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Online Michigan Bar Exam Hit by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack



The recently conducted online Michigan bar exam was briefly taken down as it was hit by a rather "sophisticated" cyberattack. 

The test had been hit by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, which includes a hacker or group endeavoring to bring down a server by overpowering it with traffic according to ExamSoft, one of the three vendors offering the exam that certifies potential attorneys. 

The incident marked the first DDoS attack the organization had encountered at a network level, ExamSoft said, and it worked with the Michigan Board of Law Examiners to give test-takers more time to take the test after it was ready for action once more. 

The company noted that "at no time" was any information compromised, and that it had the option to “thwart the attack, albeit with a minor delay” for test-takers. 

The Michigan Supreme Court tweeted preceding the organization's statement that a "technical glitch" had made the test go down, and those test takers were “emailed passwords and the test day will be extended to allow for the delay for some test takers to access the second module.” 

As per the court, those taking the test with provisions from the Americans with Disabilities Act were not affected by the episode.

 “All exam takers were successfully able to start and complete all modules of the Michigan Bar exam,” the organization wrote. 

“This was a sophisticated attack specifically aimed at the login process for the ExamSoft portal which corresponded with an exam session for the Michigan Bar,” ExamSoft said in a statement on Tuesday. 

United for Diploma Privilege, a national gathering of law students, graduates, professors, and lawyers pushing for the bar exam to be postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic, raised worries about data privacy issues associated with the cyberattack.  

Numerous states have opted to offer the bar exam in-person this month, while others will offer the test online in early October. 

A spokesperson for the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), which drafts a segment of the test, told 'The Hill' just earlier this month that states and jurisdiction could decide to offer the test through vendors such as ExamSoft, Extegrity and ILG Technologies.


Online education takes a boost in lockdown



Sandeep Gupta from California, a technology manager is taking an online course in artificial intelligence as a way “to try to future-proof your working life.”

Dr. Robert Davidson, an emergency-room physician from Michigan took up an online master’s degree course in public health.

Online learning has seen a rise in children and college students as a way to keep up with their studies during lockdown but interestingly they are not the only ones to turn to online education. Millions of adults working in various fields have subscribed to online courses as a way to stay ahead and make use of leisure time. This period could mark a renaissance for online learning business.

Coursera, an online learning platform developed by Stanford University saw 10 million new users from March to May, seven times in comparison to last year(according to pace). Other websites like Udacity and edX also saw a jump in users.

 “Crises lead to accelerations, and this is the best chance ever for online learning,” the co-founder and chairman of Udacity, Sebastian Thrun said. 

Coursera, Udacity, and edX were developed as an online learning project a decade ago called massive open online courses (MOOCs) but the experiment was not quite a success as few individuals completed the courses and were largely free.

 MOOCs mission to "democratize education" is now taking shape, earlier when they have launched thousands of students enrolled but hardly few completed the free courses. Though courses that were not free and provided a degree saw more completions and results.

"Active learning works, and social learning works. And you have to understand that teaching online and learning online are skills of their own” said Anant Agarwal, founder, and chief executive of edX.

A few years ago apps like Udacity were on the verge of drowning and their market was slowing down but through treil and error, they learned that these courses need to be focused on skill learning as that's where the market is and now the popular courses are in tech field like coding, analytics, and AI.

People are turning this lockdown crisis into their advantage by building skills via online learning. As schools and collages tilt towards online education, the paradigm of education is evolving rapidly.