444k Affected by an Online Exam Breach: Stay Secure While Distance Learning

By on Aug 14, 2020

Students everywhere are adjusting to new forms of education outside of the classroom. In conjunction with distance learning, it’s likely that many students will now be required to take online exams. To ensure that students don’t cheat on their online exams, educators are employing the help of online proctoring tools that help protect exam integrity. According to Tom’s Guide, a popular proctoring platform for online exams, named ProctorU, recently disclosed that it was the victim of a major data breach, resulting in the data of 444,000 people exposed online.

What You Should Know About This Breach

While it’s unclear how exactly the company was breached, ProctorU’s database is now offered for free in online hacker forums. The database contains private information of mostly college students, including their names, home addresses, emails, cell phone numbers, hashed passwords, and organization details. Specifically, it contained email addresses associated with a variety of institutions, including UCLA, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, North Virginia Community College, University of Texas, Columbia, UC Davis, Syracuse University, and more.

Don’t Get Schooled By Hackers

In their blog responding to the incident, ProctorU stated that they disabled the server, terminated access to the environment, and are currently investigating the incident. The company also implemented additional security measures to prevent similar events from recurring and notified universities and organizations affected by the breach.

However, students can take matters into their own hands as well. There are multiple proactive steps users can take to help minimize the damage caused by data breaches like this one. If you’re participating in distance education this school year, follow these security tips to help protect your data from hackers:

Check to see if you were affected by the breach

If you or someone you know has made a ProctorU account, use this tool – which shows users if they’ve been compromised by a security breach – to check if you could have been potentially affected.

Change your credentials

If you’ve been compromised by the ProctorU breach or another like it, err on the side of caution and change your passwords for all of your accounts. Taking extra precautions can help you avoid future attacks.

Take password protection seriously

When updating your credentials, you should always ensure that your password is strong and unique. Many users, including students, utilize the same password or variations of it across all their accounts. Therefore, be sure to diversify your passcodes to ensure hackers cannot obtain access to all your accounts at once, should one password be compromised. You can also employ a password manager to keep track of your credentials.

Enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication

Two or multi-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security, as it requires multiple forms of verification. This reduces the risk of successful impersonation by hackers.

Stay educated on security precautions

As you adapt to learning from home, you’ll likely consider downloading various online tools to help make the transition easier. Before downloading the first tools you see, do your research and check for possible security vulnerabilities or known threats.

Use a comprehensive security solution

Enlist the help of a solution like McAfee® Total Protection to help safeguard your devices and data. With an extra layer of protection across your devices, you can continue learning online safely.

Stay Updated

To stay updated on all things McAfee and for more resources on staying secure from home, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

About the Author

Pravat Lall

Pravat Lall currently serves as VP of the Consumer Cloud Segment at McAfee. He is a seasoned product & technology leader with two decades of experience building products & solutions for Enterprise and Consumer markets. Pravat is passionate about engaging with the customer and accelerating innovation to solve real-world problems in cybersecurity. When not working, ...

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