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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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The Snowden Effect

July 9, 2014 Revelations last year that the National Security Agency is collecting Americans’ telephone metadata soured some people’s opinions about the U.S. intelligence community, but they apparently haven’t affected the views of many computer security professionals. Anecdotal evidence suggests that leaks by Edward Snowden, the former systems administrator and contractor with the ...

Obama Wants Drones to Be Part of Border Migration Solution

July 8, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow President Barack Obama today requested $39 million for aerial surveillance, including unmanned aircraft operations, as part of an effort to systemically take care of what he called an urgent humanitarian situation. The emergency funding would go toward 16,526 additional drone and manned aircraft flight hours for border surveillance, and 16 ...

DEA Anticipates Awarding Contract for Sensitive Justice Cloud

July 7, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The agency tasked with fighting narcotics trafficking expects to need online access to a commercial data center to store a growing amount of sensitive mapping data -- and to save money, according to a contract plan. The Drug Enforcement Administration on Monday issued a notice stating it is surveying the ...

Do You Want To Pay for USPS Shipping With Cash Or Bitcoin?

July 3, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The hard-up U.S. Postal Service is asking citizens whether they would ship more items if novel payment technologies were accepted, as virtual currencies and smartphone transactions gain in popularity. The USPS inspector general website invites customers to post comments about “innovative payment methods” that would entice them to use agency ...

Hackers Log Into DQ, Remember the ‘80s, and Rip Off Poor People

July 3, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Intrusion at payment system vendor trickles down to Dairy Queen customers Information Systems & Supplies Inc., which sells so-called point-of-sale systems to restaurants, says a hack involving login information might have compromised diners’ ...

A Computer to Watch Over Federal Watch Guards

July 2, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The government is contemplating using an employee-tracking system to ensure officers guarding the nation’s 9,000 federal facilities are on duty and qualified to be on duty. The proposal follows an Obama administration effort to spot "insider threats" among the federal and contractor workforces, such as the Navy Yard shooter who ...

DHS Raises Alarms over Malware Targeting Power Operations

July 1, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Department of Homeland Security is emphasizing the threat of a hacker operation that already has attacked U.S. and European energy companies and can disrupt power. The group behind the campaign is affiliated with Russia, according to security researchers. On Tuesday, DHS reposted and updated for the third time since ...

The Downside of Not Exhausting a $6 Billion Cyber Contract

June 30, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Agencies are partially taking advantage of a huge bulk-price governmentwide deal to help automate network vulnerability-tracking and fix problems in real-time, according to federal officials. If departments underutilize the arguably complex acquisition program, the upshot could be saving money on a potentially $6 billion contract. But if agencies latch onto ...

New Facility Will Rehearse Foreigner Iris and Facial Recognition at Airport Exits

June 27, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Department of Homeland Security has created a biometric-testing center to aid rollout of a long-awaited congressionally mandated system for tracking foreigners with invalid visas, DHS officials said Friday. The goal of the Upper Marlboro, Maryland, facility is to help Customs and Border Protection expedite traveler screening at U.S. entry ...

Greenpeace Spy Blimp Spies on NSA Spy Center

June 27, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A diverse array of special-interest groups Friday launched a 135-foot-long surveillance airship over a colossal National Security Agency Utah supercomputer center to protest what they say is unlawful government surveillance. Electronic Frontier Foundation activist Parker Higgins, who helped organize the spectacle, tweeted an eagle-eye view of the facilities, with the ...