Ball tampering is illegal by the laws of cricket. It is, however, relatively common. Players at the highest levels are caught and punished regularly, with an instance every year or two.
Normally these punishments are fairly mild, amounting to a caution or a fine. This seems in keeping with the nature of the offence, for which there is little clear evidence that it confers much, if any, advantage.
The 2018 Australian scandal, though, has seen bans and resignations from three players and the head coach. This is many orders of magnitude more severe than usual.
I understand there are aspects of this which make it more serious than usual: the fact it was premeditated, and that it was planned by two senior players who pressured a junior to enact it. I appreciate that some of the players involved have been revealed as unpleasant hypocrites, who have previously denounced cheating.
But nonetheless, a year's ban compared to a small fine seems an astronomical escalation. Why?