Cyberattack on Miami schools prompts Marco Rubio to request DHS briefing
Sen. Marco Rubio. Image via AP.

marco rubio
Senator blames "hostile actors, including foreign cybercriminals."

The first few days of school in Miami-Dade County have been marred by cyberattacks, and a Florida Senator wants answers from the Department of Homeland Security.

Sen. Marco Rubio, the Acting Chairman of the Intelligence Committee of the United States Senate, reached out Wednesday to Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, expressing concerns about the problems that have sabotaged the start of school in the South Florida county.

The Senator sought a briefing after a dozen cyberattacks hit Miami-Dade School District servers in the morning, continuing a week of glitches and issues that are proving to be a cautionary tale in the country’s fourth largest school district.

Those attacks come from “hostile actors, including foreign cybercriminals,” who “are now targeting online classrooms in order to further disrupt the lives of Americans,” Rubio wrote.

“As you know, Florida counties’ and cities’ networks have been — and will continue to be — targeted by cybercriminals and even hostile foreign governments. In the education space, fighting cyber criminals and nation state actors is not just a responsibility that requires coordination between Federal, state, and local governments, but also the many private sector stakeholders to ensure our schools are protecting their networks, educating their workforces, and implementing the best cyber security practices,” the Senator added.

One such attack, Sen. Rubio noted, “prevented more than 170,000 students and teachers from logging into the system, and kicked off users who were already in the system.”

The Associated Press reported that Wednesday Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho tweeted that, while attacks persisted for a third straight day, the district’s servers thus far had not been penetrated.

Messaging amidst the crisis has proven to be a challenge for Carvalho.

The day before, the Superintendent decried a “malicious, well-orchestrated, complex attempt at derailing, destroying the connection which is essential for our students and teachers.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


One comment

  • Helene

    September 4, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    Thank you – this is an important story and one that has not been covered nationally although it’s happening everywhere. The US is a sitting duck because we are cyber security morons with huge cyber policy, training, and talent gaps. Our educational institutions are woefully inadequately trained or prepared. A lot of universities and colleges don’t even have secured websites—it’s appalling. Please stay on it and thank you for covering.

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