Preventing the use of cheats and hacks on Vocab Express

The integrity of Vocab Express and the reliance by our teachers on the activity reported by their students is crucial to the success of the application as a homework and student activity management tool. There are numerous features within Vocab Express designed to make it very difficult for students to cheat. However, students can be quite ingenious when it comes to circumventing online homework tools and as such we work hard to make the system as cheat-proof as possible.

We regularly monitor the Internet for posts on social media such as YouTube relating to purported cheats or hacks for Vocab Express to ensure that they are checked and either confirmed as fake (usually the case) or action taken to prevent them working (very infrequent).

Often the posts are harmless as they just show ways in which to edit the webpage as it appears on that computer: all web pages may be edited just like any other document, for example, modifying a score on a scoreboard or moving yourself up a leaderboard. This does not however mean that the actual scoreboard or progress chart has been changed itself – a refresh of the page will restore the correct version. As a teacher you will always see the correct version through your login.

Very infrequently – only on a couple of occasions during the history of Vocab Express – IT-savvy students have developed “hacks” or “robots” to automatically answer questions for older versions of Vocab Express. These were rendered useless as soon as they were discovered but still appear on search engines. All students should be warned against the dangers of downloading software from unknown sites / authors as they could well be malicious. The Vocab Express team monitor constantly the Internet for the appearance of any new hacks or robots and will take immediate action if needed to prevent them working and seek to contact the school of the author (it is only possible to create a hack with an active login to Vocab Express). Furthermore, we are continually developing the platform to make it harder for such hacks to be created and version 3 (launching September 2015) will introduce significant new security features in this respect.

If you are have any questions about this or are concerned about an online post, please do not hesitate to contact us using the Contact page. If you have a teacher account, the FAQ page provides more detail in this respect about specifics.