff, and a third-party forensic expert team are working together on the investigation. Naturally, customers are upset:

"We've got a real problem here," John Collins, 56, of the City of Beacon said. "The burden should not be on the customer, the burden should be on Central Hudson to provide services that protect against fraud."

Collins said he believes the company should provide lifetime fraud insurance for customers because he said if important financial information is stolen it could leave customers "continually victimized" for their entire lifetimes.

The utility is posting information about the ongoing investigation into the cyberattack on a page on Central Hudson's website.

Central Hudson's mid-Hudson Valley coverage area includes parts of Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties.