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How Russian Hackers Rigged Engineering Exam, CBI Reveals

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The CBI has recently revealed that the national engineering entrance exam — JEE Main which was compromised last year had the involvement of international hackers. The exam determines the futures of lakhs of students. Recently, a Russian national was held for his role in compromising the exam.

According to the CBI, the hackers manipulated the internet system during last year’s JEE-Main. Russian hacker Mikhail Shargin allegedly helped 820 people cheat – far more than the first estimations.

The exam, which was taken by over 9 lakh pupils in September, is only conducted at specified centres using control-restricted computers.

According to the investigation, Mikhail Shargin broke into the system to allow students to give “remote access” to his colleagues, who subsequently answered the questions on other computers. Simply put, “teachers” or “coaches” outside of the centres had access to the student PCs and could handle the problem-solving.

CBI claimed that Shargin is a skilled hacker who gained access to the iLeon software. The sofware is built by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

The CBI revealed the information to the Delhi court that gave it two-day custody of the 25-year-old, on Tuesday. As of now, 24 persons have been detained thus far.

Last week Shargin was detained after arriving from Kazakhstan. The CBI informed the court that he had not been co-operating with the investigators. Shargin told the court that if the CBI wanted to access his electronic devices, it should be in his presence. The CBI asked the court to direct him to share his usernames and passwords.

According to the investigation thus far, an exam centre in Sonepat, Haryana, gave “remote access.” At first, 20 pupils were suspected of cheating, and they were consequently prohibited from taking the test for the following three years.

The CBI opened an investigation, carried out searches in many locations, and confiscated laptops and other tools. Mikhail Shargin was the result, and the net has since grown wider. According to authorities, the swindle involves a number of foreign nationals.

— With inputs from PTI

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