Posted at: 02/20/2013 5:57 PM
By: Dan Bazile
CATSKILL -- For Pete Di Stefano, it's the first time he's had to worry cyber criminals even though he's been using the internet for most of his finances for years.
"I do all my banking online and through the phone and rarely do I use a written check," Di Stefano said.
He does it for his barber shop and private home in Catskill. But all that convenience is now causing him to panic. He's not alone. Thousands of Central Hudson Gas and Electric company customers like him are in the same boat.
The company said hackers may have accessed customers private banking information over the holiday weekend. They say there's no evidence the information was misused. But they recommend that all customers monitor their credit reports and bank accounts. The company is also offering free credit monitoring for a year to all those potential cyber victims.
"I was told years ago by friends who said don't use the internet, don't use your phone to pay bills, use a written check. It appears they might be right," Di Stefano said.
Reg Harnish from GreyCastle Security in Troy said those types of attacks seem to be happening more frequently.
"But I feel like the one thing we've learned that we're only at the beginning of this and it's only going to get worse," Harnish said.
He points to the recent cyber attack by the Chinese on some of America's biggest companies. Harnish is not sure if the two incidents are related. he said there's no such thing as 100 percent security in cyber space. But people and companies can protect themselves.
"If there are options from your provider to not store credit card or payment card information, try to do that," he said.
People need to keep a close eye on their bank accounts and credit reports as well. Harnish said companies should also try to be pro active to cyber attacks and have a detailed plan in place to respond to them.