MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho says the system is still fending off cyber attacks.
CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana spoke with him one on one, on the rocky first week of virtual learning.
Here is some of what he had to say:
Pastrana: “Superintendent thank you so much for being with us safe to say this first week of school didn’t go exactly as planned we’ve heard from a lot of people who say they’d been frustrated. You yourself, earlier this wee,k said that you were frustrated but knowing what you know now do you think next week will be better.”
Carvalho: “Thank you very much for the opportunity. Yes, I was somewhere between frustrated and angry. And, but we are ending the week in a far better position than we started. Thursday was a relatively better day and Friday we did not register any systemic failures associated with the platform for the delivery of online learning. So, I expect next week to be a far better experience for our teachers, and for our students. We can do to optimize the system and certainly is something that we’re shooting for.”
Pastrana: “On Monday, you mentioned that there were software issues related to Cisco then on Tuesday came the revelation that there were, in fact, cyber-attacks targeting Miami Dade County Public School System. We know that at least one arrest so far has been made but currently is Miami Dade County Public School System still experiencing active cyberattacks now?”
Carvalho: “We are currently still experiencing cyber attacks from different points of origin, we are successful in repelling them. Working with Comcast, who is the entity that is responsible for providing internet service, and for identifying and actually choking off those attacks. We have seen an evolution of the types of attacks but yesterday and today, we’re successful in repelling all of the attacks that have been received into our data center. These are not very complex attacks, but their impact can be rather frustrating and debilitating.”
“What happened Monday and Tuesday, was a breakdown in communication between Comcast, and the appropriate modification to Miami-Dade County Public Schools about the fact that, while dealing with that broken switch we were simultaneously being hit with these denial of service, cyber attacks.”
Pastrana: “It seems like the main issue here actually hindered connectivity for teachers and students to be able to access the Learning Portal but at any point was teacher-student and data compromised?”
Carvalho: “No, none of the attacks have been successful in terms of penetrating our data systems, our firewall has held strong. At no point was any personal information for replaced student information or financial data access, as it’s been happening over the past two weeks across the country. We have had very very strong levels of protection that continue to work for our school system. The worst that’s happened, obviously, is a deleterious impact on the quality of teaching and learning because it relies on connectivity, and I want to be very clear. It’s been compounded also by the technical glitches associated with a new platform that we are utilizing for the very first time this year.”
The attacks aren’t the only problem some teachers and parents have told us they didn’t have enough time to prepare on that new online learning platform. The superintendent says they rolled it out as soon as they could, but that the K-12 system didn’t provide the kind of training teachers needed.
Carvalho says they’re reassessing the plan for reopening of schools now that the positivity rate is trending in the right direction.