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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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New hacker techniques threaten agencies

April 20, 2007 With hackers constantly concocting new types of malicious software, government agencies are struggling to stay abreast of the latest threats, according to testimony released Thursday by federal auditors. One new trick that intruders are trying involves a covert form of "malware" called a rootkit. A rootkit remains dormant, invisible to...

from govexec

Ex-Official: Education database had history of lax security

April 18, 2007 A student-loan database that the Education Department partially closed Tuesday had a history of lax sanctions and security, according to a former department official. "I don't think the student-loan database has ever been designed with security and privacy in mind," the former official said Tuesday. "The focus is on ease...

from govexec

FDA's Web overhaul won't inform public, critics say

April 16, 2007 Contrary to the expectations of the Food and Drug Administration, a planned overhaul of the FDA's Web site will not generate a better informed public, some health experts say. On Friday, FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach sent a memorandum to FDA staff, stating, "A modern and effective FDA Web site...

from govexec

Trust and logistics key to standard employee ID cards

April 13, 2007 The ongoing task of issuing all federal contractors common identification cards will involve a great deal of trust and logistics, federal officials said at a credentialing conference on Friday. In October, agencies were required to start issuing standardized IDs to all employees and contractors who access government buildings and computer...

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Compatibility dictates rollout of emergency responder, port IDs

April 12, 2007 Compatibility issues are dictating the rollout speed of ongoing, large-scale deployments of biometric identification cards for emergency responders and port workers, according to panelists who spoke Thursday at a government credentialing conference. One such "smart card" program coordinated by the Homeland Security Department is intended to give federal, state, and...

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Lawmakers, others urge more attention to drug review system

April 10, 2007 Harmful medicines like the arthritis drug Vioxx will continue to stay on the market until the government devotes more resources to managing and modernizing the drug review system, say some doctors, lawmakers and consumer advocates. The Food and Drug Administration's ongoing efforts to move to an all-electronic review system may...

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Reported drop in free tax e-filings revives criticisms

April 9, 2007 The popularity of the Free File program for electronically filing federal income-tax returns continues to decline, according to a new report by government auditors. "Taxpayers' use of the Free File program -- an alliance of companies that offer free return preparation and electronic filing on their Web sites to eligible...

from govexec

Military medical facilities plagued by IT problems

March 28, 2007 Dysfunctional, disparate information technology systems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and other medical facilities that treat service members are inviting errors, some lawmakers say. Tom Davis of Virginia, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, "remains deeply concerned about aging, inadequate and stovepiped...

from govexec

NASA is shirking its educational duties, union says

March 23, 2007 NASA's largest union complained in a March 16 letter to congressional appropriators that the space agency is "shirking its outreach and educational responsibilities." On Friday, Lee Stone, vice president for legislative affairs at the Ames Research Center chapter of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, said that as...

from govexec

Study: Government outpaces private sector on telework

March 22, 2007 U.S. companies, traditionally the early adopters of new technology, lag behind the government in adopting telework partly because of evolving notions of productivity, some industry analysts say. On Monday, the information technology vendor CDW Government released a national telework study that shows federal agency telework adoption outpaces private-sector acceptance by...