Hacker

Security Breach leaves Exams in Limbo.

Navaneeth Mohan

Proctortrack, the software used by Western University to monitor student activity during exams, was forced to shut down on Tuesday for 10 days. Verificient, the parent company, says that no student data was compromised. 

On Thursday morning, Ivey Business School disclosed that Proctortrack experienced a security breach around 3:30 p.m Tuesday. Western, Ivey, and Verificient are currently working together to investigate the security breach.

The breach was not specifically targeted at Western or Ivey. Proctortrack is widespread across North American universities while most in-person exams have been rendered impossible due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

To use Proctortrack, students install the software on their computer, set up an account, and verify their identity moments before they take their exam using the front-facing computer camera. The software also tracks all activity on the student's computer to detect whether any new web browsers were opened during the exam period. 

According to a release by Verificient, the breach occurred on Tuesday October 13 at 4pm EST. However, students were notified only two days later. 

The CEO of Verificient, Rahul Siddharth, said that the incident was not a "data-breach" but a "security-breach". He also added that the breach was caught within a few hours and the servers were frozen immediately. 

As a result of the breach, Western will not be using Proctortrack for second-year students' midterm exams next week. Western has left the decision to the individual professors about how their course will proceed. 

The news comes while an online petition continues to circulate calling on Western to stop using the software.