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At least three teachers’ SSNs viewed during Missouri DESE website breach

The event happened on Tuesday

The social security numbers of at least three educators were taken, decoded, and viewed by a hacker when the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education experienced a period of time when the site was compromised.

The event happened on Tuesday and involved a multi-step process where a hacker took teacher records, decoded the HTML source code, and view their social security numbers.

A news release from the Missouri Office of Administration says,

“Upon verification of the vulnerability, DESE immediately notified Missouri’s Office of Administration Information Technology Services Division (OA-ITSD), as the web application where the vulnerability existed is programmed and maintained by OA-ITSD. The educator certification search tool was disabled immediately by removing public access to the system and updating the code to repair the vulnerability.

It is important to note that these records were only accessible on an individual basis, and there was no option to decode SSNs for all educators in the system all at once. The state is unaware of any misuse of individual information or even whether the information was accessed inappropriately outside of this isolated incident.”

Governor Mike Parson also commented on the situation today, saying,

“My administration has notified the Cole County prosecutor of this matter. The Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Digital Forensic Unit will also be conducting an investigation of ALL of those involved.

This incident alone may cost Missouri taxpayers up to $50 million and divert workers and resources from other state agencies. This matter is serious.
The state is committing to bringing to justice anyone who hacked our system and anyone who aided or encouraged them — In accordance with what Missouri law allows AND requires.”
You can view Governor Parsons’s full comments here.

Educators and stakeholders can click here to stay informed on the situation.

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