Missouri Governor Mike Parson (R) on Thursday suggested he was ready to continue St. Louis Post-Dispatch staff after the newspaper published a story expose data risk on the state education department website.
Driving the news: The Post-Dispatch informed the state on Tuesday after discovering the vulnerability, which left the Social Security numbers of 100,000 employees vulnerable to public disclosure. Parson’s remarks on Thursday echoed the rhetoric of a declaration by the ministry, describing the journalist as a “hacker”.
Be smart: The newspaper said the private information was not clearly visible or searchable, but instead appeared in the HTML source code of the pages in question. The HTML source code is publicly available to anyone with a web browser.
At a press conference Thursday, Parson said the âindividualâ who alerted the state had obtained the private information through a âmulti-step processâ and was trying to âembarrass the state and sell titles for its mediaâ.
- “The state is committed to bringing to justice anyone who hacked into our system and anyone who aided and encouraged them to do so, âParson said.
- “Not only will we hold this individual accountable, but we will also hold accountable all those who have helped this individual and the media company that employs them.”
Post-shipment disputed Parson characterization, citing the University of Missouri-St. Cybersecurity professor Louis Shaji Khan, who noted that the content was encoded but not encrypted, so it could be viewed without a decryption key.
- âWe support our reporting and our reporter who did everything right. It is unfortunate that the governor chose to blame the journalists who discovered the website problem and brought it to the attention of DESE, âPost-Dispatch editor Ian Caso said on Thursday.
To note: The newspaper informed the department of its findings before publishing the article, giving the department time to remove web pages that contained the exhibit.