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Would you be okay with someone posting your personal information such as your email address, work history, or home address without your permission?
Of course not, however, there’s a growing type of cyber attack called “doxxing”. So what is doxxing? Well, it is better known as maliciously gathering and publishing of an individual’s personally identifiable information online for the purpose of harassing or to cause harm.
With the rise of the internet and advanced technology, more people have access to the tools and skills they need to crawl the internet and gather your information.
In this article, we will best help you understand the concept behind what doxxing is. As well as how you can work to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. If you or someone you know is struggling with negativity online please complete the contact form below for assistance.
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What Is Doxxing Online & Why Its A Problem
The first problem to address is that some people don’t want their personal information available for anyone to see.
Now if you’re older you might be wondering why this is such a big deal?
Back then, WhitePages was a book that listed everyone’s information and was available to anyone. You might be asking, what’s the difference?
When it comes to the internet, the problem with this is that people generally don’t act like themselves when they use online services. The things they say and do online might be drastically different than the public persona that they put on in the real world.
Their behavior can range from revealing unpopular hobbies to racist hate speech. Doxxers repost the negative content along with their victim’s personal details. The more people that discover the published content, the more trouble the victim can possibly land in.
Exposed personal information is not exactly the worst issue, its more about what people do with the information. When the “doxxed” calls the attention of thousands, that’s when losing your personal and professional ties becomes the least of your worries.
Sure, what’s the harm in identifying and uncovering racists within your community? Know that the range is wide and there is a gray area.
People who may just have differing opinions have been doxxed and have received constant online harassment and death threats towards your family. Know that there are a lot of angry people looking for any reason to attack their next target.
Why Do People Dox?
In most cases, they collect personal information and images for revenge. They will crawl your online accounts and call the attention of thousands to publicly address your negative content such as online mugshots, or bad press.
Although many are targeted at celebrities and influencers, anyone is vulnerable to doxxing attacks. An example of this would be the “Lion Killer Case” where Dr. Walter Palmer hunted and killed Cecil the Lion. The lion was part of a long study that was being tracked by a research team from the University of Oxford.
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The news went viral and that was the beginning of Dr. Palmer’s doxxing attack. Once people revealed his personal information, many protests took place at his workplace, his house was vandalized and he received numerous death threats.
There are many different reasons why people would want to dox someone, but the results are never good.
What Makes Doxxing Illegal?
Doxxing attacks are illegal only if there is proof that they are being used for nefarious intent. Although people should respect the privacy of others, it is not illegal.
“Doxxers” are simply collecting information and reposting what is already public information.
How to Avoid Being Doxxed?
The more you share online then the more likely you are to be a dox victim. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you have to trash your mouse and computer to protect your reputation. The following are some preventative measures you can take to better learn what doxxing is:
Follow Strict Social Media Privacy.
Your social media activity such as your check-ins, photos, and comments can collectively reveal a lot of information about you.
It is recommended that you don’t accept unknown friend requests and adjust your privacy settings, these will limit who and how much information they can access.
Use VPN to Prevent Doxxing
This allows you to make yourself anonymous while on the internet. It hides your IP address which is a unique identifier that links you to the internet.
This makes it nearly impossible for black hats and cyber hackers to see your online activity.
Use Different Login Information
If you use the same usernames and passwords for all social media platforms, “doxxers” can cross-examine similar information on various accounts.
This will make your account information very difficult to access and won’t be worth their time.
Online Reputation Management Service
Work with a reputable online reputation company that has experience with handling negative content and personal information.
- Top 10 assumptions people make about online reputation management that are wrong.
- Learn how to build a strong brand with growth opportunities.
- Better manage your online reviews for your business.
They will provide you with a team of experts that know how to remove the content before it is found in the wrong hands.
When you understand what doxxing is, you will remember that anything you post online is never secure. However, there are proactive measures you can take to prevent it from damaging your livelihood.
So be mindful of your personally identifiable information as well as your online activity or else it might come back to bite you later on.
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About NetReputation: Fixing or creating your online reputation is our top priority. Our goal is to provide world-class Online Reputation Management Services to our clients by utilizing the latest technology and processes. Through various methods, we work to restore, improve, or create an online presence for businesses and individuals.