MIAMI, FL - September 10, 2020 - According to an online news report from wsvn.com, Miami-Dade Schools Police made a public announcement alleging a 16-year-old South Miami Senior High student has been arrested for conducting cyberattacks against Miami-Dade County Public Schools' online school system. The suspect is a student at South Miami Senior High and is in his junior year. The student was placed under arrest last week at his residence at approximately 2:45 in the morning. Alberto Carvalho, Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent, made the announcement of the arrest during a morning news conference.
Mr. Carvalho stated that he was saddened to break the news that the suspect in the cyberattacks was, indeed, one of the students. The Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent continued with his statement by saying to the teenager, "What you did is you contributed to the extreme disruption, anxiety-causing stress, confusion across a school system."
According to law enforcement statements, the teen suspect in the cyberattacks admitted that he organized eight cyberattacks on the Miami-Dade County Public Schools' online school systems. Law enforcement investigators also stated that the suspect allegedly committed the crimes using a gaming console in the cyberattacks against the school's network. The cybercrime investigators stated that the school network attacks were initiated at the beginning of the school year and while the school district "debuted" the school system's new platform.
Law enforcement confiscated the suspect's gaming system and personal computer as part of their investigation of the teen's alleged cybercrimes. The teen suspect has been arrested and was charged with computer use in an attempt to defraud. The crime is a felony in the third-degree. The student is also charged with interference with an educational institution, which is a misdemeanor.
Police also believe this arrest will be the first of many arrests to come. The Miami-Dade Schools Police has been worked with several agencies on this case. The Miami-Dade Schools Police has been coordinating and working with the Secret Service, FBI, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The team of investigators successfully traced back the IP address of the alleged criminal who was conducting the cyberattacks. According to the detectives working the investigation, the teams are looking into other IP addresses linked with the crimes.
The Miami-Dade County Public Schools' online school network was attacked using techniques that created a Denial of Service (DOS). In other words, teachers and students who were attempting to access virtual classrooms were often denied access, locked out, or dropped out of the network over a three day period. The DOS attacks affected tens of thousands of users.
At the beginning of the attacks, the school district leaders believed the issue was a server-related problem. However, the Miami school superintendent was notified of several cyber-attacks upon the school networks. The cyberattacks continued for an additional day, totaling three days of problems. Mr. Carvaho said there were over twenty-four cyberattacks launched against the Miami-Dade County Public Schools' online school systems. The last attack occurred at approximately 3 in the morning of the arrest.
The teen suspect was released to his parents and will make his first court appearance before the juvenile court on October 8, 2020.