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Education Security Linux

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

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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  • by Freshly Exhumed ( 105597 ) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @06:40AM (#44529579) Homepage

    Oh come on, Finns! Didn't you get the memo that only Windows 8 will provide a future for all students? Clearly the comparatively high quality and level of education of Finnish students is burning, and they must jump. It cannot be sustained, so the existing system must be abandoned. It is time to adopt the Microsoft education curriculum. With this, Finland can successfully, drastically reduce the number of educators, divest huge amounts of school real estate, slash maintenance costs, and give the five remaining students a wonderful head start on their success.

    Yours truly, Stephen Elop.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    And this is how a tech-savy government should do things. Start with something open, encourage breaking it. Compare this to a 45 million euro fail [wikipedia.org] of other administrations.

  • by Bruce66423 ( 1678196 ) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @06:51AM (#44529611)
    Surely the headline - which appears to refer to school exams - needs to be altered. Great story though...
  • Hefty Prizes? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "At least three best competition entries, chosen by the jury, are awarded a smartphone or a tablet device valued at approximately 1.000 €. Possible prizes include Acer Iconia W700 11.6” 128 GB, Apple iPhone 5 64 GB, Apple iPad Retina 128 GB, Asus Vivo Tab RT TF600TG 64GB, Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 10.1”, Samsung Google Nexus 10 32 GB or Sony Xperia Tablet Z 10.1”. Alternatively, the prize can also be given in currency. In addition to three best entries, the Matriculation Examination Bo

  • OMG Ponies! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 10, 2013 @08:22AM (#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.

  • I believe, BYOD is doomed from the beginning, thats why graphing calculators (dinosaurs in comparison with modern smart phones) are still around: because of their limitations they can still be used for tests. Many questions for systems running on students hardware? How is the live system booted: DVD, memorystick? How does that work on a tablet? The biggest weakness is that the system is booted in a subsystem of an other OS. If the system interacts with a server, how do you prevent other internet access? H
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tommituura ( 1346233 )

      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 t

      • also what about drivers on the USB-bootable live Linux to cover the full range of BYOD hardware? or maybe they will need an USB wifi stick as well to make it easier and for less stuff to hack. But still what about a full screen VM that looks like it has it's own BIOS or some kind of EFI / UEFI looking GUI? and after you boot it you take the VM out of full screen mode.

      • 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.

        The whole BYOD thing might enable an überwizard to hide some completely discrete systems inside his laptop and communicate with them using special hot keys while the main OS is running normally. :) It's quite hard to engineer something like that, but a thing that should be given a thought.

    • In this case, some of these problems are non-issues. The exam is a national exam, taken simultaneously all over the country. So a "leaked exam" doesn't really matter once the exam has started since everyone that's supposed to be taking it, is sitting there taking it. The test timing is done on clock. The real one on the wall. Time from 9am to 3pm. Doesn't help if you can pause the program...

      As for the internet part, they just need to have bootable USB-sticks, with the exams on them, tagged with the name and

  • Another one moves to free software.
  • Good! I would love to change to Linux when the apps I need are there. More Linux developers is a step in the right direction.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky