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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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Are Agencies Still Overusing Social Security Numbers? Lawmakers Want an Audit

March 28, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Watchdogs in the House want to know if agencies are still excessively using Social Security numbers to identify federal employees or dole out government benefits, after a surge in SSN breaches has made ID theft a snap. Agencies were supposed to stop defaulting to SSN identification starting nearly a decade...

Hackers Manipulate Water Treatment Operations, Invade Adele’s Privacy, and Plunder Diamonds on the High Seas

March 28, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Hacktivists Mess with Chemicals in Water Treatment Plant Talk about your doomsday scenario: Hackers infiltrated a water utility’s control system and changed the levels of chemicals used to treat tap water, according to...

What Happens When You Click on That Fox News ‘Trump Quits’ Video?

March 28, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Memo to people receiving a Fox News email that reports Donald Trump has bowed out of the presidential race: Spam campaign season is in full effect. A fake March 24 article inside carries a Bill O'Reilly byline and starts off with a video captioned, "This is the ONLY video I've...

Someone is Breaching HealthCare.gov, But It's Not a Hacker

March 24, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The online Obamacare marketplace has experienced a type of breach common in the private medical sector – but it doesn’t involve hackers. Of the 300-some reported security incidents that have impacted HealthCare.gov and supporting machines, there was a single malicious intrusion, according to federal auditors. The other instances of exposure...

US Intelligence Wants Computers That Spot Fake Fingerprints

March 23, 2016 With Americans increasingly using fingerprint recognition to secure everything from smartphones to U.S. borders, impostors are inventing some pretty creative ways to fake out biometric readers. Now, the spy community is fighting back. A 4-year project just launched to develop artificial intelligence that should automatically detect spoofed fingertips, facial images...

Pentagon Cut Off Access to Personal Email to Fight Malicious Messages

March 23, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Pentagon officials last week cut off employee access to private webmail after a malicious, pervasive email campaign was spotted. Employees could not log on to commercial webmail services from the military's network for about 48 hours beginning Thursday night, according to the Defense Department. The Defense Information Systems Agency, which...

Spy Researchers Take on Biometric ID Hackers

March 22, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow With Americans increasingly using fingerprint recognition to secure everything from smartphones to U.S. borders, impostors are inventing some pretty creative ways to fake out biometric readers. Now, the spy community is fighting back. A 4-year project just launched to develop artificial intelligence that should automatically detect spoofed fingertips, facial images...

White House Says Agencies Reported 77,200 Cyber Incidents in 2015

March 21, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The annual performance review for agency information security is in and, while it does not mention there were big breaches this year, the scores reflect an executive branch in need of a significant IT tune-up. During fiscal 2015, federal departments collectively reported 77,183 cybersecurity incidents, a 10 percent uptick from...

DHS Calls Over-Cost Delayed Immigration Casework System a ‘Turnaround Story’

March 21, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed statements to a USCIS spokesman. In fact, they should be attributed to USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez. The story has been corrected. The Department of Homeland Security insists plans for a $3.1 billion system to digitize immigration casework are on track, despite...

Hackers Expose Trump, Run License Plate Numbers for Friends, and Post ISIS ‘Kill List’ Detailing Cops

March 21, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Hacktivists Expose Trump...Sort Of After the hacker activist collective Anonymous threatened to declare "total war" on GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, it leaked two numbers. One is an alleged SSN and the other...