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Cyber Attack Said to Disrupt Michigan’s Online Bar Exam (1)

July 28, 2020, 9:39 PMUpdated: July 28, 2020, 11:56 PM

The Michigan bar exam was the subject of a cyber attack that caused a temporary glitch for test takers, according to state bar officials and the software company administering the online exam.

Test takers were briefly locked out of the exam Tuesday because of a “sophisticated attack specifically aimed at the login process for the ExamSoft Portal,” Nici Sandberg, a representative for ExamSoft, told Bloomberg Law.

“At no time was any data compromised by the attack,” Sandberg said.

The glitch provided a new element of stress for lawyers-in-training who have been preparing for the exam amid uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

At 10 a.m., many anxiously refreshed the exam website to no avail after having been locked out. They then flooded ExamSoft’s phone help line.

The glitch “left me feeling pretty rattled,” said Kerry Martin, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. “I felt much less in the zone.”

Michigan became the first state in the country to try out a remote bar exam Tuesday. More than 700 law school graduates took the test, according to the Michigan Board of Law Examiners.

Almost half of states are conducting the bi-annual bar exam in person this week. Several have opted to move the test online or push it back to a later date, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Applicants affected by the delay were given additional time to enter the exam and complete that module within the hour allocated, and all applicants completed the exam within the extended time,” the board said.

“The Board is committed to further investigation to better understand the cyber-attack and the impact on applicants, if any,” the statement said.

(Updated with information from the Michigan Board of Law Examiners.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Allie Reed in Washington at areed@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com.

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