Question Security Reminder

Friday, November 10, 2023

NAQT would like to remind the quiz bowl community, especially tournament directors, about the importance of maintaining question security for upcoming events. Please be vigilant about attempts to acquire question sets by email, as well as about offers from unknown or unfamiliar parties to spectate, moderate, or scorekeep at tournaments, especially those held online.

Among other things, tournament directors should pay careful attention to the addresses from which requests for questions are sent. Look for addresses that are similar, but not identical, to known addresses. Impersonation attacks have been known to use such addresses to gain inappropriate access to questions.

We strongly encourage tournament hosts using our questions to contact us directly if they receive any messages seeking inappropriate access to questions, even if they seem like spam. Sometimes small pieces of evidence are valuable in helping us piece together a larger situation.

This reminder is prompted in large part by our recent discovery of a cheating attempt committed by a high school player. This player sent pseudonymous emails to at least seven tournament directors, in some cases attempting to acquire current-year NAQT sets and in another case attempting to spectate at a tournament using a set that this player's team was to play later. In at least one case, this player impersonated another school's faculty coach. These efforts were ultimately unsuccessful due to some recipients notifying NAQT and their joint efforts with NAQT to understand what was going on. We are very grateful for those tournament directors' vigilance and assistance.

The aforementioned player has been permanently banned from all forms of participation in NAQT quiz bowl (including playing, staffing, coaching, and spectating). In light of the circumstances of the case, including the age of the player, we have decided not to release the player's name and school publicly at this time. NAQT is privately providing other quiz bowl organizations, including directors of in-person tournaments in the player's region and selected tournament directors who run national-scale online events, with information about this case, including the player's name and school.

If you have comments or concerns about question security, or additional relevant information to share about any unusual incidents, please feel free to contact us at naqt@naqt.com.

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