The investigation of a Missouri News organization is done; the investigation, conducted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol started following revelations of a journalist revealing a flaw in a state database.
According to an OzarksFirst report, on Monday Patrol Capt. John Hotz informed the St. Louis Post-Dispatch “that results of the investigation were turned over to Cole County Prosecuting Attorney Locke Thompson.” Additionally, the article states that it is unclear if charges will be filed, and it notes that Missouri Governor Mike Parson “announced the investigation in October after a Post-Dispatch reporter informed the state of a significant data issue that left Social Security numbers of educators vulnerable to public disclosure.” The article also states that the Post-Dispatch “held off publishing a story about the flaw until the state fixed it” and that a “state news release called the journalist a hacker.”
Ozarks DynaCom’s News Department contacted Parson’s office for comments from his communications team or himself; Communications Director Kelli Jones responded. Jones did not comment on the completed investigation, but instead she provided details on the incident and why the journalist was called a hacker. “Through a multi-step process, an individual admitted to taking the records of at least three educators, decoded the HTML source code, viewed the SSN of those specific educators, and shared findings. Upon receiving this notice, DESE [the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education] immediately contacted the Missouri Office of Administration ITSD, who programs and maintains the web application, to remove public access to the portal and update the code. This matter is serious. The state is committing to bring to justice anyone who hacked our system and anyone who aided or encouraged him to do so in accordance with what Missouri law allows and requires.”