Police arrest teen for hacking Miami-Dade County virtual classes

9 months ago 52
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Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Police arrested Thursday a 16-year-old student for allegedly hacking virtual classes in Miami-Dade County this week.

The teen is a junior at South Miami Senior High School, according to district spokeswoman Jackie Calzadilla, Local 10 News reported.

Calzadilla said police made the arrest after tracing an IP address involved in the attacks to the student.

The suspect was identified in the arrest report as David Oliveros.

Since the school year began Monday, Miami-Dade County Public Schools has been targeted by more than a dozen cyberattacks, including distributed denial of service, which along with a software malfunction, have disrupted the ability of students to attend virtual classes in the district of more than 200,000 students.

The suspect admitted to "orchestrating eight distributed denial-of-service cyberattacks, designed to overwhelm district networks, including web-based systems needed for My School Online," Calzadilla said.

Police arrested Oliveros on a third-degree felony charge of computer use in an attempt to defraud, and a second-degree misdemeanor of interference with an educational institution.

"It is disheartening that one of our own students has admitted to intentionally causing this 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," Superintendent of Schools Alberto Carvalho said in a statement.

Carvalho also said in a news conference that resources have been confiscated from Oliveros, and they are being forensically analyzed by law enforcement and others.

He added that this does not rule out other protagonists from foreign nations, such as Russia, Ukraine, China, Iraq and possibly others.

Carvalho added that the district has received support from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is also the acting chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

"After learning that Miami-Dade County Public Schools had been the target of numerous cyberattacks, I have asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary for a briefing on efforts to protect our school systems as they attempt to return to the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic," Rubio wrote in a letter to Carvalho. "I continue to stand ready to assist your efforts to ensure our students receive the best education possible absent in-person learning during these trying times."

Miami-Dade Schools Police Department Chief Edwin Lopez said in a news conference that the department has "worked tirelessly" with the FBI, the Secret Service and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Lopez added that based on the investigation he believes "other attackers are out there."

"They will not stop until every person is brought to justice that intentionally tries to infiltrate and impact our district and the learning environment," Lopez said.

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