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Education Security Linux

Finland's Upper Secondary School Exams Going All-Linux 55

Posted by timothy
from the local-boy-makes-good dept.
First time accepted submitter jovius writes "The Matriculation Examination Board of Finland has just opened an international hacking contest to find flaws and exploits in Digabi Live — the Live Debian based operating system to be used in the all-digital final exams by the year 2016. The contest ends on 1st of September, and the winners are about to scoop hefty hardware prizes, also available as cash."
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Finland's Upper Secondary School Exams Going All-Linux

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  • Re: cash money (Score:4, Informative)

    by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Saturday August 10, 2013 @07:06AM (#44529809) Homepage

    No need for modern gimmicks such as eurosigns on Slashdot.

  • OMG Ponies! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 10, 2013 @07:22AM (#44529845)

    Seem to be two separate stories here...

    1 - Matriculation Examination Board of Finland is replacing pen/paper exams with exams in a live-cd (or usb-booted live environment or similar) examination system (and with associated back end systems, databases, aaa, etc)

    2 - Matriculation Examination Board of Finland is holding a hacking competition to find security flaws/vulnerabilities in the student live-cd OS.

  • by tommituura (1346233) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @08:31AM (#44530107)

    Right now, all the details are up to evaluation whatever seems most feasible.

    Taken from project's website, the most likely way forward now is a USB-bootable live Linux distro on a laptop that has been maximally gutted in its ability to access anything else but a predefined server and the USB stick it boots on. Like, not having hardware drivers for the hdd etc. There also won't be any other programs except those needed to do the test installed, and the exam participant's user account won't have privileges to install anything else either, of course. The systems are most likely going to be booted by the administrators before test begins, (and the laptops, if owned by the students, have to be turned in for checks -- although if it's done in the same spirit as checks for graphing calculators are, the actual checks are randomly done. No school has enough manpower to do a sweep checks for every machine). There most certainly won't be any virtualization software included with the programs the exam taker can run.

    The problem would at that point to prevent the student to boot into another OS in the middle of exam, accessing whatever, and then booting back test system again. Maybe they'll include constantly home-calling ping to some central server which will notify the local admins that "exam taker #34234 is up to something no good. Go look over his/her shoulder constantly for a while". Also, rebooting the whole computer would most likely be visible enough for the exam administrators (who are, or should be, on constant outlook for cheaters in any case).

    That being said... a entrepreneuring (and skilled) exam taker could, with some hardware hacking, overcome many of these blocks in order to bring unauthorized materials into the exam and maybe even succeed in going unnoticed. That's why I'd really think the school districts (or the state) should just scrap the BYOD idea and shell the cash for bunch of cheap (around €200 or so) laptops. Since they would be usable for many years only for this purpose with tailor-made OS, it won't have to be *that* powerful anyway.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

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