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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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New NIST Guidance: Don't Make Security an Afterthought

May 13, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The government's standards-making body on Tuesday announced guidelines for agency technologists and industry engineers on how to bake security into critical systems. The steps, currently in draft form, are meant to consummate an approach the Office of Management and Budget has been advocating since 2010, under the first-ever federal chief ...

German iPhone Hackers Pledge to Fund Snowden

May 12, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The largest European hacker association, recently hailed for demonstrating weaknesses in the iPhone's fingerprint security system, will help cover expenses that former federal contractor Edward Snowden accrued while disclosing U.S. and British surveillance activities. Snowden, now living in Russia, is racking up large bills as he attempts to evade extradition ...

It Took Feds 13 Days to Unravel a TSP Cyber Hoax Perpetrated by... Feds

May 9, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Thrift Savings Plan officials went into damage control mode in February when a stranger appropriated the TSP trademark and propped up a fake federal retirement fund website for a phishing scheme. Internal emails reveal that officials governmentwide struggled for two weeks to positively identify the perpetrator. It turned out the ...

Do You Know Who Runs the Dot-Airforce Internet Domain?

May 9, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The growing number of domain name extensions, such as dot-airforce, might mean federal agencies run into more email phishing schemes, some brand reputation consultants say. Copycats recently generated a fake Thrift Savings Plan retirement fund website and sent Army members emails directing them to change their passwords as a part ...

Cyber Medic

May 9, 2014 After the flubbed debut of the HealthCare.gov website, Kevin Charest, chief information security officer at the Health and Human Services Department, knew he had to roll up his sleeves alongside the people who make the agency’s programs work. “In many ways my job has been to set policies at the ...

Hackers Target Nuke Data; Change Grades, Steal Mom's Identity

May 9, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Navy systems administrator went on hacking spree at sea A gang of hackers that included a service member on a nuclear aircraft carrier breached the Pentagon’s National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the biometric Transportation ...

Feds: You Need to Fix Your TSP Passwords This Weekend

May 7, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The website of the Thrift Savings Plan, the retirement program for 4.6 million federal employees and retirees, gives identity thieves clues about how to crack users passwords, some security analysts say. As it happens, TSP plans to change its password policy this coming weekend to eliminate those clues, a spokeswoman ...

The Fingerprint Scanner You Don't Want on Your Smartphone

May 7, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The FBI plans to offer agents smartphone apps for taking a suspect's fingerprints on the streets and has obtained permission to test the technology on Android-based devices. This is not your typical iTouch or Google Play game. Contracting documents hint that the the tool might use other biometrics -- such ...

Is a Biometric Immigration Exit System Worth $7 Billion?

May 6, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The push to stand up biometric checkpoints for foreigners departing the country would not, right now, yield expected benefits, such as quickly spotting people with invalid visas, according to a new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center. The advantages of an immigration entry-exit system based on digitized physical markers, like ...

It's Hard to Say If This Baltimore Crime Lab Whittled Down Its DNA Sample Backlog

May 5, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A federally-funded Baltimore crime lab could not show progress processing backlogged DNA samples because incoming and outgoing analysis-tracking systems weren't linked, according to a newly-released Justice Department audit. Justice gave the City of Baltimore Police Department Crime Laboratory $1.2 million to reduce a logjam of unanalyzed DNA evidence, from October ...