10/22/09

From Laura Colantoni (Syngress)

The team at Syngress recently found out through our Twitter feed that Dissecting the Hack might have plagiarized material. The twitter feeds led us to a popular blog where we found listed at least 125 instances of plagiarism-mostly from Wikipedia.

After talking to all involved we have determined the following:
* The book's technical editor is the source of this plagiarism. He greatly overstepped his role.
* He did, in fact, plagiarize despite signing an agreement that explained his role was to fact check and prevent plagiarism.
* The book's authors, Jayson Street and Kent Nabors were not involved.

As soon as we learned about this issue, we 'froze' the status of the books. On Monday, October 19th we made the decision to destroy all remaining titles.

We've learned a lot of interesting lessons in the past few days. I suspect the most important is the value of a new anti-plagiarism software program. If you have suggestions on really good ones please feel free to send them my way. But equally important has been the goodwill and generosity of so many people in this community. Our editor and the book's authors are already working on a plan to move forward due in no small part by experts in the community who have agreed to help us replace all of the plagiarized material with new content. The previous technical editor will in no way be involved with this new project- or with any future Syngress projects. We will hire a new technical editor to review the content.

Our plan is to publish a revised edition with this new content. We're also working on placing all the new content on completely open websites so that anyone who did have a copy of the book can get electronic access-anyone who heard about the book and wants to check it out can do a quick preview before purchasing.

I've talked to several experts in the field who shared good suggestions on how to ensure we deal fairly with our customers. We've taken the last couple days to check them all out and to try to balance them with some of the realities of doing business with global sales channels and a variety of contractual obligations. Then we took a deep breath and decided to follow the old K.I.S.S. rule. To keep it simple, we'll accept back 'old' books from current customers and replace them with the new version as soon as it publishes. And we'll also do multiple postings of the new material and keep it open to all for the life of the title. We post this information in a variety of sources and take out an ad or two in info sec publications. We'll always have latest up-dates on syngress.com and on dissectingthehack.com.

Although I realize it's my job to say this, I honestly believe this is a great book and can't wait to get the REAL version in my hands and yours.

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