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Doxxing - What is it?


What is Doxxing?

It is the release of personal information about a person online with malicious intent. Hackers often use the term as a verb to refer to resolving a person's real life details, such as their names and addresses.


Doxxing is not hacking! Hacking is compromising security - doxxing is merely releasing personal information about someone online. A hacker may hack into a target's computer and steal all of their personal information and release it, but we can't say that they hacked him or her if all they did was release his or her personal information.


Doxxing has been around for decades now, but ever since the rise in popularity of 4chan, 8chan, Anonymous, GamerGate, etc., there has been an increase in reports of people identified from photos on social media.


What is Doxxing used for?

Doxxing is most often used to intimidate the victim, or the person whose personal information was released. While it's not always used with malicious intent, it is still a form of bullying.


It is also often used by hackers in order to make public true information about their victims in an attempt to ruin their reputation or credibility.


Only some types of doxxing are illegal depending on where you live. For example, in California , New Jersey , Florida and Alaska the release of personal information without consent is illegal under state laws. In other countries such as Thailand and Singapore you can face fines and up to 5 years in jail if you doxx someone.


What do I do if I'm being Doxxed?

If you believe someone has identified you from an anonymous photo, social profiles, people search website / data brokers and they are using the information to harass or intimidate you - contact local authorities.


Depending on local authorities capabilities they can work with other agencies to try and get the IP addresses tracked or other tactics in locating the perpetrator.


How Not to Become a Victim of Doxxing

First, don't give anyone the opportunity to dox you. Don't leave personal information laying around that can be accessed by everyone with just a few clicks!


Use strong passwords, anti-virus, anti-malware and ad blockers. Use a VPN if you don't want anyone to know who you are or where you are while online. If you have decided that it's OK for people to know certain information about yourself then at least put effort into protecting your privacy online by using proxies, private browsing, https etc.

Stay away from the most obvious internet traps. Stay away from social media sites (or at least don't allow your profile to be visible to everyone), forums with personal profiles, photo galleries etc!


Don't give your name out on chats or message boards - this is especially dangerous with 4chan's /b/ board. This place isn't as anonymous as they claim it is… what makes doxxing even worse is that anyone can find anything out about you via Google search.


How common is it?

It has become an epidemic in society today. It's all over the news - in social media such as TikTok, YouTube, Instagram. Some people believe that doxxing is never ok but others believe that if you're involved in something like corruption or terrorism then it is justified. But others, use doxxing as a way to bully and harass someone into doing things they wouldn't for just the pure joy of it, for financial gain or to inflict harm on the victim to where they lose their place of employment.


What methods are used to Doxx?

There are various ways that someone can be doxxed - even if it's not directly obvious that it has happened. Some common ways include:

  • Looking up names via Google search engines

  • Checking Facebook profiles etc.

  • Gathering personal information from online forums, comments sections of websites etc.

  • Tracing IP addresses via proxies, sites such as WhatIsMyIPAddress, etc.

  • Getting information from databases which aren't secured (dump databases) - like usernames, password hashes, emails etc.

  • Tracing someone's phone number via social media.

  • Checking who an email address belongs to by sending an email to it and seeing where it gets delivered to.

  • Using services such as Spokeo, Pipl, BeenVerified - these are search engines for people information.


Wrap-Up:

Doxxing is a serious issue that can have lasting impacts on victims. It's important for everyone to be aware of the dangers and take steps to protect their personal information.


At Reclusion, we are committed to helping consumers stay safe online and provide privacy guides for Social Media, People Search / Data Brokers removal and Marketing List removal. A little effort today protecting your privacy - can pay off later down the road (think of it like insurance)!