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International Baccalaureate Hack: Students Demand Exam Cancellation

While the organization stated that no exam material had been compromised, students express concern over potential paper leaks

by Alan J May 9, 2024 in Cybersecurity News, Firewall Daily Reading Time: 3 mins read 0

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The Organization (IBO) confirmed a hacking incident, while clarifying that no ongoing exam papers were leaked despite claims online of a wider cheating scandal.

The IB found students sharing exam details online before the completion of their ongoing tests globally, and simultaneously observed increased malicious activity targeting its computer networks.

On investigating the online claims, IB found that the leaked data set appeared to be limited to earlier data from 2018, while the ongoing exam paper leaks could be a result of some students sharing exam papers online rather than a hack.

Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate is a non-profit educational organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. It aims to provide high quality international education free of regional, political or educational agendas.

Exam Cheating Concerns Amidst International Baccalaureate Hack

Earlier last week, the International Baccalaureate had released an update stating that it was investigating online speculation about potential cheating by some students in the ongoing exams. The organization stated that while there was no evidence of widespread cheating, some students might have engaged in “time zone cheating”.

The organization defined time zone cheating as an action where students “who have completed their examinations share what they can recall from memory about the exam questions on social media before other students take the examination.”

Citing its own academic integrity policy which forbids such behaviour, the organization stated that students engaging in such activity would not receive their Diploma certificates or grades and may potentially be banned from future exam retests.

Source: Official Update

After its initial investigations, the organization stated that it had experienced an increase in attempted malicious activity aiming to interfere with its systems. It also confirmed that some data from 2018, including employee names, positions, and emails, had been breached through a third-party vendor, and screenshots of this leaked data were shared online.

However, the organization again clarified that at the time of the investigation, no recent exam material was found to be compromised. The notice further stated that IB was continuing to assess the incident and had taken steps to contain the incident.

The organization mentioned that it would provide further information on the incident as the situation evolved. The Cyber Express team has reached out to the International Baccalaureate for further details, and a spokesman responded with a link to the second update notification.

Students Petition For Exam Cancellation

The exam is taken by nearly 180,000 students internationally. However, recent speculations over the hacking incident and cheating allegations have raised concerns among students and their parents, leading to an online petition demanding exam cancellation or re-test.

Amidst the speculation, the International Baccalaureate took action to remove leaked content and stated that cheaters would face severe consequences. Some condemned the leaks as failures in governance and urged for improved , prompting the IB to affirm its intention to stay ahead of technological threats while promoting academic integrity in the exam process.

The IB further cautioned its authorized network of schools about data breaches and phishing attempts. The leaked materials from the International Baccalaureate were observed to have been downloaded over 45,000 times.

The leaked content, allegedly included mathematics and physics papers which were widely circulated online, further raising doubts about exam integrity. It remains to be seen, if the student petition demand's for justice or the organization's observation of increased hacking attempts will lead to a further escalation of the situation.

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