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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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The Military Is Hiring a Rapid Cyber Response Team -- in Case Commissaries Get Hacked

April 8, 2016 Updated April 11 with additional information from a Defense Commissary Agency spokesman. Military base grocery stores are vulnerable to computer hackers, according to the Pentagon, which says it needs private cyber forensics investigators on call. If a payment system breach were to occur, the team would respond within an hour....

DHS: Cyberattack on the Ukraine Power Grid Could Happen Here

April 6, 2016 A type of cyberattack that recently turned off the lights in Ukraine could bring any vital U.S. sector to its knees, cautioned a top Homeland Security Department official. After leveraging a cribbed password, a group of unidentified hackers Dec. 23, 2015, knocked out power to 225,000 of the foreign country's...

Ex-NSA Deputy Director Wants Coded Messages for All

April 6, 2016 The former National Security Agency deputy director wants encryption on more consumer technologies. However, techies, entrepreneurs and the feds should first be hashing out its application, to defuse tensions over the prospect of coded messages for all, Chris Inglis said. "We need to see it flourish in broader society," he...

The Pentagon Still Hasn't Decided Who's In Charge If America Comes Under Cyberattack

April 4, 2016 One of the Pentagon’s key missions is to lend a hand—or a drone—during natural disasters or other domestic emergencies. But it is unclear, in the event of of a massive data breach, which element of the Defense Department is in charge of military support, according to Congress' watchdog agency. In...

Military Commands Tussle Over Cyber Power

April 4, 2016 One of the Pentagon’s key missions is to lend a hand -- or a drone -- during natural disasters or other domestic emergencies. But it is unclear, in the event of of a massive data breach, which element of the Defense Department is in charge of military support, according to...

Hackers Rig Election, Steal Nintendo Games from FHWA, and Force College Printers to Print Hate Speech

April 4, 2016 In case you missed our coverage this week in ThreatWatch, Nextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches: Jailed Political Strategist Describes How He Rigged Mexico's 2012 Election Supporters of Enrique Peña Nieto hacked opponents to help him win Mexico’s 2012 presidential election, according to one incarcerated Colombian coder who says...

Federal Community Mourns Bob Welch (1942-2016)

April 1, 2016 Bob Welch, a former top federal contracting official at agencies fanning the executive branch, passed away Thursday. He succumbed to cardiac arrest after a 4-month illness. Co-workers say, above all else, their friendship with the mentor and visionary will be missed. After retiring from public service in 2000 as the...

Soldiers to Help Crowdsource Spy Maps

April 1, 2016 The Pentagon plans to flesh out satellite imagery partly by crowdsourcing data transmitted from soldiers venturing into loosely charted spots. "Every soldier is a sensor," said Jennifer Ivey, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Geospatial Center. "Wherever they are sent to do their mission, they collect data to improve situational...

The Internet of Things Means Hospitals Are More Hackable Than Ever. The VA is Prepared.

March 31, 2016 An ongoing rash of malware attacks holding medical records hostage at hospitals nationwide has only corrupted traditional IT systems -- as far as we know. But that may change now that medical devices, narcotics vaults and alarm systems are networked and capable of succumbing to the same types of worms....

DHS: Agencies Reported 321 Cases of Potential Ransomware

March 30, 2016 Federal agencies since last summer have alerted the Homeland Security Department to 321 possible malware infections with the potential to hold government networks hostage. Fortunately, it seems, the "ransomware" infections in all the cases were neutralized by severing the affected computers from the agency's network. "The department is not aware...