What is Cyber Doxxing and How to Protect Against It

Since the beginning of internet errors, a lot of personal details is revealed. Publishing personal data online may be very dangerous. The internet is a pool where you will find all sorts of people including hackers, cyberbullies, and other people with defamatory intentions. Such people collect and publish personal information with a bad intention. When this is done, it is known as Doxxing. Doxxing comes from the word “documents” with the act of documenting another person’s information. Criminals dig up personal details of an individual who wants to remain anonymous and expose them to the public. The main aim is to harass or shame the person.

Although details like email addresses, phone numbers, and social security numbers are available online, there are other details like pictures, financial status, and others that are private. When such information is leaked, the reputation of an individual, both personal and professional is at stake. The victim is humiliated and may face death threats or blackmail. They are also at risk of being cyberbullied in the future or their identity stolen. The perpetrator sends threatening letters or even result in acts of violence to embarrass and intimidate the person so that they stop appearing in public. 

It is very easy to dig up a person’s information, thanks to the Internet. The information people post about themselves plays a big role in encouraging Doxxing. Doxxing happens in different ways as follows:

Social media stalkers. The hackers scroll through social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to look for the personal information of the target. They can know a person’s current location, their new jobs, or where they are heading next. 

IP Logging. They also use IP loggers to get information once the target opens their emails or other accounts. 

Wi-Fi Sniffing. The experienced hackers intercept the internet connection especially when the target is logged on a website, to get information like passwords, bank details, and credit card numbers.

How to Protect Against Doxxing

Generally, any person can be a victim of Doxxing. You may not know if what they post will trigger bad intentions from other people. The consequences of Doxxing could be fatal. Therefore, you must know how to keep safe. Here are effective ways of protecting against Doxxing:

  • Use an Encrypted Network

When using public Wi-Fi, you leave yourself vulnerable to the Doxxers. They can easily interrupt your connection and extract your personal information without your knowledge. 

With all the present exposure, your sensitive data like passwords, and login details are leaked. 

The best thing you can do is use a VPN to protect your personal information from the Doxxers. The VPN hides your real IP address, your location, and other details from the Doxxers.

  • Update your Software

If your software is outdated, you are allowing hackers to install malware. Old operating systems have vulnerabilities that usually make it easy for hackers to install the malware. 

This becomes easy to capture your passwords, personal data, and financial information. The hackers may also install ransomware and encrypt your data.

It is important to install the available updates to make it hard for malicious files to install. The updates help in patching the loopholes before malware occurs.

  • Limit Online Information

Providing a lot of your personal information online makes you a potential target for the Doxxers. This is because they can easily get what they want without a lot of digging up.

Hackers can get your real name, your passwords, and other personal details.

It is wise to limit the disclosure of your information online. If you are temporarily using a site, it can be a great idea to use face details, especially if you don’t trust the site. Dispose of any sensitive details to protect yourself.

  • Manage your Usernames and Passwords

Using the same username or password for several accounts makes it easy for cybercriminals and hackers to get back to you. It is also easy if your passwords are simple.

Access to your accounts can lead to the leaking of personal data like bank details, financial status, credit card numbers, and other sensitive details. Identity theft may also happen in this case.

Try setting unique usernames and passwords for every website you sign in to. Using your real names is a simple giveaway for hackers to track you. You should use complex passwords always. Use at least 11 characters and mix the upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.

  • Request Google to Remove your Information

The personal data you provide on websites can be used for business. These websites are known as data brokers who gather people’s data and sell it to other businesses.

The availability of your data on such websites will leave it scattered all over and this may be used for criminal intentions.

Ask Google to remove this data for you. It will ensure that the data brokers will not use your details to get money. 

In Conclusion!

Doxxing is not illegal. This means that anyone can dox you without facing any legal consequence. Since Doxxing happens randomly, you have to make sure you only display the necessary information. This ensures the attackers do not get your sensitive details they can use against you. Doxxing brings adverse consequences. Hence, use the above tips to protect yourself.

Staff writer