Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

Missouri governor wants to sue journalist for warning leftist teachers in state

Pictures: Michael B. Thomas (Getty Images)

The Missouri government is threatening to take legal action against a newspaper reporter who pointed out a shiny cyber security breach on one of its websites. Instead of thanking the reporter, Governor Mike Parsons accused him of “hacking” and claimed he wanted to see him face a criminal trial.

Its reporter, Josh Reynaud St. Louis post-dispatch, Recently discovered that the Missouri Department of Primary and Secondary Education website has published nearly 100,000 Social Security numbers on the Internet, including public school teachers, administrators and other education officials.

How did it happen? Renaud That report The website apparently contained personal informationThe HTML source code of the website has been added – fairly unfortunate The Bungalow magazine later verified its results with a professor of cybersecurity at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who called Flob “upset.” The paper then responsibly exposes the weakness to the government, giving officials time to unload the affected pages. Finally, on Thursday, the paper published its results.

However, instead of thanking Renaud and the newspaper for helping the government identify a major mistake, Governor Parsons later announced that he would take legal action against them. Thursday, Parsons Held a press conference Where he claimed that the state website had been “hacked” and the perpetrator would be legally held accountable. During his remarks, the governor claimed that this “hacker” was involved in a “multi-step process” to view and download “records of at least three teachers”. He later announced that Cole County prosecutors and Highway Patrol’s digital forensic unit would investigate the incident.

“It simply came to our notice then. The state is committed to bringing to justice anyone who has hacked our system and anyone who has aided or abetted them – Missouri law which approves and requires, “Parsons said. Tweeted later. “A hacker is someone who gains unauthorized access to information or content. This person was not allowed to do anything. They had no permission to convert or decode the code.

However, it would seem that Person Infosec did not rely on Twitter’s anger, which spread to Vitriel shortly after his press conference. Computer science experts have come out of the woodwork to find that what the governor is saying doesn’t sound like hacking at all – like the state doesn’t know how to create websites.

“Do not encode people’s SSN in publicly available webpage HTML. And if you do, if someone notices and (quite responsibly) warns you, don’t call the police. Tweeted Matt Blaze is a computer science researcher at Georgetown Law. “Also, don’t tweet things that make you look stupid” He added.

Software engineer and journalist Tony Webster Said The governor is “threatening to prosecute a journalist who has done 100% ethical work,” and also mentions that Reynaud was involved in “gold standards for reporting security failures.”

“It’s ridiculous. Viewing HTML sources is not hacking, “said David Cook, chief of The Christian Science Monitor’s Washington bureau. Tweeted Kato Institute technology associate Julian Sanchez. “Every web browser has a ‘View Source’ button. And … you have already ‘accessed’ the source code of the webpage you are viewing. That’s what the server sends to your browser! ”

Renowned computer scientist Marcus Hutchins, meanwhile, tweeted only the following in a clear reference to a misunderstanding of Person’s computer:

True, state and local government employees are not known for their advanced technical skills. But, until we are completely absent about this episode, Parsons seems to have really set foot in it. Even if the governor isn’t very good at computer science, state governments have IT departments that have staff who can explain to leaders how websites work and why a person like Renaud would probably be considered a well-rounded helper – not a “hacker.”

We’ve been investigating the incident with both the Missouri Information Technology Services Division and the Governor’s Office, and will update this story if they respond.

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