Could plans to move GCSEs online pose a security risk?

Published on: 3 Mar 2020

GCSEs might be moving with the times, but would they be safe from cyber attacks?

Using pen and paper during GCSEs could become a thing of the past in favour of requiring students to answer questions online via electronic devices - but concerns have been raised as to how secure this would be.

BBC News recently reported that regulatory body Qualifications Wales has been holding a consultation on the issue, with chairman David Jones saying examinations need to reflect the way teenagers live their lives in the 21st century.

He pointed out that with so much learning now taking place online, it seems strange to require pupils to sit their most important assessments in the old-fashioned way.

However, experts have already warned opening up an online system could expose pitfalls in technology, particularly with security.

Jake Moore, a cyber security specialist at internet security company ESET, told Information Security Buzz these must be addressed before any such infrastructure is widely used.

"Concerns would heavily focus on the identity of the pupil taking the exam, to ensure that their personal data remains safe. There would need to be rules in place to reduce the risk of identity fraud," he commented.

It may be that if an online system is implemented, the education system will need to carry out a recruitment drive for cyber specialists that could protect it.