Police have arrested a Florida high school student for alleged cyberattacks that rendered the Miami-Dade school district’s remote learning platform almost impossible to use.
The student, an unnamed 16-year-old junior at the South Miami Senior High School, admitted to attacking the school’s My School Online platform, which is designed to let students attend school from home during the coronavirus pandemic, the Miami-Dade public school district announced Thursday.
Since the launch of the new school year Monday, the school district had been besieged by distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which overwhelm a network with internet traffic, aiming to slow it to a crawl or knock it offline. Many students who tried to log in to My School Online were reportedly met with continual “please wait” screens.
Tools and services to conduct DDoS attacks are easily found on dark web hacker forums, and such attacks can be hard to attribute, but the student admitted to “orchestrating” eight of them, the school district said Thursday.
The Miami-Dade school district’s dedicated police department had help from the FBI and the Secret Service, federal agencies that frequently investigate cybercrimes, the school said.
That department’s chief of police, Edwin Lopez, said he believed the student wasn’t alone, and that law enforcement is looking for the others.
“We believe, based upon our investigation, that other attackers are out there. We will not rest until every one of them is caught and brought to justice. Cyber attacks are serious crimes,” he said in a statement.