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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida EOC testing delays caused by outside cyber attack again, officials say

Interruptions in Florida's end-of-course biology, civics and U.S. history exams last week came courtesy of outside hackers, a Florida Department of Education spokeswoman told the Gradebook on Monday.

"It was an attempt by an outside party to somehow shut down the system," spokeswoman Cheryl Etters said. "Pearson figured out what was going on and put a stop to it."

The state told schools to delay testing during the disruption, during which students could not log in to take their exams. The system was back up within about two hours.

This event marked the second time this spring that Florida's computerized testing fell victim to a denial of service attack. American Institutes for Research servers also were brought down in March, during the administration of Florida Standards Assessments.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the incident.

Florida's tests are not the only ones to have suffered in this way. Minnesota's state tests also were disrupted by a denial of service attack against Pearson in April.

Etters said Pearson has taken steps to prevent future infiltrations of its systems. She stressed that the test was not breached, and that no student data was compromised, during these attacks.

[Last modified: Monday, May 18, 2015 3:31pm]


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