Charter Oak Federal Credit Union Faces Cybersecurity Challenge: Online Services Temporarily Disrupted

Charter Oak Federal Credit Union officials reported that an unidentifiable group of cybercriminals instigated a computer system shutdown, rendering members unable to access their accounts on the financial institution’s website since Friday afternoon.

Brian Orenstein, the President and CEO of the Waterford-based credit union, revealed on Monday that Charter Oak is uncertain about the timeline for restoring online banking capabilities and website access. Orenstein explained that the credit union’s IT and security teams were compelled to shut down website access and the online banking portal on Friday due to the actions of unidentified “malicious actors” attempting to breach members’ personal information.

“We detected unusual website activity on Wednesday,” he mentioned. “Our IT team and cybersecurity experts promptly acted to safeguard member data and assets. As part of bolstering online security, Charter Oak’s domain was temporarily locked, resulting in downtime for the main website and online banking.”

With approximately 80,000 members, of which around half use online banking services, Orenstein also disclosed that fake websites pretending to be the legitimate Charter Oak web page emerged shortly after the shutdown.

However, Orenstein reassured members that no money or member data had been compromised. He elaborated that since the system was down, the fraudsters couldn’t access the website. The credit union is urging members who may have disclosed login or password information to contact them for the creation of new logins and passwords. This precaution is necessary because once the website is operational again, customers may be vulnerable to unauthorized access to their online accounts by these individuals.

Orenstein also mentioned that both the FBI and the National Credit Union Administration, which provides insurance to credit union members across the United States, have been alerted about the incident.

In an email communication sent to credit union members, Orenstein stressed Charter Oak’s unwavering commitment to safeguarding members’ personal information, emphasizing its critical importance.

“Please refrain from entering your online banking credentials on any website other than,” read Orenstein’s message in part. “There are other sites with similar (but not exact) names that are attempting to capture your credentials. Please avoid entering your username or password on any websites that resemble Charter Oak.”

Bruce Adams, President of the Meriden-based Credit Union League of Connecticut, highlighted that Charter Oak, with approximately $1.5 billion in assets, is the third-largest credit union in the state. Adams commended Charter Oak for its proactive measures to protect its customers in response to this incident.

He added, “Whether the threat affects an insurance company, a major retailer, a bank, or a credit union, it is imperative that our state and federal governments enhance business community protection.”

Charter Oak has committed to refunding members who incurred fees or charges due to the disruption in online service and has encouraged affected members to contact them at 860-446-8085.

Charter Oak was originally established in 1939 to serve Electric Boat workers, initially known as the Groton Shipbuilders Credit Union. It transitioned to a community-based credit union in the 1980s.

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