Photo by Conor Luddy on Unsplash

Restrictions & deprivation are cruel but powerful teachers. Sadly, we don’t often appreciate what we have until it’s gone. Viral pandemics are not the only thing that can lock us down. Extortionists immobilise one’s ability to make a living so they can make theirs. They apply their craft in various ways:

1. Publishing lies aimed at destroying reputation, using faux blogger news sites & proxy sites designed to propagate the lies. In the age of click-volume & herd-followers equals truth, it sadly works.

2. Engaging in DDOS attacks to cripple or deface your web presence or e-commerce site.

3. Attacking/stealing intellectual property or other assets (i.e. Cyber Ransom).

4. Posting deepfake images or personal (& potentially compromising) images.

Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Whatever the method, an attack leaves one feeling trapped by an enemy one can’t see or comprehend. It’s a lot like being pushed into lockdown because of a vicious virus.

Predators abound. But you don’t need to be their prey. As CIOs/CTOs hold Red Team events to test cyber security, consider having a Reputation Red Team event.

Test how soft a target you or your company may be to extortion or other reputation threats. Seek help before the criminals even get the chance to lock you down.

Additional Resources

“Reputation and Its Risks” by Robert G. Eccles, Scott C. Newquist, and Roland Schatz; Harvard Business Review February 2007 Issue

“New Extortion Scam Threatens to Ruin a Website’s Reputation”

“Why Deepfakes Pose An Unprecedented Threat To Businesses”


STEPHEN GROSSMAN is a crisis and critical event response consultant, specialising in reputation management and tackling cases involving extortion, blackmail, fraud, intractable disputes, malicious litigation, and threats to life. He has over 25 years’ experience managing business intelligence and investigations. Grossman is a subject matter expert in investigative interviewing, behavioural profiling and deception detection. He is frequently asked to carry out complex alternative dispute resolutions and high stakes negotiations for both private and public sector clients

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