The term Doxing (sometimes spelled Doxxing) is a hacker’s term derived from “dropping dox (documents)”.
Doxing is the act of publicly revealing an individuals or organisations private, personal information over the internet. The information posted can vary but it tends to be information that can lead to someone’s identity being discovered, such as phone numbers, addresses, or other personal data.
Why does Doxing happen:
Doxing happens without a person’s consent, with an intent to expose information meant to stay private. Therefore, Doxing can take place for a various reason, but it’s usually used to bully, shame, threaten, coerce, or blackmail another individual.
Doxing attacks range from acts such as fake mail sign-ups or pizza deliveries, to the far more dangerous, like harassing a person’s family or employer, identity theft, threats and other forms of online-bullying, or even in-person harassment.
Being threatened with, or being Doxed, can have a huge impact on a person’s mental and physical health. Anxiety can cause issues both mentally and physically as can fear. Having personal information shared in public and without their control, can cause great trauma to the individual at the heart of it. Having personal data such as a home address or bank details shared can also have a security or financial impact too.
How to protect yourself against Doxing:
Doxers have a range of methods they use to collect information about the people they wish to exploit. They can misuse your IP address, search through your social media profiles, buy data from data brokers, use phishing campaigns, and even intercept internet traffic.
There are several ways in which you can keep your information online private and reduce the risk of Doxing:
- Stay informed
Make sure you and any family members are aware of what Doxing is and how it can happen.
- Take care with what you share
Doxing is made easier if you voluntarily share personal information publicly on social media or other websites. Think before you post personal information such as your phone number or address. Once your personal information is out there it’s hard to get it back. Avoid using details such as ‘Mothers maiden name’ or similar for your security passwords, especially if that is information you may have previously shared online without realising it.
- Take care when using public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi networks may not be secure. If you are asked to download any type of software to access a Wi-Fi network it is best to avoid it, as doing so can cause spyware to be installed on your device which in turn can lead to your personal information being stolen.
- Try Googling yourself
A quick internet search can quickly tell you what information is already out there about you. It’s important to check this regularly. Photos, reviews, comments you may have posted on platforms – they all add up to provide a user with a profile of who you are, so it is important to monitor this regularly.
- Lock down your accounts
Create new, strong passwords for your accounts and store them. Protect your accounts with multi-factor authentication and strengthen your privacy settings on all your accounts.
- Check your privacy settings and location tracking, and which apps you allow access to your data
Apps on your mobile device may gather data on you. Check what apps you allow access to your location etc. in your phone settings. Consider disabling location settings where possible to make it harder for people to access or identify your location or frequently used places.
- Protect your passwords
Don’t reuse passwords. Utilise 2FA (Two Factor Authentication) where possible. 2FA sends an alert to separate device asking permission to log into an account – this makes it harder for another individual to gain access to your accounts and data.
- Using a VPN will also help keep you safe online
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) can prevent users finding out where you are connecting to the internet from.
What to do if someone Doxes you?
If you’re doxxed on social media:
- Screenshot everything.
- Report it to the platform to get it deleted.
- Change your passwords and watch for any suspicious activity which could lead to identity theft.
- Tell Someone. Seek support from a trusted friend or family member. Or tell us here at BulliesOut.