Early this year, the Delhi police had arrested six persons, including a father-son duo, for running a pan-India online exam cheating racket with the help of a network of exam solvers and foreign hackers.
Nearly 200 students had taken the GMAT test, a business school entrance exam, at the examination centres operated by the accused in Delhi and Mumbai. Several exam solvers and Russian hackers were employed for the purpose, who ensured that the candidates secured a score above 750 out of 800.
Senior officers from Delhi Police’s Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations Unit (IFSO), which had made the arrest, said several such online exam rackets have surfaced in the recent past, with the COVID-19 pandemic urging most entrance exams for professional courses and civil services go online.
Another exam cheating racket was busted last year by the IFSO unit where three persons, two of whom were running a coaching institute in Ahmedabad, were arrested for allegedly hacking computer systems and changing the answers during online certification exams that are prerequisites for placements in various IT companies. The third accused in this case used to work as an exam solver and was based in Delhi.
DCP (IFSO) K.P.S Malhotra said in order to bust these rackets, suspects are contacted through Voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) and the desired amount is transferred to the accused’s account. “A decoy candidate, who was one of our officers, was asked to sit for the exam and when the officer obtained a high score in the entrance exam, we tracked the IP address of the suspects through digital backtracking and nabbed the accused,” the DCP said.
Network of hackers and solvers
Explaining the modus operandi of the gangs, a senior police officer said, “Hundreds of candidates approach centres that conduct the entrance tests. These centres coordinate with a number of foreign hackers who hack the candidate’s computer system beforehand and exam solvers who solve the entire question paper for the candidate through remote access to the candidate’s system, usually arranged using software like QuickSupport or UltraViewer.”
The police said software like QuickSupport is banned for GMAT, civil services and other entrance exams, adding that prior hacking of the systems and pre-installation of the remote software ensures that the software is not detected by the security equipment of the exam-conducting body.
Officers said these exam centres usually create fake Facebook accounts for advertising their services. “They create fake websites and pages on social media platforms claiming that they will help candidates write the exam at their centre and help them attain good scores in JEE and GMAT exams and further dupe them on the pretext of taking entrance exam fees,” an officer said.
Most of the accused persons, according to the officer, hold BTech. degrees or have taken up hacking courses in the past, which makes them well-versed with hacking software.