University students will need to ditch dodgy practices after the higher education watchdog blocked a range of academic cheating websites.

Australia’s university regulator, TEQSA, has for the first time used new special protocols to prevent access to the most-visited cheating sites.

The 40 websites blocked by the regulator are visited about 450,000 times a month, Education Minister Jason Clare said. 

“Illegal cheating services threaten academic integrity and expose students to criminals who often attempt to blackmail students into paying large sums of money,” he said in a statement. 

“Blocking these websites will seriously disrupt the operations of the criminals behind them.” 

It’s the first time the regulator has used new protocols it developed with the communications industry and internet service providers to stop people from accessing cheating services. 

The protocols streamline the process for blocking illegal sites and allow the regulator to enforce Australia’s anti-commercial academic cheating laws.

Laws introduced in 2020 made providing cheating services on a commercial level a criminal offence. Those found in breach face two years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $111,000.

The laws also allow the Federal Court to force carriage service providers to block access to such cheating services.