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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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Hackers Spy on Federal Investigator, Get Into Harvard Illegally and Email Themselves School Secrets

July 6, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Contractors Hacked Other Contractors and Agencies for Financial Gain Twins Muneeb and Sohaib Akhter, 23, admitted breaking into a slate of systems, including State Department networks, while working as government contractors. They infiltrated...

Pentagon Contractors Rank Below Retailers and Banks When it Comes to Cybersecurity

July 5, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Updated July 7: The post below has been updated to further clarify that BitSight’s security rating of the defense contracting sector does not apply to specific companies but reflects a median score of the top 25 defense contractors. Some companies’ individual scores were higher than the median, BitSight notes. After...

DHS Alerts Public to OPM-Related Phishing Scams

July 1, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This story was updated July 2 to include details from DHS. A Department of Homeland Security crisis response squad is cautioning about deceitful emails that claim to come from either the Office of Personnel Management or the fraud-prevention firm hired to protect identities netted in the gargantuan hack at OPM....

Why the Lawsuit Against OPM over the Massive Data Breach Faces an Uphill Battle

July 1, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A class action lawsuit against the Office of Personnel Management over a massive breach of federal employees’ data faces an uphill battle, privacy law experts say. The American Federation of Government Employees says OPM and a contractor violated the 1974 Privacy Act by neglecting to secure employees' personal data, which...

Pentagon, OPM Shut Down Background Check Systems

June 30, 2015 A Defense Department Web system that tracks employee background investigations will be offline for an unspecified amount of time, while officials fix security holes in a civilian agency database connected to the tool, according to department officials. A vulnerability in an Office of Personnel Management tool that links to the...

Federal Employee Union Sues Over OPM Hack, Citing Financial and Emotional Distress

June 29, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The nation's largest federal employee union Monday filed a class action lawsuit against top officials at the Office of Personnel Management for the massive government data breach that exposed the personal information of millions of current and former federal employees. A complaint filed in U.S. District Court by the American...

After Hack, Officials Pull Plug on Pentagon and OPM Background Check Systems

June 29, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A Defense Department Web system that tracks employee background investigations will be offline for an unspecified amount of time, while officials fix security holes in a civilian agency database connected to the tool, according to department officials. A vulnerability in an Office of Personnel Management tool that links to the...

After Historic Hack, OPM Chief's 15-Point Plan May Be Too Little, Too Late

June 29, 2015 A cyber strategy announced last week by the head of the agency that hackers robbed of sensitive dossiers on federal employees has potential to deter future attacks, say private investigators who probe computer espionage campaigns. During multiple Capitol Hill appearances, Katherine Archuleta, director of the Office of Personnel Management, referenced...

Hackers Expose Narcotics Dealers, Dump Canadian Officials’ Credentials and Sell Patient Records for $3

June 29, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: WikiLeaks Saudi Cable Release Resembles Work of Iranian Hackers It seems Iranian hackers were responsible for stealing the 70,000 Saudi Arabia Foreign Ministry documents that recently popped up on the extreme-transparency website. The...

OPM Chief’s New Cyber Defense Operation Has Potential, Private Investigators Say

June 28, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A cyber strategy announced last week by the head of the agency that hackers robbed of sensitive dossiers on federal employees has potential to deter future attacks, say private investigators who probe computer espionage campaigns. During multiple Capitol Hill appearances, Katherine Archuleta, director of the Office of Personnel Management, referenced...