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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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Crooks Tricked This IRS System into Providing False IDs

10:21 AM ET Identity thieves tricked an Internal Revenue Service system into issuing them PINs under the names of other taxpayers so they could file for their victims' refunds, according to the tax agency. The so-called e-file PINs are required to file federal returns electronically, if you are missing other acceptable types of...

Hacker May Have Punched Through FBI Cyber Security With One Phone Call

February 10, 2016 The departments of Justice and Homeland Security are investigating a Justice hack allegedly made possible by the enemy of secure logins—IT support. Many federal agencies, including Justice, recently switched on two-factor authentication intended to stop hackers from busting into government databases with merely a password. But that second factor for...

Justice, DHS Probe Hack Allegedly Made Possible By DOJ Help Desk

February 10, 2016 The departments of Justice and Homeland Security are investigating a Justice hack allegedly made possible by the enemy of secure logins -- IT support. Many federal agencies, including Justice, recently switched on two-factor authentication intended to stop hackers from busting into government databases with merely a password. But that second...

White House Wants to Revamp Cybersecurity In New $19B Plan

February 9, 2016 The White House today proposed spending 35 percent more on IT security efforts in 2017 and announce an immediate opening for a U.S. chief information security officer. The funding and personnel adjustments come after a year of constant disclosures about agency hacks that, in the most egregious case, compromised 21.5...

Obama’s 2017 Budget Boosts Cyber Spending by 35 Percent, Adds Federal CISO

February 9, 2016 The White House today proposed spending 35 percent more on IT security efforts in 2017 and announce an immediate opening for a U.S. chief information security officer. The funding and personnel adjustments come after a year of constant disclosures about agency hacks that, in the most egregious case, compromised 21.5...

Hackers Doxx Fraternal Order of Police, Exploit Alibaba’s Cloud, and Bop TaxSlayer

February 8, 2016 In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Attackers Doxx Biggest U.S. Police Union A hack at the Fraternal Order of Police has been traced to an IP address in the U.K. “They were able to feed our system a pseudo-encryption...

Speed Dialer Aims to Profit off IRS' Terrible Customer Service

February 8, 2016 A former high-frequency trader fed up with waiting on the phone for an Internal Revenue Service customer service agent has developed, in essence, bots that are continuously near the front of the call queue and will switch places with you for a few bucks. The short-staffed IRS call center is...

OPM Head Pledges to Help Resolve Mystery Over Who Spotted the Big Breach

February 4, 2016 The nominee to head the hacked Office of Personnel Management says she is working with Congress to answer the question of whether a vendor discovered an OPM network breach during a product demonstration, contrary to her predecessor's testimony that the agency detected the hack. The night before Acting OPM Director...

Oversight Committee Chair Subpoenas OPM Director for Hack Documents

February 3, 2016 The top Republican on the House's federal watchdog committee has subpoenaed Office of Personnel Management Acting Director Beth Cobert to supply documents relating to a severe breach of personal information on U.S. national security employees. The hack of background check records in OPM systems, which was discovered last April, predates...

Could a More Secure Online Browser Protect Background Check Hack Victims?

February 3, 2016 The former head of the CIA's European division whose intimate secrets were bared by a sweeping U.S. background check hack says the $330 million worth of identity monitoring services the federal government is offering victims will not protect them online. Richard “Hollis” Helms, a 45-year-veteran of the intelligence community, has...