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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

"New security for New York"

ALBANY, June 11 -- It’s been estimated that identity theft costs more than eight million
American consumers an estimated $40 billion annually.

In fact, according to the Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse, in 2009 New York State ranked eighth in the nation in per capita identity theft complaints. So it’s clear that the availability of information in computer databases and the rapid growth of Internet commerce have produced a new gang of criminals who abuse technologies to steal consumer information and ruin consumer credit. Indeed, identity theft is considered the No. 1 and fastest-growing financial and consumer crime of this era.

The tactics of today’s cyber criminals change as fast as our technology – usually faster. It all serves to highlight the ongoing challenge to keep identity theft prevention strategies ahead of identity thieves. New York became the 43rd state in the nation to enact an identity theft law in 2002. But security studies continually point to the overriding reality that we have to update our laws as frequently as cyber criminals update their ability to break them. It’s no easy task.

Identity theft was just one of the topics covered at last week’s 15th Annual New York State Cyber Security Conference in Albany. Recognized as the Northeast’s premiere conference for cyber security education, it’s co-sponsored by the State Division of Homeland Security and the Emergency Services’ Office of Cyber Security (OCS).

That’s right, New York government operates an office dedicated to focusing on the short- and long-term challenges surrounding cyber security -- yet another indication that these issues of economic and information security pose some of the most difficult and urgent challenges of the 21st century.

“As all aspects of our daily lives become increasingly reliant on Internet-connected devices, those devices are constantly subjected to sophisticated and evolving attacks,” said state OCS Director Thomas D. Smith. “Consequently, it is necessary for those responsible for information security to work to maintain the skills required to operate in this challenging environment. This conference brings together experts from government, the private sector, and academia to share information on the latest threats and the means to address them.”

Or, as noted by Peter A. Bloniarz, Dean for the College of Computing and Information Assurance, a conference co-sponsor, “With so much of our society and economy on-line, the conference is a terrific opportunity to get high-quality information about keeping ourselves and our information safe.”

It’s a concern at every level of government. At a recent federal hearing of the House Financial Services Committee, one cyber security banking official testified on the proliferation of the latest online “phishing” scam whereby criminals send emails to unsuspecting victims claiming to be from a group such as the National Automatic Clearing House Association, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or the United States Postal Service. Once the victim clicks on the link, his or her computer is automatically infected with malicious software that captures online banking information.

From identity theft to threats to children on the Internet, the concerns addressed at last week’s Cyber Security Conference have become a fact of everyday life for most citizens.

One of the most effective means of prevention remains this one: inform yourself and your family and friends about online safety.

One great place to turn for this vital information is the state Office of Cyber Security at In addition to an overview of last week’s conference, you can also find a “Daily Cyber Security Tip,” a Cyber Tips newsletter, and cyber advisories and alerts, as
well as information on local government security and keeping children safe online.

Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara


Schuyler County Officials

Legislature Members:

Top row (from left): Dennis Fagan, Thomas Gifford, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison

Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Phil Barnes, Stewart Field


Legislature Chairman

Dennis Fagan, Tyrone 607-292-3687

Legislature Members:

Michael A. Yuhasz, 535-4967

Doris L. Karius, 546-5544

Barbara Halpin, 594-3683

Glenn R. Larison, 594-3385

Thomas M. Gifford, 535-9517

Phil Barnes, Watkins Glen 481-0482

Stewart Field, Watkins Glen 535-2335

County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133

Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222

Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222

County Treasurer: Margaret Starbuck, 535-8181

District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383


State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County

Sen. Charles E. Schumer

United States Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
DC Phone: 202-224-6542
DC Fax: 202-228-3027
Email Address:

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
DC Phone: 202-224-4451

State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)

Room 812, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2091
Fax: (518) 426-6976

Assemblyman Christopher Friend -- Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
Room 720, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-4538


© The Odessa File 2011
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869