‘Results via SMS’ is a first, but was the website hacked? Not really

Now that the results and the scorecard are out, it does not matter. But what really happened this morning, and why were some CAT 2015 aspirants able to see their results when they weren’t supposed to?

Media has been rife about the CAT site being hacked, but the CAT Convenor, Prof. Tathagata Bandyopadhyay, is certain it was no such thing. A note issued by Prof Bandyopadhyay says

We had messaged the total percentile to all the candidates at 1:50 pm… 

Today morning (between 9:00 – 9:40 am), some students accessed their own results (not others) on the portal during the period the website was being updated, which caused some confusion among students. There was no leakage, no error or hacking of data whatsoever. TCS plugged this loophole immediately.

Yes, we agree there was no leakage, but what happened was really simple. Ever since the CAT officials announced that CAT 2015 results would be out in the second week of January, aspirants have been checking the CAT website every day. This morning, a bunch of students realized that they could log in to their profiles on the website. They were able to find their scores, available in the HTML source code of their profile page – as easy as that.

When CAT officials realized this glitch, they shut the website down for a couple of hours. Apparently, it was under maintenance, which meant that public access – even after logging in – was not supposed to happen.

While it is not confirmed, it is believed that since some students were able to see their results before the scheduled time, an effort was made to send the results to all aspirants via SMS.

A similar event had occurred in 2011, when a couple of CAT aspirants were able to see their scores before others. Then too, the CAT website was under maintenance, and the students had managed to log in and find their scores during a website update.

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