Security of online exams

Supervisor(s)Dr. Maximilian Hils


Even though we are computer scientists, university exams have traditionally been paper-based. With the advent of COVID-19, this has changed: Exams at the University of Innsbruck can “generally not take place in presence, but must be switched to virtual (or postponed)”. Unfortunately, taking exams from home makes cheating more tempting as many of the traditional security measures taken for paper-based exams cannot be easily implemented. Various countermeasures exist to reduce the risk of cheating, such as the use of randomized exams or more privacy-invasive proctoring software.

The objective of this thesis is to summarize the current research on online exam cheating, develop a comprehensive list of attack types, and evaluate known countermeasures against these attacks.


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  • Harmon, O.R., Lambrinos, J., and Buffolino, J. Assessment design and cheating risk in online instruction. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 13, 3 (2010).
  • Dendir, S. and Maxwell, R.S. Cheating in online courses: Evidence from online proctoring. Computers in Human Behavior Reports, 2, (2020), 100033.