Veteran Journalist James Bernstein of Newsday Reviews Richard Torrenzano's LIU Post Presentation on Digital Assassinations
Author: beware digital assassination
By James Berstein, Newsday
April 20, 2012
Just as there are Seven Deadly Sins, there are Seven Swords of Digital Assassination, as outlined by the author Richard Torrenzano, of Oyster Bay.
These are the Seven Swords: New Media Mayhem, Silent Slashers, Evil Clones, Human Flesh Search Engines, Jihad by Proxy, Truth Remix and Clandestine Combat.
You'd have to get a copy of Torrenzano's new book, "Digital Assassination: Protecting Your Reputation, Brand, or Business Against Online Attacks," (St. Martin's Press), to understand them all.
But an audience of about 100 people turned out at LIU Post in Brookville Wednesday afternoon to hear Torrenzano's prime lesson: "In the future, which is now, all of us are going to have our 15 minutes of shame."
By that, he means, it is highly likely we will at some point or another be "digitally assassinated" by, perhaps, a Silent Slasher, who destroys personal reputations. They have been doing so since Colonial times, when Federalist pamphlets depicted Thomas Jefferson as a "swindler" and an "atheist." He denied the accusations.
Or you might be assassinated by an Evil Clone, who Torrenzano characterizes as "an evil caricature of you" who displays bad behavior online, and you get the blame.
Torrenzano, chairman and chief executive of Manhattan-based Torrenzano Group, a strategic communications firm specializing in building and protecting corporate reputations, noted that digital assassination has had some tragic consequences lately, including the suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, 18, who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate used a webcam to spy on his sexual encounters with another man.
Defending yourself against attacks will grow harder as technology expands, Torrenzano said. But all is not lost. The best way to protect yourself? "Show up," Torrenzano urged. In other words, be vigilant about your password and watch your website and other sites you use like a hawk.
Veteran communications expert Bert Cunningham of Hicksville, who was in the audience, said the lecture made him realize "that today everybody is a brand and they have to protect that brand as if it could be attacked at any minute."