Thursday, 31 March 2022
Explanation of Recent Changes to Public Certificate Search
By: Jenna Mueller
Recent visitors to the FSC Public Certificate Search at www.info.fsc.org will have noticed changes to the user experience.
While a completely new FSC Public Search had been planned for later in the year, a security incident on February 8 necessitated immediate deployment of an alternate view. On February 8, the database displayed incorrect information – examples included valid certificates incorrectly marked as terminated and, in some cases, display of certificate holders’ AAF class. FSC International immediately took down the website and investigated, and it was determined that due to operator error, the FSC Public Search database had been corrupted, which resulted in invalid data displays. The database’s corruption was contained and there was no loss of data; however, there is no way to revert to the previous database. In a herculean effort over the span of a day, FSC International created a temporary FSC Public Search database based on Microsoft Power BI. While there have been some additions of functionality and ironing out of bugs, there will be no major changes to this temporary database until a new database platform can be released, likely later in 2022. Unfortunately, with this shift to a temporary database, data entry errors have been noted. If any certificate holder checks the Search and finds incorrect information listed, they should contact their certification body directly to ensure it is corrected. FSC International can only fix technical issues; not the data itself. Certification bodies can contact firstname.lastname@example.org with issues such as changes not being reflected in the database (allow 24 hours to refresh). If the issue hasn’t been resolved, please inform the US office at email@example.com.
We realize that the loss of Search functionality, the ability to identify suppliers in particular states, and especially the ability to export data and easily print long lists of suppliers, products, sites, etc. is a challenge that affects all users of the platform – including US staff! We will continue to push for changes that can provide maximum functionality with the new data platform and for timely updates on when we can expect the the new platform to be available.
For those who are able to use the Certificate Status Watch on the FSC Trademark Portal, it is still functioning and was unaffected by the incident on February 8.
Additional information about the security incident is available here.