It means "to compile and release a compendium of personal information about someone" and comes from a corrupted version of the term "docs," meaning "documents."
What Is Doxxing: Is It Illegal and How to Prevent Doxxing
Doxxing is publishing someone's personal information online without their consent. It can include a person's full name, home address, phone number, and email address. Doxxing is often done to harm or harass the victim. It can be a form of cyberbullying or a tactic used to intimidate and silence people, especially in the context of online activism or journalism.
In some cases, doxxing can lead to offline harassment or physical harm. It is important to be aware of doxxing and take steps to protect yourself. However, if you're unaware of what doxxing is and how to prevent it from happening, you're at the right place. In this article, you'll discover what doxxing is and the finest ways to prevent it. Let's get going!
What Is Doxxing?
Doxxing collects and publishes personally identifiable information about an individual without their permission. This information may contain a person's complete name, residential address, phone number, and email address. It is common practice for perpetrators of doxxing to harass or otherwise intimidate their targets. In the context of internet activism or journalism, it could be a kind of cyberbullying or a method used to suppress someone.
How Does Doxxing Work?
Doxxers search the web for titbits of information about a target and use this breadcrumb to expose the identity of the person hiding behind an online persona. Information such as a person's name, address, email account, phone number, and more may be found in a breadcrumb trail. To extend their illicit activities, doxxers may use the dark web to acquire and sell private information.
Doxxing often begins with an online quarrel between two parties and then progresses to one party seeking personal information about the other. In recent years, doxxing has gained popularity as a weapon in the "culture wars," as activists use it to harass and intimidate those with different opinions.
Types and Examples of Doxxing
Types of Doxxing
Several types of doxxing can occur, depending on the information collected and published. Some common types of doxxing include:
- Social Media Doxxing: Anyone may cyberstalk another user of Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, or any other social networking site to learn more about them. Weak privacy settings might expose your real name, address, phone number, workplace, friends and relatives, and even your dog's name.
- IP/SP Doxxing: IP/SP doxxing is a kind of targeted harassment in which the attacker employs social engineering to access a victim's private data by posing as the victim's internet service provider.
- WHOIS Search: Whois is a resource accessible to the public that reveals a domain name's owner(s). This data, including complete names, phone numbers, and addresses, may be anonymous. While these safeguards should be in place once a domain is registered, website owners may forget to activate them.
- Data Brokers: Data brokers have astounding amounts of personal information to sell, and they will do so to anybody who asks. Data brokers may employ malware or a malicious keylogger to steal your information. Still, they employ a combination of public records and a person's online activities to build a complete picture of who you are.
- Phishing: Phishing is luring a victim to a compromised website or email using social engineering techniques. Spear phishing assaults are a very risky entry point for doxxing since they are directed at specific persons. Though email is the most common medium for phishing attempts, you should also be wary of smishing (text message phishing) and vishing (voice over internet protocol phishing) (voice phishing).
- Phone Lookups: Doxxers may learn much more about their targets after they have their phone numbers. Reverse phone search services may be found online or via mobile apps, and they claim to be able to locate the owner's house or at least the city where the number is registered.
Famous Doxxing Examples
In 2010, the hacker group Anonymous released the personal information of several members of the Ku Klux Klan, including their names, addresses, and phone numbers.
In 2011, the private data of several U.S. government officials, including CIA Director John Brennan, was released online by a group of hackers.
In 2014, the personal data of several celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence and Kirsten Dunst, was released online as part of the "Celebgate" hack.
In 2015, several executives' personal information at Ashley Madison, a dating website for people looking to have affairs, was released after the company was hacked.
Is Doxxing Illegal?
The legality of doxxing varies by country and can depend on the case's specific circumstances. In some countries, doxxing is illegal, while no specific laws address it in others. In the United States, doxxing may be considered a form of cyberstalking, which is illegal under federal law.
Publicizing personal information to harass or intimidate someone can also be considered a form of defamation. In some cases, doxxing may be protected as freedom of speech, depending on the specific circumstances and applicable laws. Knowing your country's laws is important, and seeking legal advice if you are concerned about doxxing.
How to Prevent Doxxing?
Now that you know how doxxing works and its types, you must wonder how to prevent it, which you'll get here. In this section, we've listed some of the finest ways to prevent doxxing, which include:
1. Set Strong Passwords on Social Media
Combining upper- and lowercase letters with numerals and symbols makes for a more secure password. Changing your passwords frequently is essential, as is avoiding using the same password for various accounts. Use a password manager if you can't seem to keep track of your many passphrases.
2. Use Different Usernames and Email Addresses for Different Platforms
Create a unique username and email address for each online forum you frequent, such as Reddit, 4Chan, Discord, YouTube, and others. If doxxers use the same ones across several sites, they may put together a comprehensive profile of you. You may make it harder for others to monitor your online activity across various platforms by using a variety of usernames and email addresses for different reasons.
3. Use AirDroid Parental Control to Protect Your Kids
Since kids these days cannot live without the internet and social media; parents need to monitor their kid's activities on their phones to protect their private information and prevent them from falling into a bully's trap. If you wish to monitor and protect your kid, you need a parental control app, and you won't find a better option than AirDroid Parental Control App.
AirDroid Parental Control is a phone monitoring and control app for Android devices. It allows parents to remotely monitor and manage their children's phone activity, including calls, texts, app usage, and location. With AirDroid Parental Control, parents can set limits on phone usage, block specific apps, and view their children's activity logs.
4. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to Hide Your IP Address
Using a virtual private network (VPN) or a proxy server to access the internet is a simple way to mask your true online identity. These applications provide a secure connection to a server before entering the open network. Your IP address will be concealed from prying eyes while the VPN or proxy servers are revealed.
5. Set Up Multi-Factor Authentication
When anyone tries to log in to your account, you'll be asked for a second identification method, such as a phone number and password. By requiring a PIN in addition to a password, it makes it more difficult for hackers to get access to a person's devices or account information.
6. Turn off Location Services on Social Media
You need to turn off your location services on social media as data on your social media is public. Doxxers can track your location from there and harass you for any purpose. You can avoid that by turning off the location services on social media.
7. Notice Phishing Emails and Google Alerts
You might be the victim of a phishing attack by a doxxer trying to get access to personal information such as your home address, Social Security number, or passwords. If you get an email that seems to be from your credit card provider or bank asking for your personal information, you should treat it with caution.
Moreover, you need to notice the security alerts sent by Google. Google notifies you instantly when your account is logged in somewhere. It would help if you kept an eye on that Google alerts.
What to do if You Got Caught in a Doxxing Attack?
If you have been the victim of a doxxing attack, it is important to take action as soon as possible to protect yourself and your personal information. Here are a few steps you can take:
- Document everything: Make a record of all the personal information released and any harassing or threatening messages you have received. This will be helpful if you decide to take legal action or report the incident to law enforcement.
- Change your passwords: Change the passwords on all your online accounts, especially any accounts that may have been compromised as part of the doxxing attack. Use strong and unique passwords and consider enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) for added security.
- Remove personal information: Remove or delete any personal information posted online. This may include closing social media accounts or removing personal information from websites.
- Seek support: If you are experiencing significant stress or fear because of the doxxing attack, consider seeking support from a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional.
- Report the incident: Consider reporting the doxxing attack to law enforcement or a trusted cyber security professional. They may be able to help you identify the source of the attack and take steps to protect yourself in the future.
Doxxing releases personal or identifying information about an individual online, often to cause harm or incite harassment. It is a serious violation of privacy and is illegal in many countries. And we hope you know what doxxing is and how to prevent it after reading this article. Moreover, if you wish to monitor and protect your kid against doxxing, get AirDroid Parental Control App today!
Hottest Questions Related to Doxxing
Doxxing someone may land you in prison. Although doxxing is not unlawful in and of itself, it may lead to other crimes, such as harassment, intimidation, identity theft, etc.
It depends on the laws of the area you're living in. In some areas, doxxing someone is illegal; in others, it's not.
Doxxing refers to publishing a person's private information on the internet, such as their name, address, place of employment, phone number(s), and financial details. This data is shared with the public without the victim's knowledge or consent.
You may check whether you've been doxxed by looking for your name on Google and prominent social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you find a dossier including your details, you may have been the target of a doxxing attempt.
Sharing someone's sensitive information online without their consent, also dubbed doxxing, violates their privacy and Twitter Rules. This private information includes phone numbers, live locations, home addresses, financial information, etc.
Some states in the U.S., including New York, Virginia, Florida, and others, have doxxing laws.