Vaidehi Sachin, aka Cattechie, is an interesting persona in the Indian security community. Liked by some, despised by others, she has been writing about hackers and security for several years now. After several tips and two offers to have her book sent to us, we graciously accepted one of the offers. We had been warned that the book was mostly plagiarized, and the warning proved true.
Sachin has been accused of plagiarism before. In a second allegation, a list of plagiarized articles along with their original sources is provided. It is also interesting to note that this book contained material praising noted charlatan Ankit Fadia and also published a security advisory "written by" Sunny Vaghela.
In February 2011, Sachin received the Star & Hira Manik Award for "Best Editor (Hacker5 Magazine)" and "Best Writer (Book Cyber Terror)". Given that she wrote a fraction of the book herself, this award is absurd.
With an author, co-researcher, publisher, sub-editor and proof reader, it is amazing that a book so heavily plagiarized could make it to print. There are examples that demonstrate it was proof read and likely subjected to small changes. The first few pages of the book were written by Sachin and originally posted to one of her blogs. During the conversion, these errors crept in likely due to the phonetical translation (e.g., P17 "a guy named 'zum-zum'" was taken from "a hacker named 'xOOmxOOm'") or possibly correcting her own mistakes (e.g., P17 "internet back bone of Morocco and then hotmail.ug" from "internet back bone of Morocco google and then hotmail.ug").
During searches for the original source of material, we found repeated hits to her blogs where some of her material appeared before. We also found that her plagiarism is not exclusive to this book. Her blog post titled "Where computers go to die" appears to be copied entirely from another site that attributes the work as "Photojournalist Garima Jain travels through the bylanes of Seelampur into a surreal, post-apocalyptic world".
Finally, there are several places where her copying of two articles leaves disjointed or unfinished ideas, as no transition or explanation was added. For example, the following sentence is found in this book, with emphasis made at the break point between two separate articles she copied: "Symantec expects frauds against site users to grow as well, ||| in such crises China's cyber warriors are the biggest challenge for India."
The following table details the portions of the book that were taken from other sources, making up an estimated 90% of the material. Information is included to distinguish not only plagiarized material, but also what was done in an attempt to obscure the original source (e.g., removing text or credit). This shows willful infringement of copyright and inexcusable plagiarism. Due to time constraints, a large chunk at the beginning of the book and a few sporadic chapters toward the end were checked. Given the amount and style of plagiarism, we feel confident that the estimate of approximately 90% is accurate.
|Pages / total||Description||Original Source|
|19||Take the case of the site defacement of Vijay Mallya, the hacker had posted the name of PCA on the hacked page, but who will guarantee that Mallya's site is not defaced by Pakis.
About the resources with the governments of both the countries to hire good hackers, governments lack the resources, the infrastructure and other things which we need in case if we want to work for the government and protect our critical infrastructure.
|Take the case of the site defacement of Vijay Mallya, the hacker had posted the name of PCA on the hacked page, but we who know PCA, we knew its not the work of PCA just by looking at the page once.|
Regarding your question about the resources with the governments of both the countries to hire good hackers, I will say according to my personal experiences and what all I have seen, governments lack the resources the infrastructure and other things which we need in case if we want to work for the government and protect our critical infrastructure.
(Another 162 words, ~ 1 para copied entirely) Source: Ind-Pak hackers: Peace and War
|19-22||1. "The internet is often seen as the domai of dissidents and free spirits.." -> ".. it was asked to hack into two candidates' websites."
2. "Globally, hackers are not connected with the government machinery.." -> "..viruses and other malware once vulnerabilities are confirmed."
3. "Another group, known as 'Iran Hackers Sabotage', consisted of two.." -> "..and until these holes are filled, it is better not to annoy the mice."
|1. Four paragraphs from Cyber Wars in Iran|
2. Two paragraphs from Meet India'ss silent cyber warriors
3. 23 paragraphs from Cyber Wars in Iran
|22-23||1. "The United States was under attack.." -> "..launched at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC)."
2. "Hackers from India, Pakistan in all out war.." -> "..expects frauds against site users to grow as well."
|1. Seven paragraphs from Build an army of cyber warriors|
2. 12 paragraphs (entire article) from Why was Vijay Mallya hacked?
|23-24||"China's cyber warriors a challenge for India.." -> ".. more sophisticated ways of dealing with the "new China".||Nine paragraphs from China's cyber warriors a challenge for India|
|24-25||"The real threat to U.S. networks comes not from sleeper software.." -> "the motives, and they worry me much more than China."||Six paragraphs from The Real Meaning Of Cyberwarfare|
|25-29||"The recent China-based cyber attacks on more than 30.." -> "Google has said that as a result of the incidents:" (Sachin forgets to plagiarise the next two lines)
"The exploit code for a zero-day hole.." -> "..their proxies to disrupt our freedom and way of life."
|20 paragraphs from China's Cold Cyberwar: Rise of 5th-Dimension Red Army and Economic Pearl Harbour?|
After demonstrating this level of plagiarism in Chapter 1, due to time constraints, not all content was checked. With the exception of chapter 4, the rest of the material reviewed appeared to be palgiarized heavily. Chapter 4 appears to be a disjointed list of "all Indian hacker groups", that may have come from somewhere else, or had the leg work done by volunteers. Note that page requests information on "ALL INDIAN HACKERS TILL DATE... Indian Hackers Group", and the title of Ch4 is "All Indian Hackers Till Date... Indian Hackers Group"
|Pages / total||Description||Original Source|
|30 (Ch2)||"Dealing with sites that promote violence, sex, cruelty and extreme groups like al-Qaeda on the Internet is a concern for governments around the world,
in the absence of universal legislation that clearly defines ways of dealing with sites that violate the laws."
"The issue of the promotion of violence and terrorism on the Internet has always garnered the attention of security services, but interest in it has increased dramatically since a failed plot to blow up a commercial US airliner in December 2006 at the hands of young Nigerian Umar Farooq, who was influenced by Anwar Awlaki, the Yemeni-American activist who is currently hiding in Yemen from where he promotes al-Qaeda in his online sermons."
"Recently, the Secretary-General of International Police (Interpol), Ronald K. Noble, hinted at the difficulty that security services encounter in tackling this type of sites on the Internet, pointing out at a conference in Paris on September 21st that the number of extremist websites rose from just 12 sites in 1998 to 4500 sites in 2010."
|"Dealing with sites that promote al-Qaeda on the Internet is a concern for governments around the world, in the absence of universal legislation that clearly defines
ways of dealing with sites that violate the laws."|
"The issue of the promotion of violence and terrorism on the Internet has always garnered the attention of security services, but interest in it has increased dramatically since a failed plot to blow up a commercial US airliner last December at the hands of young Nigerian Umar Farooq, who was influenced by Anwar Awlaki, the Yemeni-American activist who is currently hiding in Yemen from where he promotes al-Qaeda in his online sermons." (Note: Sachin injects "2006" in her copy which is incorrect. The attempted bombing was in 2009.)
"Recently, the Secretary-General of International Police (Interpol), Ronald K. Noble, hinted at the difficulty that security services encounter in tackling this type of sites on the Internet, pointing out at a conference in Paris on September 21st that the number of extremist websites rose from just 12 sites in 1998 to 4500 sites in 2006." (Note: Sachin changes the 2006 to 2010 in her copy.)
Source: Jihadist websites: proliferation and suppression of dissenting views
|34-35 (Ch3)||1. "The government should employ hackers to do network penetration testing .." -> ".. primary reason for lack of experts in the country"
2. "The hacking group in question.." -> ".. organisations will continue to face." (Note: Another odd transition due to copying from 2 sources)
|1. Six paragraphs from Indian cyber offensive against hacking poor, say experts|
2. Four paragraphs from Website defacing - a new trend in hacking?
|45 (Ch5)||1. "Hacking has taken a distinctly commercial turn.." -> ".. break down the types of 'hackers' into the following categories:"
2. "Hack into the Department of Defense, go to prison.." -> ".. are the ramifications if it goes wrong?"
|1. Two paragraphs from Business Hacking: The good, the bad and the ugly (Note: Sachin leaves the semi-colon, then copies from a different source making
the transition odd)|
2. Two paragraphs from Hiring hackers: The good, the bad and the ugly
|50-52 (Ch6)||"I've got a little story to share.." -> ".. so that they can understand them and use them more effectively." (100% of Ch6)||Thirteen paragraphs (95%) from The Hacker Mentality|
|53-55 (Ch7)||"This document is a collection of slang terms used by various subcultures of computer hackers." -> ".. lexicographers will find many of the historical notes more than casually instructive."||18 paragraphs (100%) from The Jargon File|
|58 (Ch8)||Appears to be Sachin' work, originally written in 2010 for a blog (although, the original location posted may be different).|
|61-65 (Ch9)||1. Chapter titled "The fairer side of hackers"
2. Last 5 paragraphs (100%)
|1. Roughly 80 - 90% of this chapter is taken verbatim from "Copyright Does Not Exist" by Linus Walleij (1998).|
2. Five paragraphs from 'World's sexiest hacker' in $3 mn scam
|66-68 (Ch 10)||95% of Chapter 10 (last 5% not checked)||Entire work from Part II: Female Hackers Face Challenges|
|69 (Ch 11)||1. "In the beginning.." -> ".. crime ridden activity that cracker was supposed to cover."
2. "There is a community, a shared culture.." -> ".. hackers build things, crackers break them."
|1. Half of intro paragraph from How to become a hacker|
2. Four paragraphs from How To Become A Hacker
|119 (Ch 20)||Four paragraphs (100%)||Taken verbatim from Hacker definition controversy|
|136-137 (Ch 26)||Entire chapter, two pages.||Taken from Hacking for Fun and Profit in China's Underworld|
|169-170 (Ch 36)||1. "When most people think about computer security.." -> ".. person does after he/she infiltrates a network."
2. "Although the modern media has defined the Hacker.." -> ".. continuing toward a better future."
|1. Six paragraphs from The Difference Between Hackers and Crackers|
2. Seven paragraphs from Who is Hacker and who is Cracker
(Note: the copied material makes up 100% of the chapter)