Cheating and Plagiarism (page 3)

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Updated on Apr 29, 2010

Cracking Software Codes

I didn’t realize it until one day I was having problems with a piece of software and searching online for a solution. In my search results I came upon peculiar words like “cracks” and “warez” which caught my attention. As I visited these sites, I quickly realized that what the sites were providing are ways to get around purchasing software, sometimes expensive software. Indeed, this is another form of theft punishable by law.

Software that is highly targeted among “crackers” is usually (a) popular and (b) comes from a company that allows people to download a trial version of its software. A trial version is usually time limited (30 days or so) or has some of the features disabled. If you like the program, you can purchase a code or key that unlocks it and allows it to run without restrictions. Some websites are providing working key codes, key code generators, or re-engineered trial versions that are actually unlocked and fully functioning. 4 Accessing and using software cracks is a much more clear-cut and undeniable example of theft.

In addition to paying hefty fines and facing other criminal consequences, using cracked software can also be problematic in that it often introduces the user to viruses, keylogging software (which logs your keystrokes including passwords to bank accounts or other systems, for example), or other viruses, worms, trojan horses, and bugs. One does not even have to download the modified software, only visit the website on which it is resides and it may automatically begin to download spyware and viruses.

Counter-Cheating Technology

Throughout history, technology has introduced battles between good and evil, right and wrong. Evolving electronics and the Internet affords us very powerful means for accomplishing great things more effectively and efficiently than ever before. At the same time, the same tools are used to wage terror, war, and scandal. A battle between right and wrong is also being waged in the halls and offices of our classrooms in regard to cheating and plagiarism. Students need to be aware that schools are increasingly using high-tech methods to combat cheating. For instance, teachers can ask students to submit their papers in electronic format which they can submit to plagiarism detection services such as Affordable software is also beginning to emerge that analyzes student work to determine if students have plagiarized material from the World Wide Web (e.g., see Also, schools are banning electronic gadgets such as cell phones and digital cameras from the classroom. Test sites are using surveillance cameras and cell phone signal jammers. Courses that are taught online are incorporating procedures to verify a student’s identity throughout the administration of an exam.

What You Can Do

First of all, don’t ignore reality. As tempting as it might be to deny that your child would cheat or plagiarize, or to attack his teacher or the school for wrongly accusing him, take a step back. Some parents are simply in denial, and they need to entertain the idea that their kid could be doing this. 5 Awareness of high-tech cheating methods is certainly an important first step in guarding your child against this risk. Take some time to also educate your children/students on the perils of all forms of high-tech theft and the risks in which they put themselves (and you). Also, make sure that they have learned to properly reference the work of others and understand the limitations of using others’ words. Encourage kids to pay for and download music, movies, and software from legitimate online services. 5 There are also available plenty of sites that offer legitimate and legal music at no cost such as:

   • (;

   • iTunes free download of the week (; and

   • SpiralFrog, a new online music destination, offering ad-supported legal downloads of audio and video content licensed from the catalogs of the world’s major and independent record labels (

   • Also check out Synthopia ( for a list of other sites giving away music mp3s.

End Notes

1. Parker, R. (November 7, 2005). High-tech options helping students cheat. The Arizona Republic. Available online:

2. Cormier, A. (September 09. 2006). Honors students punished for plagiarism: Parents worry “mistakes” will tarnish reputations. Herald Tribune. Available online:

3. Kendall, D. S. (Retrieved January 24, 2008). Nobody’s going to check parenting and plagiarism. Power to Learn. Available online:

4. Software cracking. (2008, January 24). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:41.

5. Pitterman, C. (Retrieved January 24, 2008). When your writing isn’t your own: Get the lowdown with answers to commonly asked questions about. plagiarism. Available online:

6. For example, see or


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