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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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Could a More Secure Online Browser Protect Background Check Hack Victims?

February 3, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The former head of the CIA's European division whose intimate secrets were bared by a sweeping U.S. background check hack says the $330 million worth of identity monitoring services the federal government is offering victims will not protect them online. Richard “Hollis” Helms, a 45-year-veteran of the intelligence community, has...

DHS-Supported Scans of Private Networks Prompt Suspicions of Domestic Surveillance

February 1, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A new Department of Homeland Security-supported information security service that scans private sector networks could expand domestic surveillance, civil liberties groups say, citing documents associated with the activity. Under the "Enhanced Cybersecurity Services" program, DHS feeds government intelligence about network threats to approved Internet Service Providers so they can immunize...

Hackers Social Engineer Amazon Worker, Bug Wendy’s Payment System and Defraud Boeing Supplier

February 1, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Fraud Victim Claims a Duped Amazon Customer Service Rep Opened His Digital Life to Hackers “All a hacker needs to unlock your whole damn life is your name, email address, and a mailing...

DHS Chief Defends $6 Billion Federal Firewall after Stinging Audit

February 1, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Updated 4:50 p.m. to include a statement from Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Jan. 31 defended the past accomplishments and future potential of a counterhack tool that was criticized in a recent...

US Homeland Security's $6B Firewall Has More Than a Few Frightening Blind Spots

January 29, 2016 A firewall run by the Department of Homeland Security meant to detect and prevent nation-state hacks against the government functions ineffectively, according to a sanitized version of a secret federal audit. EINSTEIN relies on patterns of attacks, called signatures, to spot suspicious traffic, but it does not scan for 94...

DHS $6 Billion Firewall May Not Be Effective In Keeping Hackers Out of Government, Audit Says

January 28, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A firewall run by the Department of Homeland Security meant to detect and prevent nation-state hacks against the government functions ineffectively, according to a sanitized version of a secret federal audit. EINSTEIN relies on patterns of attacks, called signatures, to spot suspicious traffic, but it does not scan for 94...

What Does the Chemical Safety Board Have in Common with OPM and Target?

January 28, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The government board that investigates industrial chemical accidents does not keep track of computer systems it has outsourced to contractors, which could jeopardize information confidentiality, a federal inspection has found. The perpetrators behind many notorious data breaches exploited similar vulnerabilities. The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, or CSB,...

Look Who's Worried About the NSA's 96 Percent Retention Rate

January 27, 2016 An unlikely figure is worried that the National Security Agency managed to hang to more than 90 percent of its science, technology, engineering and math whizzes last year: NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers. With claims of 545,000 unfilled U.S. IT jobs, it might seem counterintuitive that a leader maintaining a...

Who’s Worried About the 96 Percent Retention Rate at NSA?

January 26, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow An unlikely figure is worried that the National Security Agency managed to hang to more than 90 percent of its science, technology, engineering and math whizzes last year: NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers. With claims of 545,000 unfilled U.S. IT jobs, it might seem counterintuitive that a leader maintaining a...

Oversight Lawmakers Probe Extent of Juniper Hack Across Federal Government

January 25, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A key House committee is probing the use, across the U.S. government, of Juniper Networks firewalls now known to have been hacked. Last month, the company announced the discovery of unauthorized code in its technology that could allow an "attacker to gain administrative access" to certain devices and "decrypt VPN...