FDLE closes investigation into cyberattack that disrupted FSA in March

Officials say cyber attack was launched against DOE subcontractor


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has closed its investigation into a cyber attack that disrupted students who were taking the Florida Standards Assessments in March.

"The investigation did not indicate that any items associated with the test administration, including the testing instrument, test results or student information had been compromised," the FDLE said in a statement Wednesday.

The FDLE said the "distributed denial of service" attack was launched against a Department of Education subcontractor and said it occurred as numerous computers and networks accessed the server at the same time.

Officials said the excess of incoming messages or connections blocks legitimate traffic from accessing the system.

The investigation was launched after schools throughout Florida experienced issues while logging into the online test twice.

The second time, education officials said a technical change was made to the testing system that was not approved by the FLDE.

Officials made it clear that the cyber attack was not the same as a data breach or data intrusion.

"I am incredibly grateful to Commissioner Swearingen and his team of investigators at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their prompt response to the cyber-attack that affected so many of our state's students during statewide testing this spring," Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said after the announcement.

"Most importantly, I want to reassure our state's students, parents and educators that, because of the nature of the cyber-attack, no student information was accessed and the content of the assessment was not compromised. I am pleased that the additional safeguards were effective, and we will continue working with AIR to ensure they have all of the necessary protections to provide for a smooth testing experience this year."

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

About the Author: