Category: Clips

Bramnick’s Cyber Summit: How Can Data Breaches Be Stopped?

Source: NJ 101.5 -

It seems like every week we’re hearing about some new data breach involving a major business or corporation. Many New Jerseyans are wondering if this problem will continue to get worse, or if something can be done about it.

“Cyber-security continues to be a huge challenge and part of the problem is the threat landscape continually changes, every time a new piece of software is introduced or other technology is introduced it creates certain vulnerabilities,” said James Mottola, special agent in charge of the Secret Service Newark Field Office, during a cyber-security symposium in Union.

Mottola said “those vulnerabilities are often exploited by folks that are looking to monetize, in one way shape or form, the exfiltration or the sale of data, and in particular financial data.”

Jon Bramnick

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, (R-Westfield) who organized the symposium, said part of the current problem is that businesses are afraid to discuss cyber theft, because they’re nervous it will hurt their sales.

“If you mention that a business is under attack it may affect consumer confidence in that business; they may not shop there,” he said.

Bramnick said he understands there are some things we shouldn’t talk about in a public forum, but to not have any discussion about the topic because we’re afraid “is a big mistake.”

He added if companies won’t voluntarily share this information with the state office of Homeland Security, “then we may have to require disclosure when a business is attacked in New Jersey, we may have to legislate it.”

In addition to stealing from big corporations, Mottola says cyber crooks are also stealing information from individuals, by tricking them into “opening up an email, clicking on a link that can be malicious and loading certain malware onto computer systems – so it’s critically important to continue to educate people in the public sector about all of the schemes that are out there.”

He said while it may be impossible to stop all breaches from taking place, the situation can be improved.

“For small businesses in particular, they need to look at some of these IT professionals for services that can help them protect their data, because it’s not their core business,” Mottola said.

He said officials are trying to encourage companies to “partition” information online, and then quickly respond if, and when, a breach takes place.

“Businesses have gotten much better at detecting when their systems have been infiltrated and responding to that and I think that’s an evolution, I think we’ll continue to see that. There are best practices that companies can follow to reduce the risk,” he said.

New Jersey Homeland Security Director Chris Rodriguez said cyber-security is something we all need to play a part in.

“We have adversaries out there who are interested in gathering data and information from our networks for nefarious purposes,” Rodriguez said.

He said said his Office is working to branch the technical, analytical and communication gaps between local and federal authorities, facilitate information-sharing with the private sector and engage citizens “to practice better cyber-hygiene.”

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Rumana, Russo bill seeks to shift power over reservoir project to local councils

Source: Bergen Record -

State legislators on both sides of the political aisle have joined the fight over a plan to drain Garret Mountain’s open-air reservoirs, introducing a bipartisan bill that takes the power away from the Passaic Valley Water Commission and gives it to elected officials in the cities and towns that buy the water.

Scott Rumana

 

“It’s a huge project with monumental costs to ratepayers,” Rumana said. “There has to be more participation and more say put into the hands of the people who will be paying for it. With a project of this magnitude, and one that is creating this much concern, this bill makes a lot more sense.”

 

Democrats and Republicans in Trenton last week introduced a bill that would prohibit the water commission from entering into any contract “to cap, otherwise enclose, or drain an open-air reservoir” unless the governing bodies of the three member cities, Paterson, Passaic and Clifton, and “each of the municipalities serviced by the commission” first approve the contract. The long list of municipalities that buy water from the commission includes Garfield, Lodi, Woodland Park, Totowa, Little Falls and Bloomingdale.

The Assembly bill A3853, is sponsored by Scott Rumana, R-Wayne, and David Russo, R-Ridgewood. An identical bill in the Senate, S2526, is sponsored by Sen. Nellie Pou, D-North Haledon. In a separate measure, Republicans introduced a resolution to delay the project until after 2016, when the federal government completes its review of a federal rule that requires drinking water stored in open-air reservoirs to either be covered or re-treated.

Pou said she introduced the bill because there has been a lack of transparency by the water commission as it has planned the project. “In light of the fact that seven years have gone by, but there has been little information made available to the public,” she said.

If adopted, the legislation could fundamentally change the way decisions are made concerning the controversial project, in which the water commission plans to drain the Stanley M. Levine, New Street and Great Notch reservoirs and replace them with concrete tanks, estimated to cost $135 million. Until now, all decisions on the reservoir project have been left up to the seven members of the commission, all of whom are appointed by the mayors of member cities Paterson, Passaic and Clifton.

But if the legislation is adopted, final decisions over the Garret Mountain project could shift quite dramatically to elected officials in any of the approximately two-dozen municipalities that buy water from the water commission. Instead of the seven appointed commissioners calling the shots, all contracts affecting the reservoir project would be subject to a vote by local elected officials.

Rumana said the project could have a “devastating impact” on the aesthetics of Garret Mountain and the on the property values of homeowners who live near the reservoirs. He said with so much at stake, the decision-making power should be shared among the municipalities, and not left up to the water commission.

“It’s a huge project with monumental costs to ratepayers,” Rumana said. “There has to be more participation and more say put into the hands of the people who will be paying for it. With a project of this magnitude, and one that is creating this much concern, this bill makes a lot more sense.”

Some critics contend that the water commission has been operating without any oversight for too long — at least since 1995, when the state Legislature adopted a statute that said all its contracts were subject to the approval of the governing bodies of its three member cities, Paterson, Passaic and Clifton.

That statute, 40:62-113.1 reads, in part: “. . . the Passaic Valley Water Commission shall not enter into a contract with a private firm for the provision of water supply services…unless the governing bodies of each of the member municipalities comprising the Passaic Valley Water Commission shall have first approved the contract.”

The statute was discovered by David Soo, the former chairman of the Paterson Board of Adjustment who opposes of the reservoir plan, because it would drain Paterson’s historic Levine reservoir during Phase I. Soo brought the statute to the attention of the Paterson city council last month. The council turned it over to the city’s Law department.

“Who oversees the water commission?” Soo asked. “No governmental agency oversees their actions. Nobody oversees their budget or their expenditures, except for the seven members of commission. But who oversees the members of the commission?”

George Hanley, the attorney for the water commission, said the 1995 statute wasn’t intended to give governing bodies authority over every action taken by the water commission. He said the statute is part of a larger law that pertains only if the commission is being sold to a private company.

“If the governing bodies of the member cities had to vote on every contract we let out, then we would never get anything done,” Hanley said.

Gloria KolodziejCQ said she served on the Clifton City Council for 28 years, and there was never an instance where the governing body voted on a water commission action. She said there’s no need for council oversight because the appointed commissioners act to protect the public interest.

“We, as the commission, are the ones who set policy,” Kolodziej said. “And I can assure you, we hold management’s feet to the fire.”

But among the critics of the reservoir project there’s a sense of distrust, as opponents demand that the water commission go back to the drawing board and find alternatives to building concrete tanks.

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State Experts Talk Cyber Security at Bramnick’s Summit at Kean University

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: WBGO News -

Major security breaches at Target, Home Depot and JP Morgan are a sign that cyber attacks are a growing threat. New Jersey security experts convened for a panel at Kean University today on Monday to talk about the risk to consumers and businesses.

Jon Bramnick

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, who led the panel, says it’s key that businesses turn over information on cyber attacks as soon as they happen to help prevent more and more from happening.

“You want to let Homeland Security know that so that they can develop a defense to those attacks. But if you keep it secret because you’re afraid it hurts your business, that’s a problem for all of us.”

He says if businesses don’t volunteer the information he’ll look into legislation mandating it.

Special Agent Jim Mottola is head of the Newark office of the Secret Service. He says on the consumer side, people need to be more aware of fraudulent credit card activity.

“As you’re sitting there doing your bills Sunday morning, these are things you need to check, you need to make part of your ritual. The consumer needs to get more involved.”

Mottola says one of the simplest ways to prevent fraudulent charges is to use credit instead of debit and to always check credit reports and statements.

 

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Fiocchi Brings Law Enforcement, Local Leaders Together for Roundtable Meeting

Source: NBC 40 -

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

Law enforcement officials from across South Jersey sat down with and local leaders in Cape May County on Monday.

It was the second law enforcement roundtable meeting, hosted by Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi in Cape May Court House.

Officials from Cape May and Cumberland Counties discussed issues facing police officers, including security in schools, drug epidemics and gang problems.

Officials say both roundtable meetings have been a success this year.

“We’ve gotten five bills in the legislature that we’re looking to move through committees. So they came from the ideas that we got in our first roundtable. So we’ve got some new ideas today for some new bills that we can move forward. Anything that we can do to help our men and women of law enforcement,” says Fiocchi.

Another roundtable is expected in the next three or four months.

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DeCroce, Webber on Responsible Solutions to Transportation Funding Crisis

Source: NJ Spotlight -

To new Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox, the challenge is clear, and so is the solution: After years of “taking a Band-Aid approach to everything,” New Jersey’s transportation system is in crisis. The only way out is to raise taxes to replenish the soon-to-be-empty Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) and build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson.

BettyLou DeCroce

“If we did a 30 cents a gallon gas tax, they (the public) would tar and feather us, and throw us out of New Jersey,” Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce warned, even though that tax hike would still leave New Jersey’s gas tax — currently the second-lowest in the nation at 14.5 cents per gallon — below New York’s 50.6-cent-per-gallon tax. DeCroce said the state should consider a mixture of solutions, such as extending the state sales tax to gasoline, which would generate the equivalent of 24.5 cents per gallon based on an average price of $3.50 a gallon. She also suggested increasing the petroleum products gross-receipts tax, which is levied at the refinery or distributor level; imposing a tax on airport car rentals, as most other states do; and adding a tax on containers that come into Port Newark and Port Elizabeth.

“Crisis is opportunity. We are broke. We can let our infrastructure fall apart and become worse. Or we can put the ‘D’ and ‘R’ aside and pass a revenue enhancer, whatever that is,” Fox said in an impassioned plea to business and labor leaders to fight for a stable, long-term source of funding for highway, bridge and mass transit projects.

“This is not an easy vote to pass,” Fox warned the New Jersey SEED (Society for Environmental, Economic Development) business-labor coalition in Atlantic City Friday, referring to polls showing that most New Jerseyans oppose an increase in the gas tax. “There has to be a revenue enhancer. If it’s a gimmick, we’ve failed. We have to tell legislators we will be there with them. Anyone who thinks we’re going to get this done without a tax is just mouthing words.”

Fox said in an interview following the NJ SEED speech that ideally he would like to increase annual state transportation capital funding from the current $1.6 billion a year to $2 billion. That hike has been recommended by Forward New Jersey, a broad-based pro-transportation coalition headed by State Chamber of Commerce President Tom Bracken, but one that would presumably require a larger “revenue enhancer” at a time when Christie may be about to launch a bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Christie, who had previously ruled out a gas tax increase, said when he announced Fox’s nomination that “everything’s on the table.” When asked if that included a gas tax, he responded testily, “What part of ‘everything’s on the table’ don’t you understand?”

Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce (R-Morris), who also serves on the Assembly Transportation Committee, said there is a growing recognition among Republicans that a revenue increase will be needed to pay for transportation capital projects.

“If we did a 30 cents a gallon gas tax, they (the public) would tar and feather us, and throw us out of New Jersey,” DeCroce warned, even though that tax hike would still leave New Jersey’s gas tax — currently the second-lowest in the nation at 14.5 cents per gallon — below New York’s 50.6-cent-per-gallon tax.

DeCroce said the state should consider a mixture of solutions, such as extending the state sales tax to gasoline, which would generate the equivalent of 24.5 cents per gallon based on an average price of $3.50 a gallon. She also suggested increasing the petroleum products gross-receipts tax, which is levied at the refinery or distributor level; imposing a tax on airport car rentals, as most other states do; and adding a tax on containers that come into Port Newark and Port Elizabeth.

Even Assemblyman Jay Weber (R-Morris), a former state GOP chairman and leading conservative, acknowledged that an increase in New Jersey’s relatively low gas-tax increase was a possibility, although he suggested it should be accompanied by a corresponding cut in the state’s high estate and inheritance taxes.

Political fear of raising the gas taxes is not confined to Trenton.

U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), who serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, noted that “just as New Jersey hasn’t raised its gas tax, the federal government hasn’t raised its gas tax either.” And just as New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund is scheduled to run out of money for new projects early in the next budget year, Congress was forced to do a short-term extension when its Highway Trust Fund started running out of money in July.

Finding a funding solution that guarantees the continued flow of federal transportation aid to the states is critical for New Jersey, whose $1.6 billion state Transportation Trust Fund is matched on a dollar-for dollar basis with federal aid, LoBiondo and Fox both noted.

“Am I worried?” Fox said, when asked about the fiscal problems that would be created if Congress was unable to agree on a sufficiently robust federal transportation funding formula. “Of course, I’m worried.”

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Bramnick Hosts Summit on Cyber Security

Source: CBS 880 AM -

A New Jersey lawmaker is hosting a summit Monday to figure out how to improve cybersecurity in the state.

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican leader Jon Bramnick invited state Homeland Security officials and business leaders to the meeting, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.

With hackers gaining access to databases almost every day and computer viruses becoming a constant concern, the goal of the summit is to answer some key questions, Bramnick said.

“How dangerous is it now? Is it getting worse? And how vulnerable is the average person?” Bramnick, R-Westfield, told Haskell.

Bramnick said it doesn’t appear that corporate America is sharing information about cyberattacks with the government. He hopes the two sides can develop some trust.

“If government is not receiving information about the newest attack, then government and business become more vulnerable,” Bramnick said.

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O’Scanlon: More evidence red light cameras should be banned

Source: Asbury Park Press -

They tell us not to worry about those hanging bandits called red light cameras because alleged violations are reviewed before tickets are sent out. Tell it to Rob Gawley.

Declan O'Scanlon

“There’s no question that there is a huge gap in the evidence against this guy. In fact, there is no evidence against this guy because that part of the video is completely missing,” Declan O’Scanlon said. “This is the tip of the iceberg. This is one person who called you. There are thousands of people this has happened to.”

He was making a right turn near Newark airport when his alleged violation occurred. He told Karin Price Mueller of NJ Advance Media that he is a careful driver and didn’t believed he ran through a red signal. He looked at the camera’s video tape.

The video skipped, there was missing footage. He went to Redflerx Traffic Systems of Phoenix, Arizona, which runs this camera. The woman he talked to denied seeing a skip then admitted she did but said it had nothing to do with his alleged violation.

Reporter Mueller looked at it and saw what motorist Gawley saw. Then it was sent to Newark police who said they stood by the ticket. Next Asssemblyman Declan O’Scanlon of Monmouth County viewed it. He said:

“There’s no question that there is a huge gap in the evidence against this guy. In fact, there is no evidence against this guy because that part of the video is completely missing,” O’Scanlon said. “This is the tip of the iceberg. This is one person who called you. There are thousands of people this has happened to.”

Next Mueller reached out to Assemblyman John Wisniewski who loves the gadgets and wrote the bill for the “experiment” to put them in New Jersey. He didn’t see it but his chief of staff blathered on about talking to the department that issued it and how you could go to court etc blah blah blah ….

Reporter Mueller noted “according to a report in The Star-Ledger that cited New Jersey Election Law Enforcement records, (Wisniewski) received $2,500 in campaign contributions from 2007 to 2010 from Redflex Traffic Systems, the camera operator.”

Wisniewski is interested in higher office, like governor. Does he really think voters will look kindly on this when it comes to light in any campaign?

This “experiment” Wisniewski helped set up is set to end in December unless the Legislature extends it. It should kill it dead in its tracks.

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Fiocchi glad to hear South Jersey homeowners affected by August rainstorm eligible for SBA loans

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

Source: South Jersey Times -

The near record-breaking rainstorm that occurred last August caused damage throughout South Jersey, especially in Millville where streets were evacuated and foundations on homes collapsed.

Homeowners that were affected by the rainstorm, however, are now eligible for disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA). SBA personnel will be available for applicants at the Millville Fire Department on High Street. A temporary office will be located on the department’s second floor from Oct. 21 to Oct. 28.

The low-interest loans are available for Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem residents.

Gov. Chris Christie requested that SBA Disaster Loans be made available for residents on Oct. 6.

“This is encouraging news for people and businesses impacted by the storm last August,” said Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi (R-1) in a press release. “Families and businesses that sustained damage have the opportunity to receive much-needed assistance through the SBA program. I appreciate Gov. Christie’s support in taking action to help the people of South Jersey who are recovering from the damage caused by this storm.”

Loans have an interest rate of 2.063 percent for homeowners and renters, 2.652 percent for non-profit organizations and 4 percent for businesses.

The Aug. 12 rainstorm dropped approximately nine inches of rain on Millville and flooded parts of the city.

The SBA office at the Millville Fire Department operates from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Oct. 21 through Oct. 28 — except for Oct. 25 where hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Oct. 26, when the office is closed.

Applications can also be submitted online by visiting https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

For more information, contact the SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling 1-800-659-2955 or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bramnick Visits Jersey City Global Charter School [photos]

Source: Assembly Republican Office -

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick met the students, staff and administration of the award-winning Jersey City Global Charter School.

Bramnick was welcomed by Jose Arango, founding board member of the award-winning school.

The school opened in 2013, and was honored with a Rookie of the Year Award at MicroSociety’s 22nd Annual National Conference, in Phoenix.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Simon wants task force to examine regionalizing schools

Source: Hunterdon County Democrat -

Donna Simon

Citing the merger of South Hunterdon School District, Assemblywoman Donna Simon plans to introduce legislation to create a task force that would look into school regionalization.

According to a statement, recommendations and information from the task force would help local districts consider the benefits and navigate the complexities of school consolidation.

“The successful merger of four school districts in Hunterdon County is proof of the benefits of regionalization in certain communities,” Simon said in a statement. The Republican represents municipalities in Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer and Middlesex counties.

“The South Hunterdon experience demonstrates how difficult the process can be. It requires patience, time and compromise. But the rewards are worth the effort,” Simon said. “Efficient regionalization can be invaluable for controlling or lowering property taxes.”

The task force would study and evaluate the benefits of regionalization, consider the challenges it presents, and review regionalization research and data.

In addition, the task force would make recommendations for overcoming challenges associated with regionalization. These include financing feasibility studies, reducing the cost of pursuing regionalization, coping with issues regarding district governance and financing, and integrating curriculum, programs and staff.

It would also provide resources for communities throughout the state considering regionalization. Simon added that in many cases, school district consolidation would not only help create a more efficient district, but would also save taxpayer dollars.

“We can potentially save millions of dollars by reducing the number of school districts. Small districts cost taxpayers big money,” she said in a statement, citing a Center for American Progress estimate that small districts are costing taxpayers $100 million more than if the districts were larger.

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