Gregory Evans, the CEO of LIGATT Security, is not taking the criticism heaped upon himself and his firm or his latest book lying down. Yesterday he posted a pair of videos on “National Cyber Security”, a web site under the LIGATT umbrella, as part of an article written by a “Seria Mullen”, News Researcher at LIGATT Security in which he puts forth that security professionals Chris John Riley and Ben Rothke are motivated by racism.
Let’s start with the article’s author. Geoff Belknap’s research points out quickly that the Seria Mullen who wrote this less than eloquent article bears a striking resemblance to (actual person) Knox News reporter Chloe White Kennedy.
Separated at birth perhaps?
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that what are being presented as original articles by the mysterious doppelganger Ms. Mullen are just lifted directly from other places:
Video – Part 1
Evans starts by going after security professionals Ben Rothke, who performed a careful analysis of the plagiarized material in “How to Become the World’s Number 1 Hacker”, and Chris Riley who played a part in a fairly respectful interview of Evans on a podcast released yesterday, and whom Evans threatened harm to for some reason, potentially identity confusion.
For some reason he drones on about Kevin Mitnick, and suggests that the current security industry worships the work Mitnick did. He suggests in the video that Kevin Mitnick came to him for advice on the deal being offered him by the government while the two were incarcerated together.
This was quickly refuted by Mitnick himself:
At 11 minutes in he has still not referenced the plagiarism, ostensibly the reason for making the video response. The next minute is spent discussing how much money he made and help he states having given to the community.
Video – Part 2
Evans finally decides to address the plagiarism issue in part two, wait, no he’s not.
Minute one walks through the media companies he has bamboozled into putting him on television. For some reason he equates his exposure to what he appears to put forth as a “right” to plagiarize the material of people he feels are less well known. He proceeds to discuss contracts held with two professional sports franchises, the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Thrashers; however, the contract shown appears to be with Arena Sports Marketing, LLC. The Chief Sales Officer of Atlanta Spirit LLC (parent company of the Thrashers) asserts that LIGATT has never provided “services for the Hawks, Thrashers, or Philips Arena”.
E-mails Regarding the Sports Teams
Ben Rothke took the time to verify his findings on this claim with representatives of the two sports teams:
From: Ben Rothke To: White, Tracy; Penningroth, Ailey Sent: Sun Jun 13 10:14:13 2010 Subject: Is LIGATT Security in fact the official cyber security provider of the Atlanta Hawks? Greetings, I wrote a book review of *How To Become The Worlds No. 1 Hacker* - https://365.rsaconference.com/blogs/securityreading/2010/06/10/how-to-become-the-worlds-no-1-hacker. The book is nearly a complete work of plagiarism. In the book, the author states that LIGATT is the official cyber security provider of the Atlanta Hawks. I attached an excerpt of the book which highlights that. Note that the also says he is the official cyber security provider of Phillips Arena and the Atlanta Thrashers. Can you tell me if that claim is correct? Thanks, Ben
To which he received the following replies:
On Sun, Jun 13, 2010 at 10:39 AM, White, Tracy < Tracy.White@atlantaspirit.com> wrote: That claim is not accurate. We are aware that he has made these statements but they are not accurate.
From: White, Tracy Date: Sun, Jun 13, 2010 at 11:32 AM Subject: Re: Is LIGATT Security in fact the official cyber security provider of the Atlanta Hawks? To: Ben Rothke Cc: "Penningroth, Ailey", "Wilkinson, Scott" Ben - yes, you're correct....Ligatt doesn't provide (nor have they ever provided) services for the Hawks, Thrashers or Philips Arena.
I passed out until 4:26, but there was a lot of bragging about something.
He discusses his twitter program, Learn to Hack in 15 Minutes, for which he issued a press release on May 5th. The video cuts out, and then comes back to his discussion of a teacher teaching from a text book that the teacher didn’t write. In the podcast yesterday he references the fact that a preacher will read from the Bible, but did not actually write the Bible. His overall stance appears to be that he never said he would be writing his own content as opposed to taking content from other people and therefore copying the content verbatim in his social media campaign is therefore okay. He is “taking a little here” and combining it for laypeople, which according to him is why he makes one million plus a year.
He goes on to explain that the books are not written for a security audience with various metaphors. He discusses that Chris John Riley is a joke to him (again no one is sure why or the basis for his animosity). The video cuts in and out in this part where obvious edits have been made. He insults education, and calls his audience computer nerds. He makes some references to celebrities.
We are now at 19 minutes and the plagiarism charges, the reported reason for the videos, have not been addressed.
He goes on to reference Jobs, Gates, and Dell as people who, like himself, understand both the business “and computers”.
At 11:49 in video two the discussion of plagiarism finally begins: “I wrote 60% of my book.” The analysis does not support this, there are a number of chapters with 90% similarity rates to previously published work per the iThenticate tool analysis run by Rothke. Evans stated he put out a call for “ghost writers” to which he received “stacks and stacks of information”. He states that the actual authors of the work accepted a flat fee in exchange for signing away full rights to the created work, signing a release and confidentiality agreement. He claims the “people who wrote the stuff” aren’t calling him, or “posting to your board” that their authored works were taken. His claim is that they are not doing this because they signed both a release and a confidentiality agreement. The video cuts out at 13:47 while he is still talking.
Refuting the Paid Authorship Claim
This is done fairly quickly via an example. Below find a page from the book How To Become The Worlds No. 1 Hacker:
Now let’s look at a section of the article MS Terminal Server Cracking on ethicalhacker.net:
Notice any similarities? Right down to forgetting to remove the name chrisgates on the command prompt, they’re the same.
So its a straight copy, but maybe Chris Gates was paid as Greg suggested, and elected to “sign a release”. Again, easily checked:
Maybe the check is in the mail?
This many acts of taking another person’s work without attribution would not have made it past most publishing houses. But with that said, I can’t find another book that’s been published by “Cyber Crime Media”. This mostly nonsense, ham-fisted defense of his actions is amusing on some levels, although probably not for the two real security professionals he is lobbing unsupported accusations at.
Anyhow, we’re sick of the chicanery.
We know, two posts now on the LIGATT story line. It’s like a car accident we can’t look away from. We’ll promise to get back on something more important soon.
- Gregory D. Evans Criminal History
- Fair use, plagiarism and the World’s No. 1 Hacker book
- LIGATT honestly and truly scares me
- LIGATT, a Cautionary Tale of Cybersecurity Snake Oil
Filed Under: Industrial Complex