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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TSA to travelers: Keep taking off those shoes

January 31, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Transportation Security Administration has abandoned a project to buy shoe-scanning devices that would allow airline passengers to waltz through security checkpoints without removing their Uggs and Nikes. The government could not find a tool in the marketplace that met its requirements, TSA officials said this week. Possible reasons contracting...

U.S. lags Finland, Sweden and Israel in cybersecurity

January 30, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The United States and China are less prepared for disruptive computer attacks than smaller countries such as Finland and Israel, according to the first-ever ranking of individual nations' cybersecurity postures. The smaller nations' greater dependence on the Internet and strong private sector oversight partly contributed to their high scores, noted...

Feds need to start thinking like hackers

January 30, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Most government employees do not consider their usernames and passwords to be hot commodities, but that attitude began to change with a network attack on security contractor HBGary Federal. In early 2011, members of the hacker activist group Anonymous leaked an executive's email exchanges with FBI, Homeland Security Department and...

European Union proposal could foil U.S. hacker probes

January 27, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Cesare Abbate/Newscom Internet privacy protections that the European Commission introduced this week could undermine American investigations into stateside data breaches, some security and legal experts say. Several of the reforms focus on safeguarding data in the cloud, where online applications are managed by an offsite company's computer centers. Europe's proposed...

Federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra to step down

January 27, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This story has been updated. The first-ever U.S. chief technology officer, Aneesh Chopra, is leaving the government in early February, White House officials announced Friday. "As the federal government's first chief technology officer, Aneesh Chopra did groundbreaking work to bring our government into the 21st century," President Obama said in...

A Rail Attack, or a Communications Problem?

January 26, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Who knows what really happened to a railway in the Pacific Northwest last month? Nobody who's willing to say, apparently. Nextgov's reporting on a Transportation Security Administration memo that stated unequivocally hackers executed a "targeted attack" on a railroad and disrupted signals leaves a lot of unanswered questions. For starters:...

House Homeland Security lawmakers request sole oversight of DHS

January 25, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The top House Republican and Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee have asked Speaker John Boehner to consolidate congressional oversight of the Homeland Security Department within one House committee -- theirs. On Tuesday evening, Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., and ranking member Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., announced they had sent Boehner, R-Ohio,...

Supreme Court Defers to Congress on Smartphone Tracking

January 24, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In a potential quandary for Congress, the Supreme Court ruled that government authorities must obtain a warrant before attaching GPS devices, like car-mounted electronics, to track suspects. But they didn't rule on tracing the location of mobile devices, like smartphones, that officers have never touched. In United States v. Jones,...

Hackers manipulated railway computers, TSA memo says

January 23, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Lenny Ignelzi/AP File This story has been updated with new information from the railroad industry and to clearly state the industry's contention that the TSA memo was inaccurate. Hackers, possibly from abroad, executed an attack on a Northwest rail company's computers that disrupted railway signals for two days in December,...

Hackers manipulated railway computers, TSA memo says

January 23, 2012 Hackers, possibly from abroad, executed a targeted attack on a Northwest rail company's computers that disrupted railway signals for two days in December, according to a government memo recapping outreach with the transportation sector during the emergency. Read the whole story at

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