[ISN] 'Hacker Safe' leader defrauded investors, prosecutors say

From: InfoSec News (alerts@private)
Date: Tue May 20 2008 - 01:30:32 PDT


By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
Channel Register
19 May 2008

A Indiana state judge on Monday ordered a security researcher at McAfee 
to stand trial stemming from felony charges he and a brother defrauded 
nine people by selling $1.25m in fraudulent stock and then using some of 
the money for personal items.

Brett M. Oliphant formally joined McAfee in February, at least three 
months after the charges were filed. He faces 32 years in prison if 
convicted. At a brief hearing in superior court in Elkhart County, 
Indiana, a trial on the charges was scheduled for November 18, according 
to court documents. McAfee declined to make 29-year-old Oliphant 
available for comment and attempts to independently contact him were not 
successful. It would appear he has pleaded not guilty.

Oliphant was vice president of security services at ScanAlert, which was 
acquired by McAfee in February. At ScanAlert he managed the research 
team for the company's "Hacker Safe" labs, which provides daily audits 
of ecommerce websites to certify them as "hacker safe." Over the past 
several months, the program has come under fire after dozens of sites 
bearing the program's logo were found to be vulnerable to cross-site 
scripting attacks that could allow them to be spoofed by criminals.

According to court documents, Oliphant was charged with four felony 
counts of securities fraud connected to the sale in 2005 of stock in a 
company called Electronic Scrap Recycling Corporation (ESRC). Oliphant 
failed to tell investors that the stock wasn't registered with Indiana's 
secretary of state. And he and a brother, who also is being charged, 
allegedly diverted some of the funds to their own personal use.

"Although their stated intent was to raise investment funds to develop 
ESRC, the investigation revealed that Brett M. Oliphant and Bryan D. 
Oliphant used 'investor' funds for other enterprises and for their own 
personal living expenses on such expenditures as rent, clothing, 
vehicles and gifts," one document filed in the case reads.

The defendants later reimbursed some of the victims.

It is unclear what Brett Oliphant's title is at McAfee. A company 
spokesman didn't immediately have a comment. Brett Oliphant's ScanAlert 
bio has been removed, but according to this cache, he is called "a 
widely recognized expert in computer security."

"Prior to joining ScanAlert Brett served as the founding CTO of Security 
Profiling Inc. where he developed innovative security management 
technology including 6 patents involving patch management and 
vulnerability remediation strategies," the bio goes on to state. ®

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