Academic fraud appears to be on the rise as millions of U.S. students attend school virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Cisco (CSCO) Talos Director Craig Williams joined Yahoo Finance to discuss why academic fraud is escalating in the age of remote learning.
According to data from Cisco Talos, Cisco's threat intelligence organization, there’s been a 400% increase in online academic fraud since 2019. Williams also notes that there has been an additional 4% increase since August.
“We’re seeing students go to these questionable sites to try and get these reports written by someone else. And the real problem with that is they don’t really know what kind of sites these are. Sometimes they get fraudulent reports, and sometimes they get malware.”
Besides ethical concerns, Williams tells Yahoo Finance that another problem with online cheating is the increased security risk.
“When you have these documents coming down from these sites that are just selling them as pre-written reports, you know, enabling cheating, it’s unfair to the other kids. And you’re also taking these documents onto your network that are using some of the same techniques that we all rely on for pretty graphics and interesting visual aides,” he said.
“But they’re also using that to enable attackers to control the machine. And so what that can do is allow a threat into your home, which can then use your network for malicious activity.”
Williams says accessibility is part of the reason for a rise in cheating.
“A lot of these questionable apps are being sold in app stores, and they’re advertising themselves as legitimate methods to have essays written. For example, now the issue happens when students go to these sites and instead of getting an essay, they get redirected to another site with malware, or maybe they do get an essay, but it’s actually written very poorly, and they’ve ended up wasting money and time that they could have been using to further their education.”
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.