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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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Why Cybersecurity Dollars Do Not Add Up At the Pentagon

March 30, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow For at least the past four years, the Pentagon has struggled to count up how much defense spending goes toward a "thing" called cybersecurity. Vocabulary plays a part, but also there are Defense Department organizational issues contributing to the murkiness of what this year's $5.5 billion “cyber” investment will buy. ...

Hackers Take on Amazon’s Twitch Gaming Service, Con Car Accident Victims and Cause ‘Deep Shido’ for Judo Club

March 27, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: RadioShack Auctions Off Customer Personal Data Among the assets the bankrupt retailer is selling are the names, email addresses and phone numbers of millions of RadioShack customers. Amazon-owned Twitch Says It’s Probably Been ...

Human Trust Overpowered High-Tech Security in German Air Plane Crash

March 26, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The horror of a pilot allegedly downing Germanwings flight 9525 is an example of high-tech security caving to trust. Government regulators contemplating technical or policy changes as a result of the crash should objectively examine human training first, some aviation experts say. Technical safeguards in place to thwart hackers from ...

Where the Military's Smartest Hackers Aren't Human at All

March 26, 2015 Next month, unmanned computers all over the globe will face off in a dress rehearsal for a Las Vegas hacking tournament run by the U.S. military. The $2 million “Cyber Grand Challenge” pits hacker-fighting software against malicious code programmed by Pentagon personnel. During the 2016 finals in Vegas, the humans ...

The Smartest Hackers in the Room (Hint: They're Not the Humans)

March 25, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Next month, unmanned computers all over the globe will face off in a dress rehearsal for a Las Vegas hacking tournament run by the U.S. military. The $2 million “Cyber Grand Challenge” pits hacker-fighting software against malicious code programmed by Pentagon personnel. During the 2016 finals in Vegas, the humans ...

Agencies Waited Nearly a Month and a Half to Fix High-Threat Vulnerabilities

March 24, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The White House has a new goal to stop malicious emails and compromised websites from scooping up government information. And it's tracking agencies' progress on meeting the objective. But preliminary findings demonstrate agencies have got their work cut out (see page 11). Initial "anti-phishing" and malware defense reports show the ...

The Top Secret Military Mapmakers Spying on ISIS' Oil Smuggling

March 23, 2015 On March 3, an analyst at the Pentagon's clandestine map-making agency briefed the director on a new method for aiding the fight against the Islamic State. By eyeing signs of the black market oil industry, the agency can glean clues to help its partners choke off the source of ISIS' ...

State Says It Mistakenly Gave Itself an F on Email Security

March 23, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Cybersecurity at the State Department might not be as dire as an email shutdown last week and failing grades on a White House report card lead one to believe. A buggy scoring system and self-reporting mistakes are partly to blame for State earning "0" marks on email encryption, for at ...

Hackers Fleece Sam’s Club, Snoop on Chinese Military Projects, and Poach IDs from Blue Cross, Again

March 20, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Blue Cross Blue Shield Worker Stole IDs to Aid $742,000 Sam’s Club Shopping Spree A former customer service representative at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan was part of an identity theft scheme ...

This Is How the Military Eyes ISIS Oil Laundering from the Sky

March 20, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow On March 3, an analyst at the Pentagon's clandestine map-making agency briefed the director on a new method for aiding the fight against the Islamic State. By eyeing signs of the black market oil industry, the agency can glean clues to help its partners choke off the source of ISIS' ...