Is hacking an online exam feasible, and how can it be prevented?

The feasibility of hacking an online exam hinges on the test-taking environment and the nature of the online proctoring methods...
12 July 2022

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Is hacking an online exam feasible, and how can it be prevented?

The feasibility of hacking an online exam hinges on the test-taking environment and the nature of the online proctoring methods employed.

Digital technology is reshaping the landscape of test proctoring, providing fairer, more accessible, effective, and respectful alternatives to traditional in-person exams.

Explore this article to understand the existing methods of online exam hacking and strategies to thwart such attempts.

Can an Online exam be hacked?

The answer is affirmative. An online exam can be hacked if not conducted within a secure environment.

Various tactics, from falsifying authentication to virtual cheating to manipulating computer settings, can be employed by students to hack an online exam.

Let’s delve into some of these tactics to comprehend their implications better.


Importance of academic integrity vs. hacking an exam

Maintaining academic integrity is a fundamental aspect of education and a cornerstone of personal growth and development. In the realm of online education, where physical presence and direct supervision might be absent, the significance of upholding academic integrity becomes even more pronounced.

When students cheat or hack to gain an unfair advantage in online exams, they compromise not only their educational journey but also the essence of learning itself. Education is meant to be a transformative experience, fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, and ethical decision-making.

By cheating, students rob themselves of the opportunity to genuinely engage with the material, to grapple with complex concepts, and to develop the skills that will serve them beyond the classroom.

Furthermore, academic integrity extends beyond individual students. It forms the bedrock of the educational institution’s reputation and the degrees it confers.

The value of a degree is a reflection of the institution’s commitment to maintaining rigorous standards of education. When academic integrity is compromised, degrees lose their credibility, and the efforts of all hardworking students are undermined.

Hacking an online exam: is it possible, and how to avoid it?

In the professional world, employers value individuals who possess not just a certificate or a degree, but a well-rounded education that equips them with the knowledge and ethics required to navigate complex challenges. Cheating tarnishes the authenticity of a degree, casting doubt on the true abilities and skills of the degree holder.

Students need to recognize that the pursuit of education is not just about earning a piece of paper; it’s about personal growth, intellectual development, and contributing positively to society. Upholding academic integrity is a commitment to these ideals, and it builds a foundation for lifelong learning and success.

By adhering to the principles of honesty, hard work, and ethical behavior, students not only elevate their educational experience but also contribute to the integrity of the educational system. In the realm of online education, where virtual interactions replace traditional classroom settings, the responsibility to maintain academic integrity rests even more heavily on the shoulders of each student.

Common techniques employed for hacking an online exam

Curious about how to hack an online exam or any other assessment?

Students display impressive creativity in identifying vulnerabilities within online assessment systems.

While some assert they can unearth quiz answers by accessing a page’s source code or employing specific software, alternative cheating methods in online assessments also exist.

Explore the ensuing sections where we elaborate on the most prevalent techniques.


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Identity theft

Impersonation (or identity theft), a practice predating the digital age, involved one student taking an exam on behalf of another.

In remote testing, this remains feasible if a robust authentication system is absent.

Utilizing Virtual Machines

Detection of virtual machine usage during online testing is a distinctive feature SMOWL CM offers, setting it apart from other proctoring solutions.

Screen sharing

Multiple means exist to share screens with others concurrently, enabling the acquisition of answers through intermediaries.

Exploiting Peripherals and Applications

Peripheral components like dual screens, keyboards, and mice can be used to access unauthorized information or prohibited software, facilitating cheating.

Technological Exploits

Exam fraud can extend to cell phones storing data, Bluetooth headsets receiving external answers, and copying exams for later distribution.

Use of technology

Exam fraud can also be committed through cell phones that store data, Bluetooth headsets to receive answers from external sources, or even to copy the exam and provide it to third parties who will pass it later.

Presence of Unauthorized Individuals

Sharing the exam room with others provides opportunities to solicit answers from third parties.

Despite the multitude of creative hacking methods, technology also offers solutions.

How to hack an online multiple-choice test

Strategies to Counter Online Exam Hacking

As evidenced, various techniques can be employed to hack online exams, but the positive news is that countermeasures exist to prevent this.

Implementing obstacles during the exam setup and employing innovative online proctoring systems, like proctoring, can be effective deterrents.

Deterrent Measures in Test Design

For the exam itself, several deterrent measures can be taken:

  • Formulate questions necessitating profound thought, impeding quick internet searches.
  • Offer different exam variants by altering question sequences.
  • Display questions one at a time, deterring sweeping or sharing.
  • Disable backtracking to subsequent questions.
  • Deactivate functions such as “copy and paste.”
  • Limit response time to curtail external searches.

While these tactics aid in test design, the most robust defense against cheating lies in online proctoring, which we’ll discuss next.

Remote Online Monitoring

Technology is a potent ally in ensuring secure online supervision and test monitoring.

This technology empowers you to:

  • Confirm the examinee’s solitary presence.
  • Conduct initial authentication throughout the test.
  • Verify the non-use of prohibited peripherals and applications.

Remote monitoring can occur in real-time, delayed, or automated modes by analyzing device-generated data.

Keep in mind that some measures might be perceived as intrusive by students. Thus, it’s crucial to maintain fairness, objectivity, comprehensiveness, and student comfort while ensuring compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

At Smowltech, we recognize these imperatives, reflected in our proctoring plans utilizing facial recognition and artificial intelligence for identity verification and activity monitoring.

Ask for your free demo, and we will explain all the options we can offer you.


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