Central Hudson alerts 300,000 customers their info may have been hacked

The Central Hudson Gas & Electric Co. headquarters The Central Hudson Gas & Electric Co. headquarters on South Avenue in Poughkeepsie. (Feb. 28, 2012) Photo Credit: Lee Ferris

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Central Hudson Gas & Electric started notifying its 300,000 customers Tuesday that their banking information may have been accessed by hackers during a cybersecurity attack over the Presidents Day weekend.

John Maserjian, company spokesman, said by telephone that the attack was discovered Tuesday through normal control procedures. The company's investigation has not yet determined how many and which customers might be affected nor exactly what information was accessed.

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He said that the company would release information as the results of its, or law enforcement's, investigation become conclusive. Until then, the company was contacting all customers by email, automated telephone call or letter to alert them of potential problems.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we are recommending that all customers monitor their credit reports and bank accounts in order to detect any unauthorized activity," James Laurito, Central Hudson's president, said in a statement Tuesday. "There is no evidence yet that the information was downloaded or misused; however, Central Hudson would prefer to err on the side of extra caution in alerting customers to always take seriously the potential for theft."

Hudson Central provides electricity and natural gas to about 300,000 customers in the northeast portion of Orange County, the western part of Putnam County and most of Dutchess, Ulster and Green counties.

The company is advising customers who suspect that their personal banking account or credit information has been accessed to contact local law enforcement. If they notice irregular activity in their checking or savings accounts, they should contact their bank immediately, according to company officials.

"You likely have only limited liability for unauthorized transactions. If you report the transaction within 48 hours, your liability is limited to $50 in many cases," Laurito said in the statement. He advised customers to check with their bank to confirm the specific policies.

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