'World's No. 1 hacker' tome rocks security world

'World's No. 1 hacker' tome rocks security world
'World's No. 1 hacker' tome rocks security world 

By Dan Goodin in San Francisco 
The Register
22nd June 2010 

A recently published e-book penned by the self-proclaimed "world's No. 1 
hacker" is rocking the security community with back-and-forth 
allegations of plagiarism, racism, and even threats against a security 
podcaster and his family.

How to Become the World's No. 1 Hacker [1] is purportedly written by 
Gregory D. Evans, an animated felon who went on to become CEO of Ligatt 
Security International, a publicly traded company worth about 0.0002 
cent per share that bills itself as a full-service computer security 
firm. Released by the obscure Cyber Crime Media publishing house, the 
342-page PDF is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide for consumers who 
want to learn how to harden their networks against attackers. Unix 
security, Wi-Fi cracking, and web service configuration are all covered.

But it turns out that huge chunks of the book weren't written by Evans 
at all, even though no other authors are credited. For instance, 
virtually all of Chapter 12 - 5,894 words, to be exact - is identical to 
this tutorial on port scanning written by Armando Romeo and published on 
the website in early 2008. And 1,750 words found in 
Chapter 9 were lifted from this manual posted to, 
including screenshots that make reference to Chris Gates, the original 

In all, at least 13 of the e-book's 26 chapters were lifted almost 
entirely word-for-word from other sources without attribution, according 
to this analysis from Ben Rothke, a senior security consultant for a 
professional services firm, who ran the portions through iThenticate, an 
online tool for spotting plagiarism. Other sources that were used 
without credit include Security Focus,, and

"Mr Evans has never asked any permission from me and I'm the only owner 
of the copyrights of my website," said Armando Romeo, CEO of 
eLearnSecurity who says in all five Chapters in How to Become the 
World's No. 1 Hacker "have been literally copied and pasted from my 
guides" on the Hacker Center website. He added that this is the second 
run-in he's had with Evans, who regularly appears on local and national 
TV shows to talk about computer security.

Chris Gates and Donald Donzal, the author and editor respectively of the 
articles on the Ethical Hacker site, are also steadfast that Evans never 
had permission to use their content, which was first published published 
in 2007. Donzal said he's in the process of filing a take-down demand 
under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Evans - who in 2002 was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison after 
pleading guilty to wire fraud - has vociferously defended his use of the 
previously published articles. In an interview with The Register, he 
said he began work on the book in 2008, and largely drew on ghost 
writers who by contract agreed to submit "original content." He insisted 
the submissions were vetted for authenticity by a service he declined to 
name. But he nonetheless went on to challenge the authors who have 
stepped forward to complain their work has been misappropriated.



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