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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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Secret DHS Audit Could Prove Governmentwide Hacker Surveillance Isn’t Really Governmentwide

November 25, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A secret federal audit substantiates a Senate committee's concerns about underuse of a governmentwide cyberthreat surveillance tool, the panel's chairman says. The intrusion-prevention system, named EINSTEIN 3 Accelerated, garnered both ridicule and praise following a hack of 21.5 million records on national security employees and their relatives. The scanning tool...

Chinese, Others Hack Interior Data 19 Times

November 24, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Foreign intelligence agents and other hackers attacked Interior Department networks 19 times in recent years, before walking away from keyboards with unknown amounts of stolen data, according to agency inspectors. The incidents are unrelated to a previously disclosed assault on Interior networks connected to Office of Personnel Management systems, the...

State Department Tech Chief Not Plugged Into Cybersecurity at Bureaus

November 23, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This story has been updated with response from State Department officials. At the State Department, where Russian-backed hackers allegedly embedded for at least six months, bureaus are not required to tell the top tech official about system threats, an internal watchdog discovered. Another technical error uncovered? System operators can plug...

ISIS-Endorsed Encryption Provider to Begin Screening Customers

November 23, 2015 When a Pentagon communications provider heard the Islamic State had informed adherents that his firm’s secure messaging app was the best tool to evade government surveillance, the moment of reckoning arrived. The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reproduced an ISIS guide that rated 21 chat apps as "unsafe" (i.e. Facebook's...

Hackers Stay 8 Months at Starwood Hotels, Spy on Kentucky Hospital; IT Worker Accidentally Doxxes 6M Georgia Residents

November 23, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Georgia Voters Accidentally Doxxed by IT Employee Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said he has fired a technology staffer responsible for the illegal disclosure of residents’ personal information. “Our office shares voter...

New Pentagon Website Can Tell If You Were Hacked by China

November 20, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This story has been updated with new details from OPM about the timeline for postal mail notification and the official launch date of the new site. Anyone who has undergone a federal background check to handle classified information, or is a child or spouse of such an individual, now can...

This ISIS-Endorsed Encryption Contractor Says It Will Now Screen Who's Buying Its Services

November 19, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow When a Pentagon communications provider heard the Islamic State had informed adherents that his firm’s secure messaging app was the best tool to evade government surveillance, the moment of reckoning arrived. The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reproduced an ISIS guide that rated 21 chat apps as "unsafe" (i.e. Facebook's...

Education Contractor Withheld Data from Cyber Investigators

November 18, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow An Accenture subcontractor interfered with a security audit of an Education Department financial aid system that inspectors say showed signs of unauthorized access. The situation sounds reminiscent of claims by the government that background check provider USIS obstructed federal investigators from scanning the company's network after a 2014 breach. This...

"Every American Has the Right to Know"

November 17, 2015 In April 2006, a young Democratic senator from Illinois and a graying fiscal conservative from Oklahoma introduced legislation to create a searchable database of federal monetary awards, essentially a Google for government spending. The site would empower citizens to monitor how their tax dollars are spent and uncover waste. President...

Here's An Account of Security Holes at the $1 Trillion Education Dept. Bank

November 17, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Education Department manages more than a trillion dollars in outstanding student loans, making the agency essentially the size of Citibank and an attractive target for hackers. Like many federal agencies, the department is struggling to shore up network defenses. Government watchdogs at a Tuesday congressional hearing counted the ways...