If you aren’t careful online, you can become a victim of doxxing. However, you can protect yourself from being doxxed by checking your digital footprint, using a VPN and avoiding revealing any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) online.
Keep reading to learn more about the dangers of doxxing.
What is Doxxing?
Doxxing, also called doxing is the malicious act of someone else publicly identifying or publishing personal information about you online. This could include publishing information such as your real name, home address, workplace or phone number, without your permission.
Doxxers use a variety of tactics to get information about their targets. They can discover your IP address, search your social media profiles, purchase data from data brokers, conduct phishing attacks and even intercept internet traffic.
Why Doxxing is Dangerous
Doxxing typically begins with online disagreements before progressing to one person gathering information about an adversary. Doxxing attacks can be as harmless as bogus email sign-ups or pizza delivery, or as dangerous as physically assaulting a person’s family or employer, swatting, identity theft or other types of cyberbullying.
Doxxing can be dangerous for the following reasons:
- Real-life stalking could occur due to your identity being exposed on the internet.
- Your reputation could be damaged if people use information such as your name and job to spread false information.
- Your identity could be stolen and your private information could be jeopardized and exposed to the public.
Tips to Protect Yourself From Being Doxxed
To protect yourself from falling victim to doxxing, we suggest you practice the following tips to protect your online privacy.
Is Doxxing Illegal?
The legality of doxxing is determined by the method used to collect the information and the outcome of the attack. Doxxing laws in the United States may make doxxing a felony if the material was obtained unlawfully or if the doxxing attack is tied to cyberbullying or harassment.
It is important to understand that it is not illegal to share someone’s personal information if the information has already been available in public records, if it was legally acquired and it is not with the intent of harassment or stalking.
Protect Yourself From Doxxing
Doxxers tend to target individuals with power and authority. However, anybody who shares personal information on the internet is at risk of being a victim. Don’t let your personal information slip into the wrong hands of a malicious individual. Start taking action to protect your online identity and follow the online security best practices outlined in this article. The less information you share on the internet, the harder it will be for doxxers to target you.