DDoS Attacks Disrupt Miami-Dade Public Schools Virtual Learning Classes, Police Looking for Culprits

• Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) have suffered daily DDoS attacks since school year’s launch
• Students and teachers advised using alternative methods to connect to online classes
• FBI and US Secret Service called to investigate the cyberattacks

The Miami-Dade school year is off to a rocky start, with thousands of students unable to connect to their virtual online classes through the K12 e-learning platform due to software glitches and DDoS attacks on school network systems.

“As we launched the 2020-2021 school year this week using our distance learning platform, My School Online (MSO), Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) faced a number of connectivity issues, resulting from both a software malfunction and malicious cyber attacks,” M-DCPS said. “Today, M-DCPS learned from its Internet Service provider Comcast that our systems had also been targeted by Distributed Denial-of-Service cyber attacks during the first two days of distance learning.”

Although the school district claims that the software malfunction was resolved by Monday night, some students and teachers still can’t connect to the online portal set up for distance learning.

“M-DCPS continues to be targeted by cyberattacks,” Miami-Dade County Public Schools said in a tweet. “Multiple attempts have been made this morning. The District’s security and safeguard measures have been successful thus far. The 200,000 students who have been successfully logged on are asked to remain logged on. Students and teachers who are having trouble logging on are asked to use the alternative log method provided earlier this week.”

As of today, the K12 platform was restricted for grades 6 through 12, and students are recommended to connect via Microsoft Teams, Zoom or alternative software, depending on school and teacher instructions. However, the school district announced that Pre-K-5 students will continue to use the K12 platform for online classes.

“Data analysis indicates that while there are still some connectivity challenges in this area for these grades, overall student performance and engagement supports remaining on the platform,” M-DCPS added. Despite multiple cyberattacks that “caused massive disruptions to all District web-based systems,” the school district claims that no student or employee was accessed by attackers.

“At no time were our firewalls compromised and no student or employee personal data was accessed,” the notification reads.

M-DCPS says it is working with the FBI and US Secret Service to investigate the attacks, noting that offenders will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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