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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 Rig Election, Steal Nintendo Games from FHWA, and Force College Printers to Print Hate Speech

April 4, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Jailed Political Strategist Describes How He Rigged Mexico's 2012 Election Supporters of Enrique Peña Nieto hacked opponents to help him win Mexico’s 2012 presidential election, according to one incarcerated Colombian coder who says...

Federal Community Mourns Bob Welch (1942-2016)

April 1, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Bob Welch, a former top federal contracting official at agencies fanning the executive branch, passed away Thursday. He succumbed to cardiac arrest after a 4-month illness. Co-workers say, above all else, their friendship with the mentor and visionary will be missed. After retiring from public service in 2000 as the...

Soldiers to Help Crowdsource Spy Maps

April 1, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Pentagon plans to flesh out satellite imagery partly by crowdsourcing data transmitted from soldiers venturing into loosely charted spots. "Every soldier is a sensor," said Jennifer Ivey, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Geospatial Center. "Wherever they are sent to do their mission, they collect data to improve situational...

The Internet of Things Means Hospitals Are More Hackable Than Ever. The VA is Prepared.

March 31, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow An ongoing rash of malware attacks holding medical records hostage at hospitals nationwide has only corrupted traditional IT systems -- as far as we know. But that may change now that medical devices, narcotics vaults and alarm systems are networked and capable of succumbing to the same types of worms....

DHS: Agencies Reported 321 Cases of Potential Ransomware

March 30, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Federal agencies since last summer have alerted the Homeland Security Department to 321 possible malware infections with the potential to hold government networks hostage. Fortunately, it seems, the "ransomware" infections in all the cases were neutralized by severing the affected computers from the agency's network. "The department is not aware...

Obama Extends ‘Emergency’ Cybersecurity Powers

March 29, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow President Barack Obama on Tuesday said computer attacks remain a national emergency and informed Congress he will renew the administration's power to sanction overseas hackers. It has been nearly a year since Obama authorized financial penalties against foreign hackers, although he has not exercised his power yet. Last week, the...

Are Agencies Still Overusing Social Security Numbers? Lawmakers Want an Audit

March 28, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Watchdogs in the House want to know if agencies are still excessively using Social Security numbers to identify federal employees or dole out government benefits, after a surge in SSN breaches has made ID theft a snap. Agencies were supposed to stop defaulting to SSN identification starting nearly a decade...

Hackers Manipulate Water Treatment Operations, Invade Adele’s Privacy, and Plunder Diamonds on the High Seas

March 28, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Hacktivists Mess with Chemicals in Water Treatment Plant Talk about your doomsday scenario: Hackers infiltrated a water utility’s control system and changed the levels of chemicals used to treat tap water, according to...

What Happens When You Click on That Fox News ‘Trump Quits’ Video?

March 28, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Memo to people receiving a Fox News email that reports Donald Trump has bowed out of the presidential race: Spam campaign season is in full effect. A fake March 24 article inside carries a Bill O'Reilly byline and starts off with a video captioned, "This is the ONLY video I've...

Someone is Breaching HealthCare.gov, But It's Not a Hacker

March 24, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The online Obamacare marketplace has experienced a type of breach common in the private medical sector – but it doesn’t involve hackers. Of the 300-some reported security incidents that have impacted HealthCare.gov and supporting machines, there was a single malicious intrusion, according to federal auditors. The other instances of exposure...