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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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TSA Just Handed a $15,000 Prize to Mystery Baggage Profilers

April 3, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Transportation Security Administration announced that two parties have won an agency-sponsored contest to figure out a way to assess the threat-level of an individual passenger’s suitcase. But the award notice, published online, does not identify the victors or what they proposed. Or even how much money they won. The ...

Lost Your Green Card? Now You Can Replace it Online

March 31, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A website supposed to fully computerize what is now a paper-based immigration system by 2013 has scored a small win, by adding a form for replacing green cards, according to federal officials. The addition of the Form I-90 application brings the total number of transactions available on ELIS (a tribute ...

Why the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Dollars Don't Add Up

March 31, 2015 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. ...

Pentagon Rolls Out 'NSA-Proof' Smartphones

March 31, 2015 The Defense Department has rolled out supersecret smartphones for work and maybe play, made by anti-government-surveillance firm Silent Circle, according to company officials. Silent Circle, founded by a former Navy Seal and the inventor of privacy-minded PGP encryption, is known for decrying federal efforts to bug smartphones. And for its ...

Pentagon Personnel Now Talking on 'NSA-Proof' Smartphones

March 30, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Defense Department has rolled out supersecret smartphones for work and maybe play, made by anti-government-surveillance firm Silent Circle, according to company officials. Silent Circle, founded by a former Navy Seal and the inventor of privacy-minded PGP encryption, is known for decrying federal efforts to bug smartphones. And for its ...

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 ...