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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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DHS Chief Defends $6 Billion Federal Firewall after Stinging Audit

February 1, 2016 Updated 4:50 p.m. to include a statement from Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Jan. 31 defended the past accomplishments and future potential of a counterhack tool that was criticized in a recent...

US Homeland Security's $6B Firewall Has More Than a Few Frightening Blind Spots

January 29, 2016 A firewall run by the Department of Homeland Security meant to detect and prevent nation-state hacks against the government functions ineffectively, according to a sanitized version of a secret federal audit. EINSTEIN relies on patterns of attacks, called signatures, to spot suspicious traffic, but it does not scan for 94...

DHS $6 Billion Firewall May Not Be Effective In Keeping Hackers Out of Government, Audit Says

January 28, 2016 A firewall run by the Department of Homeland Security meant to detect and prevent nation-state hacks against the government functions ineffectively, according to a sanitized version of a secret federal audit. EINSTEIN relies on patterns of attacks, called signatures, to spot suspicious traffic, but it does not scan for 94...

What Does the Chemical Safety Board Have in Common with OPM and Target?

January 28, 2016 The government board that investigates industrial chemical accidents does not keep track of computer systems it has outsourced to contractors, which could jeopardize information confidentiality, a federal inspection has found. The perpetrators behind many notorious data breaches exploited similar vulnerabilities. The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, or CSB,...

Look Who's Worried About the NSA's 96 Percent Retention Rate

January 27, 2016 An unlikely figure is worried that the National Security Agency managed to hang to more than 90 percent of its science, technology, engineering and math whizzes last year: NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers. With claims of 545,000 unfilled U.S. IT jobs, it might seem counterintuitive that a leader maintaining a...

Who’s Worried About the 96 Percent Retention Rate at NSA?

January 26, 2016 An unlikely figure is worried that the National Security Agency managed to hang to more than 90 percent of its science, technology, engineering and math whizzes last year: NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers. With claims of 545,000 unfilled U.S. IT jobs, it might seem counterintuitive that a leader maintaining a...

Oversight Lawmakers Probe Extent of Juniper Hack Across Federal Government

January 25, 2016 A key House committee is probing the use, across the U.S. government, of Juniper Networks firewalls now known to have been hacked. Last month, the company announced the discovery of unauthorized code in its technology that could allow an "attacker to gain administrative access" to certain devices and "decrypt VPN...

TurboTax, H&R Block and TaxAct all Use This Security Feature. Why Doesn’t the IRS?

January 25, 2016 Major online tax preparation firms, within months of customer account hacks, all required many users to sign on with passwords, plus codes delivered by text or email. But a year after crooks gamed IRS.gov to view 334,000 taxpayers' records, the agency says it will not be able to shift to...

Hackers Defraud TaxAct Customers, Snoop into U-Va. Personnel Data, and Breach Brigham and Women's Hospital

January 25, 2016 In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: ID Thieves Access TaxAct Customers' Personal and Financial Data Fraudsters who apparently gamed TaxAct's identify verification controls compromised, and may have copied, personal and tax return information from hundreds of customers. In addition,...

NSA Director: Expect More Hacks As Big As the OPM Heist

January 22, 2016 The head of the National Security Agency, who doubles as the Pentagon's cybersecurity lead, expects there will be more hacks as big as the Office of Personnel Management data heist. Grouping the OPM theft with a data compromise at health insurer Anthem that victimized 78.8 million people, Adm. Mike Rogers...