THE MAGAZINE

Digital Assassination: Protecting Your Reputation, Brand, or Business Against Online Attacks

By Richard Torrenzano and Mark Davis; Reviewed by Ben Rothke, CISSP

***** Digital Assassination: Protecting Your Reputation, Brand, or Business Against Online Attacks. By Richard Torrenzano and Mark Davis. St. Martin’s Press, us.macmillan.com/smp; 304 pages; $25.99.

In the 1800s, workers who became known as Luddites protested against machinery that cut the need for their own physical labor, and the name has since become synonymous with opposition to technological progress of any kind.

Today’s Luddite would likely protest what the Internet has brought. In fact, the first 200 pages of Digital Assassination: Protecting Your Reputation, Brand, or Business Against Online Attacks has enough real-life horror stories to convince a significant number of people that the Internet’s technological prowess comes at too high a cost.

Numerous stories in the book describe how the Internet is being used to destroy brands, reputations, and people’s well-be­ing. These incidents range from inappropriate use of Facebook and blog postings to bogus Wiki­pedia entries to blatant Internet-based character assassination, and much more. The book familiarizes readers with terms such as “silent slashes,” “evil clones,” and “jihad by proxy” as the authors describe the “seven swords of digital assassination” that damage entities’ reputations.

But the book does more than scaremongering. In chapter 11, the authors write about the “seven shields of digital assassination,” or the main ways organizations can protect themselves. The authors go into great detail on how an organization should respond to online attempts at character assassination. Other valuable topics include optimizing reputation and a strategy for digital defense. The authors list many Web sites that can be used to help discover what is being said about an organization or professional on blogs, message boards, and other locations. The authors also provide an effective overview on how entities can use social media to assist in image management.

The original Luddites couldn’t stop the industrial revolution, and no one can stop the digital one. The only logical response is to adapt. Just as any business executive would ensure that the company’s physical perimeter is secured, so too must today’s executive ensure that the company’s online presence is secured. For those serious about a way to do that, this book should be required reading.


Reviewer: Ben Rothke, CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional), is an information security manager with Wyndham Worldwide Corp. The views expressed are his own and not those of Wyndham Worldwide Corp.
 

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