State ends investigation into cyberattack on school testing

Author: the associated press
Published: Updated:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida authorities are closing an investigation into a cyberattack that created widespread problems with the state’s standardized testing system.

“We had a number of kids in this district that were delayed. They sat and they waited and they waited and the little icon kept spinning,” Dr. Doug Whittaker, the superintendent of the Charlotte County School District (CCSD) said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Wednesday that investigators were unable to identify any motives or suspects in the attack. The final report, however, did conclude that the problem was caused primarily by computers located in foreign countries including China.

“The problem with an anonymous server attack is that like in this case there’s usually thousands and thousands of IP addresses saving useless data,” Eric Daniel, a special agent supervisor for FDLE said.

The cyberattack last spring prevented students from logging on to take Florida’s high-stakes test known as the Florida Standards Assessment. The test is based primarily on standards linked to Common Core.

Dr. Whittaker, like many educators in Florida wish to have tests back on pencil and paper until schools can upgrade to the technology they need.

“We’re trying to go too far too fast and this is an example of what happens when you do that,” Dr. Whittaker said.

State officials maintain that the test itself and student information was never breached. The Department of Education maintains that additional security measures were put in place and additional hacking attempts were thwarted.



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