Cheating for Advancement

Cheating has always been associated with a negative state, and while it still is, many people who view cheating as wrong are cheating, but in their mind, they are just advancing themselves.  So what’s happening?  High school and college students alike are cheating, whether it’s plagiarizing a page to a whole essay, baseball players are on performance enhancers (steroids), attorneys are overstating their hours worked, and corporate fraud in even the highest executive level.  Judging from the kinds of problems, there are some particular reasons why cheating has increased.  New and heightened pressures, temptation, “everyone seems to be doing it”, and larger rewards for winning since a sense of fairness is gone.  Cheating now has a new connotation, the rewards are great, the chances of being caught are rare, the punishment never seems harsh enough and the very accomplishment of cheating seems to be rewarded.

While cheating is newly a big problem in the United States, it is not a new problem in general.  In the book, The Cheating Culture, author Callahan summarized a practice in Ancient Greece, “In Ancient Greece, the Olympic games were rife with cheating. Athletes lied about their amateur status, competitions were rigged, judges were bribed. Those caught were forced to pay fines to a special fund used to set up statues of Zeus. Greece ended up with a lot of statues of Zeus” (Callahan 15).  Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of statues now and cheating has become such a part of American life that it is prevalent everywhere. From government to religious institutions, from schooling to sports to medicine, it is almost assumed that everyone cheats, or will cheat, if given the mere chance.

The growing divide between the wealthy or winning class and the poor is part of what is contributing to the rise in cheating.  Callahan referenced shocking statistics in his book that could freak anyone; one that grabbed my attention was that “the top 1 percent of Americans now holds nearly 40 percent of all household wealth” which is “more wealth than the bottom 90 percent of households put together” (Callahan 67).  Those numbers seem out of this world, how could the top 1 percent singly possess the amount of the bottom 90 percent combined?  One has to remember that the so-called “bottom 90 percent” also includes the top 50 percent, or even the top 20%– still dominated by the top 1 percent.  The citizens of the United States in particular seem to be infatuated with money, luxury and worldly possessions.  Why is it more now, than ever?  Maybe it is because everyone is watching the celebrities, Donald Trump has filed Chapter 11 over 9 times and is currently a billionaire, the majority of rappers make loads of money, and spend it ridiculously on the twenty television screens in their H2 Hummer that gets 8 miles to the gallon.  These people are portrayed to have no worries because of their supposed financial security.  People cheat because they think it is the way to obtain what they want.  If one desires a pair of Chanel sunglasses, the typical action would be to go to the store and purchase them, however the new ‘get-ahead American mind’ looks at it in the sense that, if they steal the sunglasses, then they won’t be out the $400 it would have cost.

High school students are being pressured all of the time.  They want to get into a top tier college, however that requires good SAT scores and an extraordinary grade point average—not to mention a lot of parents have high expectations that are sometimes not realistic.  Students sometimes relate not getting a good grade or passing a test automatically to not getting into a good college and inevitably having no choice but to work at McDonalds.  Even farther on the scale, resumes are being lied on.  All of these lies are now viewed as getting ahead instead of what they ultimately are, cheating.

Tax evasion by the rich is widespread and when the rich fail to claim the correct amounts, the average taxpayer has to come up with the extra money to cover the shortfall.  Lying or fibbing on your taxes sounds so harmless, but it’s not!  When one lies, an honest person gets pushed out of what they deserve.

The same concepts are seen in Major League Baseball.  A couple of players start doing steroids, they are the ones who are hitting all of the record-breaking hits and runs, and all of a sudden—competition is fierce because the playing ground is not level.

Reporters and journalists, whose work is their writing, have been caught plagiarizing and fabricating stories.  They are doing all of these unethical things just to get ahead and be the best, by far.  It seems as though that is what everyone is trying to be, the very best.  However, they are trying to accomplish this feat by cheating.  Cheating is overall diminishing trust and loyalty throughout the United States, and compromises our value sets.  When the going gets tough, one has to stop and evaluate their situation; can one go on being ethical, and not cheating, or is the chance of them falling behind in the scheme of things to risky?  For more and more honest people, they are realizing that if they do not start cheating like the others, then they will be left behind.

While Callahan’s book The Cheating Culture is a good one, the cheating issue is so straightforward that his book seems to constantly talk about the same issues every other chapter, baseball players, high school students, CEO’s, lawyers, all lying and cheating their ways to the top.  The good news is that Callahan put forth some ideas, or suggestions for improvement.  Callahan’s first suggestion is to invest in education and job training to make sure that everyone can compete in the post-industrial economy.  Secondly, to make work pay off by increasing the minimum wage and making sure it adjusts with inflation.  Third of all, greatly expand access to higher education such as college, trade schools and graduate school.  Fourth, reassure citizens by reducing their insecurities such as health care, dental plan, etc.  Lastly, monitor where political influence starts and ends.

Once again, cheating is overall diminishing trust and loyalty throughout the United States, and compromises our value sets.  The Cheating Culture ultimately has to do with integrity, and our country as a whole has lost touch with that concept.  Everything has turned competitive, which leads to lying and cheating.  This needs to be addressed and punishments must be increased.  Ask yourself this, in order to save yourself a little extra money, would you cheat on your taxes? Would you cheat on your taxes if the chance of being caught was equivalent to being struck by lightning?  Many people view it that way, and that is why all of these fearless money gatherers are doing what they are doing today.

Description of the Frame Relay Protocol

Frame Relay provides connection-oriented data link layer communication. This means that a defined communication exists between each pair of devices and that these connections are associated with a connection identifier. This service is implemented by using a Frame Relay virtual circuit, which is a logical connection created between two data terminal equipment (DTE) devices across a Frame Relay packet-switched network.  Frame relay is an extremely efficient data transmission technique used to send digital information such as voice, data, local area network (LAN), and wide area network (WAN) traffic quickly and cost-efficiently to many destinations from one port. It is especially effective for the bursty traffic typical of most LAN interconnection applications.

Similar to X.25, frame relay uses the concept of virtual circuits to provide maximum bandwidth utilization and connectivity flexibility. A physical frame relay port can have multiple virtual circuits, each connecting to a different destination port. Virtual circuits belonging to the same physical port can share all the available bandwidth so that applications can borrow from the unused idle bandwidth for short periods of time when dealing with traffic burst.

To further optimize efficiency, frame relay takes advantage of the improvements in quality of digital transmission facility by using only the bottom two OSI protocol layers, rather than three (in the case of the X.25 protocol). By restricting its use to Layers 1 and 2, frame relay performs error detection only, whereas X.25 performs both error detection and retransmission. Frame relay leaves retransmission up to the intelligent devices at each end of the network.

In the event of errors, frame relay simply drops bad frames to reduce overhead and enable greater throughput. Congestion is handled through vendor implementation of the congestion management techniques described in the frame relay standards. Standards-compliant congestion management means that, even during congestion, each end user device has guaranteed access to a defined amount of bandwidth.

Frame relay also provides tremendous flexibility in terms of the types of devices that can be connected to the network. Because it is protocol transparent above Layer 2, the data link layer, most types of traffic can ride over a frame relay network without realizing that frame relay is being used. Because it is an access technique, frame relay is concerned only with the network interface; protocols determine the transfer of information on and off the WAN.

Security with the Use of Protocol Isolation

The backbone and protocol of the Internet is TCP/IP.  TCP/IP is a suite of several networking protocols developed especially for use on the Internet.  The suite has proven very popular, and it is also used for most UNIX implementations as well as other platforms such as Windows 2000 and Windows NT.  The problem is that TCP/IP is a “routable” network protocol.  Without some security mechanism such as a firewall, there is nothing to stop Internet users from outside the local network from trying to connect to shared resources in the local network.  This can be a serious threat to small organizations or personal home networks, as their data can easily be obtained.

A fairly simple technique used to solve this problem is called protocol isolation.  In summary, protocol isolation works by configuring the local network in a way that it uses both TCP/IP and a non-TCP/IP protocol.  Internet access is available but only via the Internet protocol TCP/IP.  Next a non-TCP/IP protocol is used for transferring shared data.  As a result, users from outside the network will be unable to obtain access to shared resources while internal users can access shared resources as well as Internet services.

In a case where an individual wanted added protection for a section of his or her network instead of binding multiple protocols to protected computers, one could place the entire segment behind a router, gateway or bridge and only provide NetBEUI or some other protocol’s network services to that section of the network.

The network protocol originally used as the default for Microsoft Networks was NetBEUI.  This protocol is fast, efficient, adds only a small amount of overhead and is not routable.  By configuring shared resources on the local network to use NetBEUI for file sharing, and by setting that as the default protocol, local resources will not be available to remote, unwelcome, users.  Additionally, an alternative to NetBEUI is IPX/SPX which Microsoft and Novell proxy servers provide standard.  Both have the ability to add “protocol isolation” to a network’s security scheme by allowing clients to use only IPX/SPX as network protocols.

Protocol isolation is a very good method of securing data, but one has to remember that all machines on the network that are using TCP/IP are fully exposed to attack from any computer in the world that has access to the internet.  It is also important to not think of protocol isolation as any form of “firewall” because it is not.  Firewalls have the ability to block and filter incoming packets, protocol isolation simply utilizes the fact that the protected computer is not sharing any resources over TCP/IP nor offering any TCP/IP services, thus there is nothing for a hostile user to connect to.

Protocol isolation techniques use network devices that do not require TCP/IP as the primary means of network communication.  They use some other protocol, such as NetBEUI or IPX/SPX, to communicate on the local network.  When these systems need to access the Internet, which requires TCP/IP, they go through some type of application gateway or have multiple protocols bound to protected machines.  Protocol isolation provides a great deal of protection because TCP/IP traffic cannot reach a system that does not run TCP/IP, but should not be considered the same as a firewall because they are 2 entirely different entities.