JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.– Gov. Mike Parson is speaking about a recent hack involving the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) website. The department says at least three educators’ information was taken.
Parson will discuss the state’s efforts to strengthen data security and the steps that will be taken to hold those involved accountable.
The state says it learned that personally identifiable information was potentially compromised on Oct. 12.
Officials say through a multi-step process, an individual took the records of at least three educators, unencrypted the source code from the webpage, and viewed the social security number (SSN) of those specific educators.
DESE notified the state’s Office of Administration Information Technology Services Division and the educator certification search tool was disabled.
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 says it is unaware of any misuse of the information.
The state says the investigation is still ongoing.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says it discovered the vulnerability in a web application that allowed the public to search teacher certifications and credentials.
The paper reports DESE removed the affected pages Tuesday after The Post notified them of the breach. The paper says it delayed publishing the news to give the department time to take steps to protect the information.
The state says it is making every effort to contact the impacted educators. Officials suggest reviewing account statements and monitoring free credit reports, like those available at AnnualCreditReport.com.