Kahoot! Bots: The Rise to Fame

If you—or your children—have been through some kind of schooling over the past decade or so, chances are you’ve had at least a couple of experiences with Kahoot! What began as a fun and interactive online learning platform—usually celebrated in the classroom, since quiz games tend to be more exciting than lectures—has quickly turned into a hotspot for cheat codes.

By Emily Rubin
June 26, 2020

If you—or your children—have been through some kind of schooling over the past decade or so, chances are you’ve had at least a couple of experiences with Kahoot! What began as a fun and interactive online learning platform—usually celebrated in the classroom, since quiz games tend to be more exciting than lectures—has quickly turned into a hotspot for cheat codes.

What are Kahoot! bots?

To explain the implications of Kahoot! bots, let’s first discuss this game-based learning platform. Kahoot! is an online quiz game where teachers input questions, to which students provide answers via their mobile device. Teachers often use Kahoot! to test their students’ knowledge and to welcome a little friendly competition into the classroom. The learning platform has gained popularity over the years, perhaps most notably in the recent months as teachers are adapting to online teaching. Kahoot! bots are easier to deploy when participants are playing remotely because teachers cannot proctor the quiz—hence the significant uptick in bot use since remote learning has become the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A bot-free game of Kahoot! only includes the names of people participating in the quiz.

What are Kahoot! bot hacks?

Kahoot! bots can spam the game in a couple different ways. Many students have used bots (that they either created themselves or found via third-party platforms) to correctly answer all the quiz questions. Bots like these are programmed to steal the answer key and complete the quiz in a timely and accurate manner, enabling a student to win—even when that student doesn’t know anything about the subject matter. The other way Kahoot! bots hack the game is by flooding it with too many users. This often causes the site to crash, ending the game (and saving all of the students from having to participate).

A Kahoot! screen looks something like this when the game is flooded with bots.

Across the internet, students have found and created plenty of different cheat codes, platforms, and tutorials to use Kahoot! bots. There are Chrome extensions, apps, sites, and techniques galore. With so many options, it’s hardly surprising that the Kahoot! bot hacks have become so common. Although we usually like to applaud young coders, this situation does not exactly exemplify good intentions.

In addition to bots, some students tap into their social networks to help out. This is most notable on Twitter, where people publish their class’s Kahoot! code (which is unique to each quiz) and ask others to join and spam the game. Although this is a less reliable approach, students have still managed to succeed in flooding and crashing the site.

So how does one stop Kahoot! bots?

When this problem initially arose, Kahoot! installed two-factor authentication in an effort to combat bots. It has since received feedback expressing varied success. An assortment of other strategies and demonstrations to prevent hacking can be found on YouTube, but these methods have not produced groundbreaking results either.

The truth of the matter is that bots can be extremely tricky to stop, especially when there are different ways to deploy them. Furthermore, the variety of platforms and maneuvers available to users makes it even more difficult to find an all-encompassing solution to the Kahoot! bots hack.

Moral of the story: There is no singular answer or process to stop Kahoot! bots. A commonly suggested strategy is to first figure out what kind of bots are being used, conduct research about what other people have done to stop them, and finally test different strategies until one is consistently successful. Although this may seem like a tedious task, it’s important to experiment and share results so that the community can make collective progress toward improving the game’s integrity.

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