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

Hacking an online exam is possible. The difficulty or success depends on the environment in which the test is taken...
12 July 2022

Hacking an online exam is possible. The difficulty or success depends on the environment in which the test is taken and the type of online proctoring that takes place.

Digital technology is drastically changing the landscape of test proctoring and offers alternatives to face-to-face exams that are much more equitable, accessible, effective, and respectful.   

Discover in this article the different ways to hack an online exam that exist and how you can avoid it

Is it possible to hack an online exam?

The answer is: yes, you can hack an online exam if it is not taken in a secure environment. 

From fraudulent authentication to virtual cheating to a series of manipulations on your computer, students can use various tactics to hack an online exam. 

We’ll talk you through some of them, so you know the implications. 

Techniques most commonly used to hack an online exam

If you are wondering how to hack an online exam or any other type of test, we have to tell you that students can be very creative when finding flaws in online assessment systems. 

While some claim to be able to find out the answers to a quiz by accessing the page’s source code or using specific programs, there are other methods of cheating on online assessments. 

Check out the following sections, which discuss the most common ones. 

Identity theft

Impersonation was already used before the technological era when a student took an exam in the place of another student. 

In a distance test it is also possible if you do not have a good authentication system.

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

Using virtual machines

The detection of the use of virtual machines in online testing is something that SMOWL CM allows us to offer and distinguishes us from other proctoring solutions. 

Screen sharing

There are multiple ways to share the screen with another person or persons simultaneously in order to obtain answers through third parties.

Use of peripherals and applications

When we talk about peripheral elements, we refer to components belonging to the computer or connected to them, such as double screens, keyboards, and mouse devices that are used to search for unauthorized information or make use of prohibited programs or applications.

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 other people in the room 

Another way to obtain answers from third parties is to share the space with other people close to the examinee who are in the same room where the test is taking place.

Although the ways to hack a test are as numerous as they are creative, thanks to technology, there are solutions. 

How to hack an online multiple-choice test

Tactics to prevent online exam hacking

As you have seen, there are multiple techniques to hack an online exam, and the good news is that there are solutions to avoid it. 

On the one hand, you can put barriers at the level of the exam approach, and on the other hand, you can use innovative online proctoring systems such as proctoring

Deterrent precautions in the test design.  

As far as the exam itself is concerned, several deterrent precautions can be taken, such as:

  • Creating questions that require deep thought and cannot be answered quickly through an internet search.  
  • Propose different variants of the same exam by altering the order of the questions, for example.
  • Configure the exam to display the questions one at a time so that the examinee cannot make a quick sweep or send the bulk of the questions to someone else. 
  • Prevent backtracking when moving to the next question.  
  • Disable functions such as “copy and paste”.
  • Limit the response time to prevent a search through other terminals. 

These are some tricks in the test design; however, the safest way to prevent test takers from cheating is the online proctoring that we will discuss in the next point.

Remote online monitoring

When it comes to online supervision, technology is your great ally both for providing a secure environment and for monitoring the test. 

Having this technology allows you, among other supervisory measures: 

  • Check that no one else is in the room. 
  • Perform an initial authentication throughout the test. 
  • Verify that peripheral elements and non-permitted applications are not being used.

Remote monitoring can be performed by a person in real-time, delayed, or automated by analyzing the data generated by the device during the test. 

Remember that sometimes some of the measures you can take may be considered intrusive by students. That is why it is so important to ensure that the assessments are fair, objective, comprehensive, and comfortable for your students and that the systems used are compatible with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

At Smowltech we are aware of these needs. That is why we have developed a series of proctoring products that use facial recognition and artificial intelligence to verify the student’s identity and monitor their activity during the exam. Ask for your free demo, and we will explain all the options we can offer you.

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