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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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This DHS Computer System Will Cost $2 Billion More than HealthCare.gov

June 18, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Federal auditors are blasting a decade-in-the-making government computer system that was supposed to simplify the immigration application process and improve national security. The so-called “Transformation Program” the Department of Homeland Security conceived in 2005 should have transformed paper-based transactions into online forms years ago. But because DHS has reversed course...

Timeline: What We Know About the OPM Breach (UPDATED)

June 17, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Updated June 26 After no fewer than five congressional hearings and countless hours of testimony from government officials, we’re learning more about the massive breach of sensitive government files at the Office of Personnel Management. We’ve learned hackers first breached the Office of Personnel Management’s networks in late 2013, months...

Heated House Hearing Offers New Clues Into How Hackers Broke Into OPM Networks

June 16, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Attackers made far greater headway into federal personnel systems than was first disclosed by the government, gaining a foothold across an entire multiagency data center and striking a second system holding investigative data on employees with access to U.S. secrets. These revelations surfaced during a heated House hearing Tuesday attended...

Here’s What OPM Told Congress the Last Time Hackers Breached its Networks

June 15, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A day after representatives from a cybersecurity firm who happened to be giving a sales pitch say they detected months-old malware on the Office of Personnel Management’s networks, the agency’s chief information officer, Donna Seymour, testified before Congress that OPM’s leadership and cyber defenses were effective at quickly resolving threats....

Hackers Observe Iran Nuke Talks and Stick Up NYC Bitcoin Owner

June 15, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Spies Hacked Iran Nuclear Talk Hotels Researchers say the malware in play was an enhanced version of Duqu, spyware tied to Israel first identified in 2011. Three hotels were infiltrated by the new-and-improved...

White House Orders Agencies To Beef Up Cyber Defenses 'Immediately'

June 14, 2015 The White House has directed all federal agencies to take a series of swift measures to lock down government systems, in the wake of a devastating hack that possibly delivered Chinese spies data that could compromise national security. A summary of the steps released late Friday evening does not explicitly...

White House Tells Agencies to Tighten Up Cyber Defenses 'Immediately'

June 12, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The White House has directed all federal agencies to take a series of swift measures to lock down government systems, in the wake of a devastating hack that possibly delivered Chinese spies data that could compromise national security. A summary of the steps released late Friday evening does not explicitly...

After OPM Debacle, Three-Step Biometric ID Checks Are Coming

June 12, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Expect computers to require that federal personnel use a smartcard, a password and their fingerprints before logging on, as a way to shore up defenses in the wake of a massive government cyber assault, a top official from the Department of Homeland Security said this week. So-called three-factor authentication goes...

Whose Job Is On the Line After the OPM Hack?

June 12, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow With no one agency coordinating the response to a network assault at the Office of Personnel Management, there are questions about who is liable for security lapses that ultimately laid bare private details on current and past federal employees. The lack of a point person also complicates public outreach and...

It's Costing OPM $20 Million to Contact Hacked Feds

June 9, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Office of Personnel Management on May 28 issued a solicitation to identity theft protection companies, a week before disclosing a hack that exposed private information on millions of current and former federal employees. The day after the breach was made public, OPM finalized a more than $20 million deal...