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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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The Federal Government Is Finally Updating Y2K-era Cybersecurity Baselines

October 23, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The last time the federal government updated its IT strategy, the requirements dealt with protecting "dial-in access," bulletin boards, and passwords. That was in 2000. The plan -- still in effect today and labeled Circular A-130 -- makes no mention of contractor security, encryption, multistep ID authentication, or patching security...

CIA: Brennan AOL Files on WikiLeaks ‘Absolutely’ Not Official Agency Work

October 21, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A trickle of files allegedly stolen from the CIA director's hacked AOL account posted on WikiLeaks Wednesday predate his recent government service and do not involve official agency business, a CIA official said. The six documents published on the website date from 2007 and 2008, and include an application for...

Here’s How OPM Is Telling Hacked Feds Their Data Was Stolen

October 19, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Victims of a data breach that exposed intimate details on national security professionals inside and outside government, along with their families have begun receiving a generic notification letter directing them to a government website for assistance. But, be forewarned, the site at the Office of Personnel Management, the agency responsible...

OPM Says It Breaks Encryption to Monitor Employees' Browsing Habits

October 19, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The code-breaking National Security Agency and the recently hacked Office of Personnel Management have more in common than one would think. Both keep tabs on the Internet traffic of government workers to prevent malicious actors from penetrating U.S. networks. NSA breaks into the private communications of foreign adversaries for intelligence...

Hackers Hand US Troops to ISIS, Read Dow Jones Too Early and Scrawl All Over ‘Adult Mag’

October 19, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Hacker Allegedly Handed U.S. Service Member Data to ISIS ISIS urged supporters online to attack the named troops and other government employees. According to a complaint filed in the Eastern District of Virginia,...

Dark Web 101: What Feds Need to Know About the Underbelly of the Internet

October 18, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow You receive a letter: "I am writing to inform you that we recently became aware of a cybersecurity incident that may have exposed your personal information." About 104,000 Energy Department employees and 800,000 Postal Service workers opened one, warning about identity theft. Federal employees who swiped credit cards at Target,...

OPM: ‘There’s No Way’ to Isolate Background Check Systems from the Internet

October 15, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A system separated from the Internet, like those that safeguard classified military data, is not practical for security clearance data, an Office of Personnel Management official said Thursday. "Air-gapped" computers are used by defense organizations, nuclear power plants and other environments that require the tightest security. But a federal human...

Could Dell Go Too Far on Cybersecurity under EMC Mega-Merger?

October 14, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The merger of federal contractors Dell and EMC potentially could lead to a sale of overlapping identity security assets that would otherwise eat away at the new parent company’s profits, some analysts say. According to EMC officials, customers will see a larger security venture result from the deal. Under the...

Hackers Peruse Dow Jones Subscribers, Breach Samsung Pay’s Tech Provider and Slurp 11,000 Outlook Passwords

October 13, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Banking Details on Dow Jones Subscribers Possibly Breached It appears criminals hacked the Wall Street Journal-publisher’s systems to access customer contact information with the intent of sending deceptive mailings. Dow Jones also owns...

OPM to Fully Do Away with Passwords for Network Access – In 2 Years

October 13, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Following one of the most devastating government data breaches ever revealed, the Office of Personnel Management is on track to replace password logins with two-step identification for accessing agency networks in two years, according to new goals set by the Obama administration. Suspected Chinese espionage artists allegedly used a contractor's...