Doxing has become a popular term among internet users in the last few years and turned into a burning question for most people who are pretty conscious about their online safety and security. In this article, we have tried to put our focus on Doxing and analyzed its different aspects that are considered vital for each person who is using the internet.
1. What is Doxing?
2. Is Doxing illegal in the US?
3. How to Dox someone?
4. What information did the Hackers want through Doxing?
5. How to protect yourself from doxing?
What is Doxing?
In the modern era, there is a lot of information scattered over the internet which includes very important personal and confidential information of individuals or groups of persons. Hackers with malicious intent are always interested in those information to use it for the wrong purposes. This use of your personal information by someone with malicious intent is called Doxing.
Your personal details such as your name, address, DOB, mobile number, and other contact information can be easily used by hackers for malicious activities or illicit purposes. And this information can be easily retrieved by hackers from those websites where you have ever made a registration to enjoy its services.
Is Doxing illegal in the US?
Doxing can not be considered an illegal activity until it is performed with some malicious intent or criminal purposes. Many companies also perform Doxing to accumulate user information to target them as their new clients or leads. That is a genuine way of Doxing and that is quite legitimate as well. But when Hackers target people or groups of people with some malicious intent by using their personal and confidential information for the wrong purpose, then a criminal case can be filed against them as per federal laws or state laws and they are supposed to face legal action.
How to Dox someone?
Hackers generally use these common ways to Dox Someone:
This is the most common way of Doxing and extracting personal information right from the individual’s social media account is not a big deal for those hackers. From security questions to photos, friends, and events, everything that is related to the social life of a person can be completely unveiled, and further, it can be used for some malicious activities as well.
Tracking down the usernames
Hackers or Doxers can easily target people on social media by tracking the usernames across websites and building a personalized report for each user. The user thinks that he or she is are anonymous over the internet but they are still prone to get spotted and targeted using that personalized data of a particular user.
This is the most simple way to dox someone and it only requires a quick WHOIS search by the hacker to crack down on your personal information, which you have provided at the time of registration over the domain.
Phishing is the common way to perform doxing. Hackers pose themselves as genuine user or organization and ask a user to supply all the necessary information for any type of registration through a link. As soon as the user clicks on that link, the hackers hunt down their device to get all personal and confidential information.
Tracking IP Addresses
Once your physical location is exposed, you are completely prone to cyberattacks. After getting your physical IP address, all your personal information can be easily picked up by hackers.
Hackers can also adopt this way to filter all the information coming from you in the form of packets over the network. They can easily plan a cyber attack and filter out all the confidential information including your Net banking logins, passwords, or credit card details.
What information did the Hackers want through Doxing?
- Physical Addresses of Home and Businesses
- Contact numbers(Phone)
- Email Addresses
- Social Media Account information
- Family details
- Financial details
- Online search histories
How to protect yourself from doxing?
Don’t be afraid of Doxing as some important measures can help you to keep away from Doxing incidents.
1. Using a VPN to mask your IP address
The Hackers will always try to track your IP address which can be further used for some illicit means. To avoid such a situation you can use a VPN that will mask your IP address and will keep you protected from those malicious hackers or cyberfrauds.
2. Use strong passwords
Always use strong passwords with several different combinations including uppercase, lowercase, and special characters. Also try to use as many different passwords for various websites so that even if one of the passwords gets cracked, other website accounts are still safe.
3. Use Strong Cybersecurity tools
You must always look forward to use the most premium and effective cyber security solutions. You must use top-notch antivirus software to keep your data safe and secure from unwanted cyber fraud and hackers. The software must be strong enough to detect most of the malicious and virus-infected files that are targeted by the attackers on your system and quarantine it to stop their further infection.
4. Strong and ambiguous Social Media accounts and usernames
When you use a simple and clear account and usernames derived from your first name or last name, then it will be quite easy for a hacker to crack down the name from your LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook profiles. To get rid of such types of situations always try to use ambiguous and unclear usernames. Also, keep your security settings on the highest level on each of your social media accounts to avoid cyber attacks.
In the end, we can say that Doxing is not a big thing to worry about when it is done by legitimate institutions with good intent but at the same time, you must also be careful about the Doxing activities done by the hackers.