Missouri Planned To Thank ‘Hacker’ Journalist Before Governor Accused Him of Crimes

UnknowingFool writes: Two days before Missouri governor Michael Parson (R) accused a newspaper reporter, Josh Renaud, of “hacking” for reporting about a fixed flaw in a state website, the state government of Missouri was planning to publicly thank Renaud for alerting them of the flaw, emails show in a public records request. Two days later, however, the Governor publicly accused Renaud of crimes. Also in the request, emails show that a day before the article was published the state’s cybersecurity specialist informed other state officials that “this incident is not an actual network intrusion.” [Instead, the state’s database was “misconfigured,” which “allowed open source tools to be used to query data that should not be public.”]

St Louis Dispatch reporter, Josh Renaud, had discovered that the state’s website was exposing the Social Security Numbers of teachers and other school employees in the HTML code of the state’s site. He informed the state who fixed the flaw, and he delayed publishing the article until after the flaw was fixed. The article was published on October 14. The same day, Governor Parson accused Renaud of cyber crimes. A week later, Parson doubled down after criticism.