What is a Locked Browser? Ensuring the protection of online assessments

In this era dominated by technology, where our lives are intertwined with the digital realm, the significance of online security...
22 September 2023

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What is a Locked Browser? Ensuring the protection of online assessments

In this era dominated by technology, where our lives are intertwined with the digital realm, the significance of online security cannot be overstated. Some institutions and organizations have turned to Locked Browsers to protect sensitive information and foster a secure browsing environment.

But, what is a Locked Browser?

In this extensive guide, we will delve into the world of Locked Browsers, unraveling their purpose, functionality, and advantages. Join us as we explore the intricacies of this powerful tool and its contribution to creating a safe online milieu.

What is a Locked Browser?

A Locked Browser is a specialized web browser that restricts access to unauthorized resources and activities during online exams, assessments, and similar scenarios. 

Unlike conventional web browsers that allow free exploration of various websites, a Locked Browser confines users to specific web pages or applications, preventing them from straying or engaging in prohibited actions during the designated session.

Unveiling the mechanism behind Locked Browsers

Locked Browsers employ advanced security measures to establish a controlled and secure environment for online assessments. 

Upon launching a Locked Browser, it restricts access to other software programs, system functions, and web resources, ensuring that users remain fully focused on the designated assessment without the possibility of unauthorized assistance or cheating.

To bolster security, Locked Browsers often disable copy-paste functionality, block the opening of new tabs or windows, and prohibit the use of external applications. 

Additionally, these browsers can monitor user activity, flag suspicious behavior, and record relevant data to maintain the integrity and authenticity of the assessment process.

What is a Locked Browser? Ensuring the protection of online assessments

The benefits unveiled: embracing secure browsers

Locked browsers, also known sometimes as secure browsers, offer several substantial benefits to educational institutions and organizations relying on secure online assessments. 

Let us explore some of the key advantages that accompany the implementation of a Locked Browserr:

Upholding academic integrity

Locked Browsers play a pivotal role in preserving the integrity of online exams and assessments. 

By curtailing access to external resources, these browsers prevent unauthorized information retrieval, minimizing the likelihood of cheating or academic dishonesty. Consequently, they ensure fair evaluation and accurate assessment of students’ knowledge and capabilities.

Augmented security and privacy

In an era marked by increasing cybersecurity threats, safeguarding sensitive data has become more crucial than ever. 

Locked Browsers provide an additional layer of security by isolating users from potential vulnerabilities, malicious websites, and phishing attempts. By blocking non-approved websites and applications, these browsers significantly reduce the risk of data breaches or unauthorized access.

Streamlined assessment process

The use of Locked Browsers streamlines the assessment process for both educators and learners. By simplifying the administration of online exams, these browsers ensure a consistent and controlled experience for all participants. 

Minimizing external distractions and unauthorized activities, this type of secure browsers create an environment solely focused on the assessment, ultimately leading to more accurate results.

Flexibility and accessibility

Locked Browsers are compatible with various devices, including desktops, laptops, and tablets, making them highly accessible to many users. This flexibility enables educational institutions and organizations to implement secure online assessments, irrespective of students’ preferred devices or operating systems.

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Best practices for effective implementation

While Locked Browsers offer robust security features, their proper implementation is crucial to maximize effectiveness. Consider the following best practices when incorporating these browsers:

Clear Communication

Ensure clear communication with intended users regarding the purpose and expectations of using a secure browser. Detailed instructions and addressing concerns can alleviate anxiety and ensure a seamless assessment experience.

Compatibility and Technical Support

Before implementing a Locked Browser, verify its compatibility with desired operating systems and devices. Additionally, consider providing technical support to assist users in case they encounter any challenges during the assessment.

Regular Updates and Maintenance

Keeping the Locked Browser software up to date is essential to ensure optimal performance and security. Regular updates and maintenance address potential vulnerabilities and provide users with the latest security features.

Conducting Trial Runs

Conduct trial runs or pilot assessments using the Locked Browser to identify any issues or areas that require improvement. This approach allows for necessary adjustments before deploying the browser for large-scale assessments.

The benefits unveiled: embracing secure browsers

Alternatives to Locked Browsers

We’ve seen several benefits and best practices to start using secure browsers. 

But, what if we tell you that you could turn your student’s browser in a more secure one without making them install a new one? 

This is quite possible with the tools included in the SMOWL proctoring plans

Supervise without blocking using SMOWL

There may be online exams and tests in which your institution deems it inappropriate to block user activities, but rather beneficial to understand how they are conducting the test and then validate if they have done so reliably.

To achieve this, all SMOWL plans offer the SMOWL CM utility, a feature allowing you to monitor the user’s computer activity during the test.

Through SMOWL CM, you can detect open applications and browser tabs, connected devices, active applications, and copy-paste actions, among other relevant aspects.

The great thing about SMOWL CM is that it will not block any of these activities, but it will collect all that data and include it in the student’s final report.

In the end, the teachers or evaluators will decide how to proceed with the student’s grade or evaluation based on all this evidence.

Alternatives to Locked Browsers

Browser lockdown without additional installations

If your institution is looking for a lockdown feature like the one offered by a Locked Browser, why install an additional browser when you can use your familiar Chrome browser with SMOWL LOCK?

With this tool, you can achieve a more restrictive monitoring that completely blocks user activity when they commit an infraction, and it is included in all SMOWL plans.

SMOWL LOCK easily integrates into the user’s web browser through a simple extension. This extension provides an intuitive and user-friendly experience, making the evaluation process more accessible. Students can comfortably take their exams without technical complications.

With this tool, you can limit the user to using only the applications that you deem appropriate for your test, blocking those that are not authorized. It will also detect if new tabs are opened or if content is copied from other sources.

The extension will issue a warning to the examinee if any of these scenarios are violated. The user will have a maximum limit of allowed incidents set by your institution.

Once the established number of alerts is exceeded, the user will be expelled from the exam, and the browser will be closed, preserving their activity in the state it was at the time of closure.

When the student finishes the activity or is expelled, the browser extension stops functioning and allows the user to continue regular browsing on their computer.

Locked browsers are not always the best option to be restrictive

As you have seen, Locked Browser have emerged as an effective solution for enhancing online security and maintaining assessment integrity. 

By establishing a controlled environment, these browsers limit access to unauthorized resources, ensuring fair evaluations and safeguarding sensitive data. 

Educational institutions and organizations relying on secure online assessments can greatly benefit from implementing secure browsers. 

However, we must consider that there are much less invasive options or options that do not require the installation of an additional browser, which often becomes a headache for students and users. With the SMOWL proctoring plans, your institution has these two options.

Ask us for a free demo and find out why!

As technology advances, prioritizing online security becomes imperative to protect the interests of users and organizations alike. 

Download now!

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