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Aliya Sternstein

Senior Correspondent Aliya Sternstein reports on cybersecurity and homeland security systems. She’s covered technology for more than a decade at such publications as National Journal's Technology Daily, Federal Computer Week and Forbes. Before joining Government Executive, Sternstein covered agriculture and derivatives trading for Congressional Quarterly. She’s been a guest commentator on C-SPAN, MSNBC, WAMU and Federal News Radio. Sternstein is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
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Bitcoin Could Become Gold Standard at Ft. Knox Florist

July 16, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Flower shop Petals and Blooms, located inside a Kentucky military base, now accepts the virtual currency Bitcoin for online purchases. The Fort Knox florist is part of BloomNation.com, an online service that connects customers with local stores and handles payment processing. Currently, Bitcoin buys account for about 1 percent of ...

Unclear Whether OPM Hackers Accessed Feds’ Names

July 15, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Office of Personnel Management is not required to tell employees whether attackers who recently breached a human resources database saw their names. The hackers, believed to be from China, apparently wanted files on staff who have applied for top-secret security clearances, The New York Times previously reported. OPM and ...

Paper Folders Twice As Fast As Computerized Immigration System

July 15, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Story has been updated to include comment from USCIS officials. After six years of development, a new automated system for processing immigration forms takes twice as long as processing applications by hand, according to a Department of Homeland Security internal watchdog. The $1.7 billion information technology project, called Transformation, began ...

FBI Explores Commercial Cloud Capabilities

July 14, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The story has been updated to remove a reference to a separate FBI cloud request for proposals, also issued July 11. The FBI is pondering a move to online storage of criminal records, fingerprints and other biometric data, partly to expedite rap sheet searches, according to bureau contracting officers and ...

Hackers Piggyback Off US Marshals Leak, Unnerve Wilmer Valderrama and Contaminate Videos

July 11, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Australia-based Bitcoin fund robbed of $70,000 after US Marshals accidentally leaked contact info The email address of Sam Lee, co-founder of Bitcoins Reserve, was made public by accident, allowing an attacker to send ...

Should Feds Have Been Told About the OPM Hack?

July 11, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Federal officials have no yardstick for determining when to tell government employees their personal data may have been compromised -- a likely reason potential victims of a March breach of personnel databases still have not been notified. In April, federal auditors criticized agencies for poor breach notification, partly because there ...

97 Percent of Key Industries Doubt Security Compliance Can Defy Hackers

July 10, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Only 3 percent of information technology executives at utilities and other businesses critical to society strongly believe security rules and standards decrease threats to the systems running their operations, according to a new study. The Ponemon Institute report, expected to be released today, comes amid warnings by the Department of ...

Obama Requests Drone Surge for U.S.-Mexico Border

July 9, 2014 President Barack Obama today requested $39 million for aerial surveillance, including unmanned aircraft operations, as part of an effort to systemically take care of what he called an urgent humanitarian situation. The emergency funding would go toward 16,526 additional drone and manned aircraft flight hours for border surveillance, and 16 ...

Why It Costs $1.7 Billion to Computerize Immigration Forms

July 9, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The agency in charge of processing immigration forms has awarded a potentially $58 million contract to four vendors to computerize the casework, as the government strains to handle the nation’s 12 million undocumented foreigners. Tech Consulting, DV United, Cascades Technologies, and Agilex will earn software programming jobs from U.S. Citizenship ...

The Snowden Effect

July 9, 2014 Revelations last year that the National Security Agency is collecting Americans’ telephone metadata soured some people’s opinions about the U.S. intelligence community, but they apparently haven’t affected the views of many computer security professionals. Anecdotal evidence suggests that leaks by Edward Snowden, the former systems administrator and contractor with the ...