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Digital Assassination: Protecting Your Reputation, Brand, or Business Against Online Attacks Hardcover – October 25, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


Torrenzano and Davis blend a compelling narrative, killer anecdotes and page-turning prose into a sober and worrying account of what happens when the darker side of human nature harnesses the connectedness and anonymity of today's web. Their Digital Assassination should be in the hands of anyone who has a good name--or a good business--to protect. (Mike Hayden, former Director, Central Intelligence Agency; former Director, National Security Agency)

Digital Assassination provides a compass --as well as a road map-- for navigating the potholes, pitfalls and landmines of our new digital world. It is a must read from every CEO and top executive. (Dick Grasso, former Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, New York Stock Exchange)

Do you have a good reputation? Then be sure to protect it by reading "Digital Assassination" where the authors lay out seven ways you and your company can be irreparably harmed at the speed of a Twitter post. Knowledge is power, so pay heed to the keen and timely advice here. (Charlene Li, Author of Groundswell and Open Leadership, Founder of Altimeter Group)

The Net is a reflection of everything good and bad in society, and as such has a dark side. Everyone and every organization needs to manage their reputation and protect themselves when they go online. That's the critical message of Digital Assassination. (Don Tapscott, best selling author, most recently Grown Up Digital and Macrowikinomics)

Sticks and stones may break your bones, names will ruin your reputation, cost you jobs and contracts, and destroy your career--online they will. Digital Assassination represents an indispensible--and, let it be said, completely engrossing--manual of self-defense. (Peter Robinson, fellow at the Hoover Institution, founder of, and former speechwriter to President Reagan)

Digital Assassination is incredibly timely. It unveils Internet attacks by invisible destructive villains, while offering actionable solutions to defend personal reputations and corporate brands. (Michael Jones, Chief Operating Office, Public Broadcasting System (PBS))

From the Inside Flap

"At laser speed, Internet attacks destroy reputations, brands, businesses...even lives."

From false Wikipedia entries to Yelp attacks, obscene fabricated images to Facebook privacy concerns, every CEO and celebrity, small business owner, entrepreneur, physician, lawyer, journalist and politician, parent and child, is at risk of digital assassination.

Two leading advisors to Fortune 500 corporations and public figures look beyond the technology to examine what social media realities, history, pop culture and futuristic science tell us about how to deal with digital assassins.

Richard Torrenzano and Mark Davis predict what the end of privacy will mean for civilization--and provide a course of actions to turn the tables on your would-be assassins.  Using vivid stories pulled from history and the headlines, they illustrate the "Seven Swords of Digital Assassination"-- seven distinct forms that digital attackers assume:
  • New Media Mayhem--"Gossip Girls" who pushed aside traditional media and balanced reporting
  • Silent Slashers--Online damage to your business and reputation by unfelt "cuts"
  • Evil Clones-- Confessions to something terrible using your name and image
  • Human Flesh Search Engine--Crowd sourcing that inspires instant digital lynch mobs
  • Jihad by Proxy--Moneyed interests that engage in "motive laundering" to launch deadly online attacks
  • Truth Remix--Spinning a bad fact into something far worse
  • Clandestine Combat--The ease with which competitors or enemies simply purloin your secrets
  • These "Seven Swords of Digital Assassination" cut and slice at reputations in different ways; each can be devastating, whether singly or in combination.
Torrenzano and Davis explain how these assassins work, and what you can do to minimize, neutralize, and even defeat them using the "Seven Shields of Digital Assassination"-- seven actions to protect your reputation, brand, business or life.

In our age of instantaneous global information, Digital Assassination is a savvy, streetwise, utterly entertaining -- and essential -- read.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312617917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312617912
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,396,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Kear on January 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I found this book entitled Digital Assassination similar in content to the Offensive Internet: Speech, Privacy, and Reputation, but a lot easier to understand. The Offensive Internet was written more like a legal brief. Digital Assassination is written like a survival guide to the dangers you and a company's reputation face on the internet. Hackers and nasty individuals can access your personal information and turn it against you. The book points out that these nefarious hackers can even take on your own identity and put words in your mouth. It also warns of putting embarrassing digital information about youself online that could one day be an unflattering clip on YouTube. As the book mentions this could even affect future employment prospects.

At times the book can seen a little over dramatized like those Y2K book scares used over a decade ago. However, the authors give concrete examples of damage done to individuals and companies in cyberspace. The internet has become a battle ground with individuals with an agenda.

One case I remember mentioned in the book concerns General Motors and its Daewoo division in South Korea. Chinese hackers broke in to GM's computer network and stole plans for a car called the Spark. Later, GM executives were shocked when China's Chery car company released a car virtually identical to the Spark. This kind of industrial espionage is unfortunately becoming more common place.

The book also mentions slander as becoming a big problem on the internet. In this digital age many have access to technology that can defame any person or company. It seems big brother is watching and it maybe somebody with a digital camera that can post an unflattering image of you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ben Rothke on February 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Debra Feldman on November 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The topic of personal branding and online security have been documented by many authors. Only Richard Torrenzano and Mark Davis present information not only about how to develop a branded presence online, but they also give excellent examples and spell out how you can be attacked, how to monitor your reputation, and make sound recommendations to address threats. Readers may be shocked to learn that an offender may not have intentionally meant to harm you, but neither you nor they have control over what happens once something is on the Internet. The authors make it clear that only a fool would choose to be naive about their digital footprint and ignoring the results of searching "your name" is like being an ostrich or worse.

The authors do not leave you gasping in horror. Thankfully they do their best to motivate readers to take action to prevent future threats and counter existing ones. They suggest how to run a diagnostic scan online, what do do with the findings and implement a corrective and preventive plan. Digital Assassination includes strategic advice and tactical how-to's to guard against character assassination and when, where and how to fight if you are maligned.

Know what is really scary and proves how quickly the online social environment is changing? This book was very recently published and Google + is not indexed. Yet another chance for potential challenges as well as opportunities to pro-actively strengthen your online identity and take control before someone does it for you without your permission. Mr. Torrenzano and Mr. Davis, are you already outlining updates for a new edition?
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