How A High School Student Cyberattacked The Fourth Largest School District in the Nation

Category: Data Security , Cyberbytes
Author: Mandy Remke

What do you picture when you think of a cyber attacker? Probably not a 16-year-old high school student. The Miami-Dade County Public School system in south Florida was caught off guard when a junior at South Miami High School launched a series of cyberattacks on their system.

Miami-Dade County Schools first day of virtual school was Monday, September 3, 2020. Students and teachers were met with glitches in the system. Error messages and other technical complications lasted days as the system was under attack and overwhelmed with traffic.

The 16-year-old junior launched a series of eight Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks on the fourth largest school district in the nation. A DDoS attack does not necessarily breach the privacy of a system. It is meant to make the online service, such as the online learning program being used by Miami-Dade County Schools, so overloaded with traffic that it cannot perform the service that it is meant to carry out. When tried as an adult, a DDoS attacker can serve up to 10 years in prison and be required to pay a fine up to $500,000. It is considered a felony under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Officials traced the attacks through an IP address that lead them to the teen’s home. The student admitted to launching the attacks on the system and was charged with computer use in attempt to defraud and interference with an educational institution. According to an article published in The New York Times, cybersecurity expert, Douglas A. Levin said, “The notion that a 16-year-old could bring down the entire I.T. system is concerning, and it should raise questions.”

It is imperative that you are prepared for cyberattacks that can disrupt your system. It can become extremely costly to track down the attacker – and to be offline for days or even weeks. See how NXTsoft can prepare you to defend against cyberattacks like DDoS attacks.

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September 10, 2020
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