The internet is a vast, wild place, and although it’s taken us into a new age of sharing and privacy, it’s not always been safe for us. So many programs on our devices can keep our information private, but scams and breaches always seem to happen.

Challenges

Read about technology and develop your digital literacy by creating content on tech topics

Doxxing

So what exactly is doxxing?

The internet is a vast, wild place, and although it’s taken us into a new age of sharing and privacy, it’s not always been safe for us. So many programs on our devices can keep our information private, but scams and breaches always seem to happen.

One of the most significant issues with the internet is Doxxing. Doxxing is when someone online targets you and releases all your personal information, like your full name, address and contact details. This information is then nonconsensually released to the public, usually on the internet. Doxxing happens for many reasons, although it’s a form of online harassment that is also used for good reasons. It can be both hazardous and extremely justified at the same time. 

Why is it dangerous?

If someone has access to your information by stalking, hacking or gaining your trust and breaking it, anyone in the world can find where you are. If these people have your address, you are vulnerable to someone turning up at your home. Doxxers will typically scour the internet to get as much information on a person as possible and pull it all together before releasing it. It harms young and vulnerable people because you have no idea who could be looking at this information and writing it down. 

Doxxing can also be good!

Don’t understand? Here’s the deal, doxxing can expose bad people who are hiding under anonymity. 

The online hacker group ‘Anonymous’ have taken the responsibility of keeping the internet safe from bullies and predators. Over the time that technology has risen, they’ve been doxxing people who are members of the Klu Klux Klan, as these hateful people have been keeping a mask on their identity and hiding from justice. 

Anonymous uses doxxing to bring online bullies’ and predators’ faces and information to light so the population is aware, can keep themselves safe, and for the authorities to step in. 

How do doxxers get your information? 

There are many different ways they can get this. One way is to pretend to be your friend and gather information over time; another is to hack you by clicking a link that allows them access to your computer. They’ll call the link something interesting to make you want to click on it. They can also gather information from social media accounts, so you could be at risk if you don’t have your privacy settings set.

Doxxers can also buy your information from online data sources! They can get this information from public records such as government records, voter registrations, marriage licences, search histories, customer loyalty schemes, and online shopping behaviours. 

With this, people can do what they want. People have used this to call in fake bomb threats or hostage situations to people’s homes, which can be incredibly damaging. That is what is referred to as swatting. For example, a teenage boy got upset over a $1.50 bet he made online, he asked for help from a swatter, and this person called a fake hostage claim to the police using the target’s old address. When the SWAT team arrived, an innocent 28-year-old man got shot.

How can we protect ourselves from doxxing? 

The first thing to do is to make sure that all your personal information is secure, play around with your privacy settings on your social media accounts and make sure that you don’t give out personal information to the public. Don’t trust strange links, and always ask a person if the link they sent you was them. Lastly, don’t trust people explicitly online; not everyone you meet will be friends and telling them everything about you could put you in a lot of trouble. 

Create digital content on this topic

Digitize-Article-Thumbnails-1-jpg

Doxxing

Useful links on this topic

discover more about the digital world