LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Three years ago, a teenage boy, using nothing more than a PC, panicked the stock market by putting out a report about the late Steve Jobs.
Jobs was very much alive in 2009, but the kid said he'd had a heart attack. The stock market overreacted, and Apple stock dropped precipitously before the report was corrected.
Richard Terranzanono tells that story and dozens of others in the book he co-authored, "Digital Assassination."
It's not just the Steve Jobs of the world.
"I think if you're a student or a parent or academician, if you're a CEO or a celebrity, if you are a lawyer or a small business owner," said Terranzano.
These attacks in various forms have their own nomenclature. Google bombs, truth remix, motive laundering and more. All result in a damaged reputation of their intended target.
Josh Carroll is an information security specialist from central Arkansas who told us the unforgiving nature of the internet is especially hard on the unemployed.
"35 percent of employers now search for new employees online, will actually search their name through a search engine," says Carroll.
If they find a negative result, that could cost them a job. These days, everyone has a camera. That complicates this issue even more.
"Not only do you have to watch what you post online, but now you have to be concerned with what you do in the public eye," Carroll said. Once the comments, blogs, claims, stories, posts have hit their target, they don't go away.
Carroll pointed out, "The rule of thumb IT professionals customarily use is once it's stored on line, it's there always."
God may forgive... but Google never forgets.