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How to protect yourself from doxxing?

There are many reasons someone wants to dox you and share all your confidential information with the public to target you. Hackers have been using "doxxing" to revenge their rivals and enemies, but this practice has been extended to regular people like us. Gathering personal information online is not an easy task, but someone will go through the trouble of collecting the data to harass you is mind-boggling.

What is doxxing?

Doxxing refers to collecting someone's personally identifiable information (PII) from various online media and publishing them elsewhere to embarrass the user. An unauthorized person will research social media, public databases, and through hacking gathers a person's photos, videos, and confidential information from their personal account in an attempt to harass the person. Anyone with hatred, opposing viewpoints, and enemies become a target of doxxing.

The term "doxxing" was derived from the "dropping dox", which is a tactic used by hackers to revenge rivals.

Why would someone dox you?

Doxxing is a cyber-attack imposed upon someone similar to cyberbullying, and sometimes it's hard to determine who the actor is. You can become a target if your opinion differs from the doxxer, or go viral on some social media post that you may have posted a while back. Anyone can have different opinions, but commenting strongly on some sensitive topics such as politics, or any debates could become a target from the doxxer. Someone may feel insulted, attacked or even build hatred toward your comments, and may seek revenge in the form of doxxing.

There are so many reasons why someone may be upset at you especially if you are famous online, (i.e. YouTube channel, podcast or any streaming services you offer) and outspoke on some controversial topic. There are too many people having trouble managing their anger, and upset at small things that don't matter much. Regardless of the reason why someone may choose to dox you, you don't want to be in a situation to get doxxed.

How to avoid getting doxxed?

The best way to avoid doxxing is by not becoming an enemy of anyone, and avoid the situation entirely. Don't make people upset, insult someone, or look down on them even if they have a different opinion than you. It is so easy to hurt someone inadvertently because you make comments online, and not communicating with them directly face-to-face. Some people think it's okay to say negative things because it's online - but that is wrong.

Whether you like it or not, there is a chance that you may become a target of doxxing. It would be best if you can avoid the situation entirely, but things can go wrong and you'll have to protect yourself. There is no easy way to protect yourself from doxxing except making it difficult for others to collect your personal information. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself.

  • The first thing any doxxer may try to find you is by identifying your IP address. Revealing your IP address doesn't reveal your personal information, but the doxxer can identify your geolocation down to the city and state level. By hiding IP address, you're making harder for doxxer to find you.
  • We often publish too much personal infomation online whether it is your blog, social media, or forums. Try limiting personally identifiable information (PII) about you online, so that it will be harder for the doxxer to gather information about you. If you make it practically difficult for someone to collect data about you, the doxxer may give up completely and move on to a next target.
  • Keep on top of cybersecurity, and abide best practices. Keep your computer systems up-to-date with antivirus and malware protection so that no one can steal your personal information.
  • Keep your online accounts safe by using strong passwords, use a password manager, and 2FA (2-Factor Authentication).
  • If you find someone hosting private information about you, you can ask Google to remove content.

Conclusion

You may become a target of dox not because you're bad or immoral, but there are crazy people online seeking revenge for just having a different opinion. The best way to prevent doxxing is by not making any enemies, but people can take things wrongly. To protect against getting doxxed, you will need to protect your personal information online and limit what you share on social media and world wide web.

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