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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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Senators Want to Give DHS New CYBERCOM-Like Powers to Thwart Civilian Agency Hacks

July 22, 2015 Senators from both parties are pushing to position the Department of Homeland Security as the U.S. Cyber Command of the civilian government, after many agencies refused to fall into line on information security last year. Following the largest known hack of U.S. federal employee information, a bipartisan group of six...

The Top 10 Women Cyber Guardians You Should Know About

July 22, 2015 The paucity of women in math and science extends to the data security realm. Women make up 14 percent of federal government cyber personnel, according to a May (ISC)2 global information security workforce study. The number was even lower in the private sector as recently as 2013: 11 percent. But...

Were Background Investigations Falsified During the OPM Hack?

July 21, 2015 There are growing concerns among some security experts that whoever stole data on 21.5 million federal personnel and family members might have falsified background check information, but U.S. officials say they have no evidence of tampering right now. One motivation for meddling with investigations could be to embed a foreign...

Hackers Enter UCLA Health and Expose Carl’s Jr. Model, While Worker Leaks National Guard Data

July 20, 2015 In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Army National Guard Personnel Data Inadvertently Exposed During a security incident different than the one affecting 21.5 million federal employees and their family members, Guard member information was breached. All current and former...

OPM Changes Privacy Rules to Let Investigators Inside All Databases

July 20, 2015 The Office of Personnel Management has rewritten privacy regulations to let investigators probe all of its databases for breaches. The move to open systems housing medical files, defense mobilization emergency personnel information, and about 40 other types of records, comes after the discovery of significant entryways for hackers in at...

There’s A Plan to Immediately Purge Some Governmentwide Network Surveillance Data

July 16, 2015 After a series of stinging government hacks, the Department of Homeland Security said scans of incoming Internet traffic from the public would be amped up. It has been unclear how this monitoring might affect the privacy of citizens and employees. Now, a little-noticed National Archives and Records Administration assessment offers...

After Dodging the Bullet that Hit OPM, Interior ‘Owns’ Up to Cyber Problem

July 15, 2015 Sometimes, fear is the best motivator. At the Interior Department, this was the case when hackers stole millions of federal employee records from an Office of Personnel Management database stored inside one of Interior's data centers. The assailants left Interior's data unscathed. But point taken, Interior Chief Information Officer Sylvia...

House Panel Dents Budget for Cyber Tool That Scoped out OPM Breaches

July 14, 2015 A House committee has slightly undercut a White House budget request for Department of Homeland Security network surveillance technology integral to post-megahack cleanup. Citing the cost of President Barack Obama's proposed pay raises and concerns about contracting for the tool, lawmakers passed a $474 million measure to fund EINSTEIN --...

OPM Says 84,000 Hack Victims Still Not Notified

July 14, 2015 Nearly 40 days after the Office of Personnel Management divulged that attackers copied millions of government employee personnel records, the agency says it's alerted 98 percent of affected employees. That, however, still leaves 84,000 individuals who have not been notified their privacy has been compromised, according to OPM statistics. The...

Suddenly, Everyone Wants the NSA's Cyber Defense Tech

July 13, 2015 Agriculture companies are now buying cyber-surveillance gear fueled by National Security Agency intelligence, according to a telecommunications company authorized to sell the technology to government and industry. It is the same apparatus that discovered the monumental hack now known to have netted personal information on 21.5 million background check applicants...