Indistinguishable from magic
The press relase you won’t see.
For Immediate Release CATAWBA COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM, June 26 -- The Catawba County Public School System (NC) announced today that district web site administrators have remedied a configuration error which accidentally resulted in the social security numbers and names of several hundred students being made available via the popular Google search engine. Officials were alerted to the misconfiguration when the confidential data was found by a district parent seeking information on a beauty pageant contestant. Catawba County Schools chief technology officer Judith Ray explained that, although the district's site password-protects areas containing non-public information, the area containing the student information had inadvertently been excluded. "Our web masters immediately recognized their error", Ray added, "and made the change needed to protect this information". All affected individuals have been notified, and the district has modified both its web site configuration, and its document management processes to provide an additional layer of checking against a repetition of the error. Moreover, added Ray, the district has begun a process of removing social security numbers as identifiers from files it maintains. "This information was gathered in another era. Today, it's simply inappropriate. We're updating our databases, just as we've updated our procedures", she explained. The district's quick response was matched by Google. A day after being informed of the exposure, the information was no longer available via the popular search engine.
What you will [link to http://www.hickoryrecord.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=HDR/MGArticle/HDR_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1149188715461 no longer works] see instead:
Q. How did this happen?
A. School system officials say Google broke through the password and
username protected server the information was stored in and took a photo
of the page, which it posted to the Internet.
(Hat tip to lyger)