E-exams versus paper exams: A comparative analysis of cheating-related security threats and countermeasures

  • Guttorm Sindre NTNU
  • Aparna Vegendla NTNU


E-exams can have a lot of advantages over traditional paper-based exams, and if using a BYOD approach (Bring Your Own Device) they can also scale to large classes and peak exam days. At the same time, BYOD adds extra security challenges by using student-controlled equipment. To be viable, BYOD e-exams need not have perfect security, only about the same level of security as paper-based exams have. This article uses attack-defense trees to provide an analysis comparing the threats and countermeasures against cheating at controlled exams with paper-based exams versus BYOD e-exams. The conclusion is that neither has a clear advantage from a security perspective.