82ºF

Miami-Dade Schools: Students log on successfully after days of cyber slowdowns

16-year-old local teen arrested, but Russia, Ukraine, China, Iraq also suspect in cyberattacks

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – “Today was a far better day I guarantee you than yesterday overall,” Miami-Dade County Superintendent of School Alberto Carvalho said Thursday.

As of 1:30 p.m., over 203,000 students across multiple grades had successfully logged in to My School Online through K12, according to Jackie Calzadilla, director, media relations, for Miami-County Public Schools.

“Despite secondary teachers being advised that they could use Microsoft Teams, over 110,000 secondary students accessed the platform Thursday. Further, over 26,000 Class Connect sessions had been conducted by 1:30 p.m. representing almost 40,000 hours of connection time. 166,720 students used Microsoft Teams.”

(Scroll to end of story to see the contracts for the My School Online K12 platform)

A news conference provided new details about the cyberattacks that plagued the school district’s online learning platform since Monday.

The attacks go back to Monday and were partially to blame for the massive slowdown students and teachers have been facing since online learning began this week.

On Thursday, a 16-year-old junior at South Miami Senior High School was arrested after investigators said he was responsible for at least 8 of the attacks, but Carvalho said other players involved may be from foreign nations. There were possibly at least 12 attacks by noon Wednesday.

“It takes no joy, because he was one of us, in announcing the early morning arrest of a 16-year-old student. There are other attacks from foreign nations such as Russia, Ukraine, China, Iraq, and possibly others.”

Miami-Dade Schools Police traced an IP address responsible for the attacks to David Oliveros.

The police department investigated the cyber attacks, along with the FBI, the Secret Service and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“It’s something we have never dealt with, not only internally, but our local law enforcement partners haven’t either,” Commander Edwin Lopez, Miami-Dade School Police, said.

Oliveros confessed to “orchestrating eight Distributed Denial-of-Service cyber attacks, designed to overwhelm District networks, including web-based systems needed for My School Online.”

Investigators said the student used an online application to carry out the attacks.

“We were able to seize and confiscate not only the computer device but also the gaming system,” Lopez said.

Oliveros was arrested on charges of computer use in an attempt to defraud, which is a second-degree felony, and interference with an educational institution, which is a second-degree misdemeanor.

“The glory is not worth it,” Carvalho said. “This fleeting moment of fame will quickly vanish.”

Local 10 learned the teen is not in jail, but is currently in the custody of his parents.

Questions still need to be answered about the K-12 online platform itself and the more than$15.3 million contract. It appears the contract was not signed by Carvalho when the online school year started.


About the Authors: