As more college courses become available online, more students will be subjected to proctored online tests. Remote proctors help quell the concerns many in higher education have about students cheating on tests and exams that weigh heavily on grades.

If you haven’t been subjected to one yourself, the idea is a high-tech version of your traditional proctored test — with a twist. An online proctor monitors both you and your computer via webcam and remote access screen sharing. This allows the proctor to confirm your identity and make sure that you’re not using any resources to boost your grade.

However, giving a stranger access to your computer can be unsettling. On Facebook, one reader asked us for a way prevent the proctor from accessing personal accounts. This post should give you peace of mind about the future security of your Mac.

Things to Check

Initially, I thought creating a new user account and blocking access to applications would prevent any unauthorized snooping by the proctor. If you were to leave your computer unattended for a bathroom break, that might be useful; but the proctor would not be able to access anything while you’re present without alerting you.

You also need to be logged in as an administrator for remote access to work.

So instead of worrying about this during your test, here’s a list of things to check afterward to ensure you’re safe from any sort of unauthorized access:

  • Make sure the screen sharing icon is not active in your menubar — it may look like two windows overlapping or a monitor with a pair of binoculars on-screen. If you see either or these icons, someone is connected to you remotely.
  • To prevent any future access, check your sharing settings by navigating to System Preferences then Sharing. You should uncheck “Screen Sharing,” “Remote Login,” and “Remote Management” if they are active.
  • ProctorU, one of the most popular online test proctoring services, uses LogMeIn Rescue to monitor students during tests. In order for a proctor to access your Mac, you would need to login to Rescue and establish a connection with them. You can always uninstall the program after a test to put your mind at ease.

Image: ProctorU