The Internet has drastically affected the way we live and communicate. Sadly, bullying and offensive communication have also found their way online. Doxxing is just one of the examples of how information availability can work against you. What does Doxxing mean, exactly? Doxxing meaning comes from the term ‘dropping box’ and ‘docs’ and stands for revealing one’s personal information against your consent. Is Doxxing illegal? Definitely.

Doxxing may include more than one’s name and links to social media accounts. Unfortunately, hackers and malicious acquaintances can make your address, phone number, and even credit card information public. A rarer entrepreneur or a celebrity manages to avoid Doxxing, but it is possible with a proper understanding of Internet security. Let’s take a look at the common Doxxing tools and types before discussing how you can protect yourself.

What is Doxxing? Examples by Intent

Just online regular-life bullying, Doxxing comes in various forms. Here are just some of the most widespread examples of Doxxing people.

Celebrity Doxxing

Celebrity gossip and sharing unconfirmed information is the ground principle on which the yellow press works. Unpleasant as it is, gossip and fake news has nothing to do with Doxxing. Doxxing implies sharing celebrities’ home addresses, phone numbers, mortgage info, credit card status, etc to Doxxing sites. You can only imagine the drastic consequences this Doxxing type may have for the victim.

Faulty Doxxing

Faulty Doxxing stands for linking innocent people to illegal or doubtful activities. This Doxxing type may not necessarily be done on purpose; it could be a mistake by an overzealous activist — for example, when someone identifies a harmless citizen as a former Nazi. Still, such an accusation may result in reputation loss, which for some people, may imply losing a high-responsibility job. Often, public accusations lead to harassment, bullying, and even physical harm — often with lethal consequences for the victim.

Revenge Doxxing

Revenge Doxxing is a purposeful false accusation. Differently from the Doxxing example above, such a public accusation is often an act of revenge. Still, the consequences may be as dire. Doxxing victims may lose their jobs, reputations, and even lives. And the worst part is, this type of Doxxing comes from someone close to them, not just a stranger.

Swatting Doxxing

Another example of a false accusation that implies calling the police and directing them to the wrong person — an unsuspecting one, at that. This is a severe form of harassment that may have horrendous consequences both for the victim and the prankster. In 2017, a SWAT team shot a resident who was accused of murder and holding hostages. The Doxxing laws violator was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

How to Protect Yourself from Doxxing?

Now that you understand what is Doxxing someone and how dangerous it may get, it is time to learn the basic protection techniques.

Online & Social Media Privacy

Today, you can find literally anyone on Facebook and Twitter. But, if you take a good look, you will see that celebrities and entrepreneurs do not make their phone numbers or emails private. This is done not only to avoid stalking calls from ‘mere mortals’ but also to protect one’s online privacy. The less data you make public, the harder it will be for the hackers to find sensitive information on your offline activity.

IP Masking Against Doxxing

Most online conversations can be easily read if your connection is not secure. No doubt, many messengers today use an encrypted connection, but this still does not mean that you cannot take extra protection measures. Masking your IP with a VPN ( Virtual Private Network) is a good habit — not only to hide your physical location but also to create a second ‘layer’ of web encryption. In fact, many IT make VPNs obligatory for accessing their internal trackers and servers with sensitive information.

Throwaway Registration Email

Most websites today require an email to register, and having a ‘spam-box’ is always a good idea — not just to avoid unnecessary marketing emails but also to protect your privacy. Make sure this email is unrelated to your real name, valid personal & professional email, phone number, and even hobbies. Of course, when you join reputable platforms that send important updates you need (banking, software repository, etc.), using a valid email is a better idea. But, when shopping online, a spam-box will do just fine.

WHOIS Data Protection

When you register a domain, registrars always ask you for personal information, and there is no way not to share it — if, of course, you need a domain. On the other hand, you can choose which data will be publicly displayed in WHOIS services. It also would not hurt to find out which information protection measures your registrar offers. And, of course, sticking to reliable service providers with proven reputation is vital to avoid Doxxing.

Deleting Your Google History

Google is a huge helper in our daily operations, and it’s no secret it knows us better than our own relatives. Still, you would be well advised to regularly delete your information from Google Maps Timeline to avoid any hacks or leakages. Also, avoid sharing too much information online — not only with search engines but also with social media. Another suggestion would be to use services that can clear your data (phone numbers, emails, photos) from any sites of your choosing.

Recommended Reading : 

As you can now see, Internet security is no joke. And, even though ordinary people do not often fall victim to Doxxing, you’d better be safe than sorry. Follow these simple tips to protect your identity and reputation from any malicious Doxxing attempts.

Author’s bio:

Hey everyone, it’s Coach Alisa Weaver 🙂

Teaching and coaching is my passion and career choice. I find great satisfaction to see others achieve their goals, whether it is recovery from injury or surgery, strengthening the body for competition, or just becoming fit. 

I think that anyone can improve their fitness level no matter what their physical condition may be. By pushing yourself, discipline, not giving up together we can make your goals happen.