The launch of the Miami-Dade school year was abruptly interrupted last week by a series of DDoS attacks targeting school IT infrastructures and the K12 e-learning platform that allows teachers and students to participate in online classes.
The first three days of distance learning were made impossible for a large number of students, and the school district was forced to open an investigation alongside the FBI and US Secret Service to find the culprit.
According to a press release, on the morning of September 3, Miami-Dade Schools Police (M-DSPD) arrested a 16-year-old student allegedly responsible for the cyberattacks.
“Miami-Dade Schools Police (M-DSPD) made an arrest related to the cyber-attacks that have maliciously disrupted teaching and learning since school began on Monday,” officials said. “M-DSPD detectives traced an IP address responsible for the attacks to a 16-year-old student, a junior at South Miami Senior High School.”
The teenager, who admitted to carrying out eight DDoS attacks against Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ (M-DCPS) systems, used an online application to orchestrate the attacks. He is charged “with Computer Use in an Attempt to Defraud – a 3rd degree felony, and Interference with an Educational Institution – a 2nd degree misdemeanor.”
However, the school district suffered more than a dozen DDoS attacks last week and believes that other individuals were behind the rest of the attacks.
“Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) has been the target of more than a dozen of these types of attacks since the 2020-2021 school year began,” M-DCPS added. “Detectives are continuing their investigation to determine whether additional individuals are responsible for the attacks.”
Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent of Schools, has also commented on the incident.
“I commend our detectives, the FBI, Secret Service, and FDLE for their tireless efforts to pursue those responsible for these attacks,” Carvalho said. “It is disheartening that one of our own students has admitted to intentionally causing this kind of disruption, however, I am confident that the M-DCPS family will continue to show its resilience and commitment to education, in the face of adversity.”