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Aliya Sternstein

Senior Correspondent Aliya Sternstein reports on cybersecurity and homeland security systems for Nextgov. She has covered technology for nine years at such publications as National Journal's TechnologyDaily, Federal Computer Week and Forbes. Before joining Government Executive, she covered agriculture and derivatives trading for Congressional Quarterly. She has been a guest commentator on C-SPAN, WTOP and Federal News Radio. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
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Agencies to Focus on Illegal Cyberweapons Trade in 2014

December 20, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Agencies governmentwide over the next nine months must work together on guidelines for controlling the trade of cyberwar technology, under newly approved military legislation. In programming, a cyberweapon often refers to malicious code that takes advantage of a software glitch unknown to developers, called a "zero day," to insert itself ...

Defense to Weigh Civilian Cyber Militia

December 20, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Congress has mandated that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel evaluate the practicality of hiring part-time nonmilitary employees to help the National Guard thwart cyberattacks. Some states and other nations, including Estonia, already have volunteer netwarfare squads poised to protect networks controlling oil reserves, subways and other critical infrastructure in times of ...

Can You Save the Whales With a Smartphone?

December 20, 2013 Listen to the story: Download this episode | Subscribe on iTunes One of the rarest large animals on the planet, the North Atlantic right whale can grow up to 59 feet long. These migratory whales tend to stay close to peninsulas and near continental shelves to feed. Hunted to near-extinction, ...

Army Settles on Augusta for Cyber Forces Headquarters

December 20, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Army Cyber Command troops for the first time will be housed together under one chief, service officials said on Thursday, in announcing a collective move to Fort Gordon, Ga., home of the service's Signal Center and Signal Corps, which is responsible for electronic communications. Until now, the command, established in ...

Congress Lops $35 Million Off Funding for NSA Supercomputer Center

December 19, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Deep inside legislation authorizing 2014 Pentagon activities is a line item that reduces construction spending for a National Security Agency data mining facility near Baltimore. The Obama administration had requested $431 million for the third phase of development of the 28-acre server estate. A report accompanying the National Defense Authorization ...

ThreatWatch: Target Offered Hackers Black Friday Sale

December 19, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In-store customers’ credit and debit card data was stolen over the key holiday shopping weekend. The assault hit stores nationwide. The bad guys somehow obtained the account data that cash registers collect when customers swipe their cards. “The type of data stolen — also known as ‘track data’ — allows ...

Energy IG Reports Dating to 2009 Foreshadowed Hack That Hit 104,000

December 16, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Before computer attackers in July breached Energy Department personnel systems, federal inspectors for years had been warning officials about unencrypted sensitive data and urging them to fix application vulnerabilities -- failings that ultimately would lead to the hack of sensitive information on 104,179 individuals, according to a Nextgov review of ...

Data Stolen from 104,000 Energy Employees Was More Sensitive than First Thought

December 13, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Hackers that breached an Energy Department personnel database in July got away with more sensitive data than first disclosed by the government, including some banking information and password security questions of the 104,179 individuals affected, according to internal investigators. A special report released by the Energy Inspector General on Friday ...

18 Months in the Slammer for Energy Supercomputer Hacker

December 12, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to one and a half years in jail for, among other crimes, selling access to Energy Department supercomputers at an asking price of $50,000, the FBI announced on Thursday. Login data sold by Andrew James Miller and accomplices let unauthorized people break into a ...

NSA Spends $1 Billion on Crypto – A Fraction of Total Spy Budget, Researchers Say

December 11, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Only 23 percent of the United States' black intelligence budget goes toward information technology for bugging other IT systems worldwide, according to a new IDC report. That said, researchers expect this slice to widen to up to 34 percent, largely because intelligence analysts need more data collection tools and supercomputers ...