In his role as acting chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., requested a briefing on cybersecurity from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Sec. Chad Wolf after Miami Dade County Public Schools announced that its virtual learning platform was the target of 12 cyberattacks.
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Acting Secretary Wolf:
I write to request a briefing on cybersecurity as it relates to our nation’s K-12 school systems. Today, Miami Dade County Public Schools announced that its virtual learning platform was the target of 12 cyberattacks this morning occurring from 8:19 a.m. to 10:59 a.m. According to the Superintendent, the fifth attack prevented more than 170,000 students and teachers from logging into the system, and kicked off users who were already in the system.
As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of millions of Americans, including the ability for children to attend school in person. As a result, school districts across the nation have transitioned to online learning.
As a father, I know firsthand the importance of having our children in school and learning, including a safe return to sports for our student-athletes. However, it now appears that hostile actors, including foreign cybercriminals, are now targeting online classrooms in order to further disrupt the lives of Americans.
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 cybercriminals 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 cybersecurity practices.
I am grateful for all of your efforts to keep our nation safe from nefarious actors and thank you for attention to this important matter.