MIAMI (WSVN) - Police have arrested a student in connection to the cyber attacks that targeted the online school system for Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
Miami-Dade Schools Police announced the arrest of 16-year-old David Oliveros, a junior at South Miami Senior High, Thursday morning.
Officials arrested the teen at his home, located along the 40 block of Northwest 59th Court, at around 2:45 a.m.
Hours later, Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho addressed the matter at a news conference.
“It takes no joy in announcing the early morning arrest of a 16-year-old student,” he said.
Carvalho also took the opportunity to address the teen directly.
“What you did is you contributed to the extreme disruption, anxiety-causing stress, confusion across a school system,” he said.
According to police, Oliveros admitted to orchestrating eight cyber attacks on the schools’ systems.
Investigators said the teen used a gaming console to attack the network.
“This fleeting moment of fame will quickly vanish,” said Carvalho. “The glory is not worth it.”
Investigators said the attacks began as soon as the school year did, as the district debuted a new platform.
“Monday was the Super Bowl, so they purposely waited until that time to conduct their cyber attack,” said Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Edwin Lopez.
Police have confiscated Oliveros’ computer and gaming system.
The student has been charged with computer use in an attempt to defraud, a third-degree felony, and interference with an education institution, a misdemeanor.
This arrest, police said, may be the first of many.
“We believe, based upon our investigation, that other attackers are out there. We will not rest until every one of them is caught and brought to justice,” said Lopez.
Carvalho released a statement that read in part, “It is disheartening that one of our own students has admitted to intentionally causing this kind of 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.”
Dafne Roque was shocked to learn that an arrest was made on her street.
Like many, Roque’s teens have struggled with the online learning system.
“It was terrible, because the kid is, you know, passing a lot of work,” said Roque.
Officials said students missing work is partly to blame on not just one hacker.
“As the [country’s] largest school district, and quite frankly, the best in my humble opinion, we are a target,” said Lopez. “We are a target of individuals trying to dismantle or disrupt the learning process.”
Miami-Dade Schools Police worked jointly with the FBI, the Secret Service and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to trace back the IP address of the person responsible for the attack.
Detectives continue their investigation to determine whether anyone else was involved. They said they’re looking into IP addresses linked to other countries.
“You know, that’s the kind of stuff that catches you by surprise, ’cause you never think, ‘Oh, dang, right next door. I lived right next to someone who did that,'” said Kevin Jarquin, Oliveros’ neighbor.
Jarquin said he finds the entire situation hard to believe.
“I don’t think that someone who is 16 years old is capable of being able to shut down many teachers and many supervisors from being able to access the kind of work that they do,” he said.
“I feel bad for them, for the family. I really feel bad for the kid,” said another neighbor. “He’s not a bad kid. I don’t know; I guess he made a mistake.”
Access for students and teachers to virtual classrooms has been spotty. Over the past three days, tens of thousands of students and teachers have been either locked out or bumped out.
At first, district leaders thought their only problem was a glitchy server.
On Tuesday, the superintendent was alerted to multiple cyber attacks against the district. Those attacks continued Wednesday.
In total, Carvaho said, there have been more than two dozen cyber attacks against M-DCPS’ systems. The last one happened at around 3 a.m. on Thursday.
Oliveros has been released to his parents. He is set to make his first appearance in juvenile court on Oct. 8.
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