Pennsylvania bar takers are requesting the state attorney general to look into the security of exam administrator ExamSoft, following recent data breaches.
The exam applications published a letter to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Consumer Protection on Wednesday, Sept. 9, stating that the security policies of the software violate the consumer protection law.
Several applicants claim that attempts to use their personal information came after downloading the ExamSoft software. The surge in the reports of compromised security is detailed in the letter, with passwords being compromised soon after downloading the software.
“Pennsylvania bar applicants began to express concerns about the security of their personal data, including bank account login information, almost immediately after ExamSoft software became available for download on Sept. 1, 2020,” stated in the letter.
Bar exam applicants also see the need to investigate the software features, collecting the personal information of applicants. According to the letter, the personal information may be exploited when stolen.
ExamSoft seeks applicants’ Social Security numbers, in addition to personal data like complete names, addresses, and contact information. Access codes are also asked, which easily points to the state abbreviation.
The use of artificial technology for remote proctors is meant to combat cheating. However, privacy concerns are evident from taking over applicants’ computers. The questions on what can happen on the data collected were raised by bar examiners.
On July 28, a cyberattack spurred over the bar exam vendor, ExamSoft. Takers are having doubts about whether their information is safe with the vendor, citing possible data breach. There are other states that end the use of online proctoring and cite faulty software as the reason.
Indiana, Louisiana, and Nevada hold open-book tests just to minimize the need for virtual proctors to minimize the risks of data mismanagement.
In addition to security concerns, the bar exam vendor ExamSoft also received lots of issues of whether it can handle massive data. Company representative Nici Sandberg claims the software can handle the volume.
“ExamSoft successfully delivers hundreds of thousands of secure exams for thousands of client programs every month, including more than 11 million exams in 2019,” said Sandberg.
Pennsylvania postponed the summer bar exams and moved the exam online. It’s now scheduled for Oct. 5 to Oct. 7, 2020. ExamSoft will be administering 22 jurisdictions’ bar exams including New York, California, and Illinois.
ILG Technologies, another bar exam vendor, was pulled out following tech glitches in Florida bar examination.