Michigan Online Bar Exam Taken Down by Hackers

Indiana bar exam also beset with problems.

For recent law graduates, 2020 has been a nightmare, with spring classes cancelled and graduation ceremonies shelved.

But for those in Michigan and Indiana who registered for the bar exam in July, the nightmare has been even worse.

In Michigan, the one-day online bar exam was taken down in a cyberattack that left test-takers unable to continue. And in Indiana, the original test date of July 28 was pushed back to August 4 after applicants encountered problems during practice tests. The snags appeared after the testing software was updated.

Both Michigan and Indian designed their own one-day, online exams to replace in-person testing. Michigan used the software vendor ExamSoft to administer the test, and Indiana used ILG Technologies. Both vendors had been approved by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Read more on these stories here, here and here.

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Michigan Bar Exam Hit by Cyberattack

On testing day in Michigan, what was described as a “sophisticated” cyberattack caused the login and password functions of the software to fail, leaving anxious test-takers in the lurch for a brief period of time.

“The test had been hit by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, which involves a hacker or group attempting to take down a server by overwhelming it with traffic,” reports The Hill. “The incident marked the first DDoS attack the company had experienced at a network level, ExamSoft wrote, and it worked with the Michigan Board of Law Examiners to give test takers more time to take the exam after it was up and running again.”

ExamSoft said no data was compromised. After what the Michigan Supreme Court called a “brief technical glitch” that affected passwords and login capabilities, the system was back up and running. Takers received working passwords by email.

Extra exam time will be given for anyone who was affected, the supreme court said.

“Here’s what happened,” a spokesman for the Michigan Supreme Court told the ABA Journal. “After a smooth start to Module 1, the ExamSoft site went down for test-takers to be able to retrieve their password. The vendor support line and Board of Law Examiners office were giving out the password and around 200 people were testing within 10 minutes. ExamSoft pushed out an email with the password and everyone was able to get in to the second module and start testing shortly thereafter.”

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