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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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Pentagon Watchdog: Cyberspace Fighters Need More Resources To Do Their Jobs

December 4, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow An internal watchdog has suggested that resource constraints are dogging the race to position cadres of hacker warriors across the armed forces. The Defense Department Office of Inspector General over the past six months has published classified audits on the Cyber Mission Force Teams. U.S. Cyber Command has set a...

Lawmakers Want National Security Damage Assessment on OPM Hack

December 2, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Several House committees want an unclassified report from President Barack Obama on the damage to U.S. spy operations wrought by the historic breach of federal employee background investigations. The U.S. government has committed to spending $330 million on anti-fraud protections for the 21.5 million victims whose Social Security numbers were...

Here's Air Force’s $49.5M Plan to Outsource Cyberweapon and Counterhack Software

December 1, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This story has been updated with more information from the Air Force. The Air Force is finalizing a $49.5 million plan to hire private sector coders who, by developing software, can sabotage adversary computer systems and thwart incoming hack attacks. An official contract for the "Offensive Cyberspace Operations Defensive Cyberspace...

Leaked Pentagon Bomber Data, Scoop Up Toy Company Details on Kids, and Pinch Credit Cards from Wisconsin Resort

November 30, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Potential Leak of Classified Air Force Data on Bomber Contract Protest Confidential information about a competition for a next-generation U.S. bomber should not have appeared in a Forbes magazine article and the Pentagon...

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...