The online presence of people on social websites is inevitable. With the advent of several social sites like Facebook, Instagram, and others, people have started sharing their personal information on these platforms. These footprints are everywhere on the internet, and one can easily find a person if one wants to. But it does not stop at finding a person; one can also misuse this personal information on the internet against people they don’t like. It is what is known as Doxxing. If you are eager to know what is Doxxing and how do people get Doxxed, then you have come to the right place. In our today’s guide, we will be learning about Doxxing in detail, how it happens, why is it harmful, and if it is harmful or not. So, let us begin with our guide on Doxxing right away and uncover important facts about it, like how common is it to be Doxxed, etc. Let’s get started!
What is Doxxing and How Do People Get Doxxed?
You will get to know how do people get Doxxed further in this article. Keep reading to learn more about it in detail.
What is Doxxing?
Doxxing is a type of online threat and breach of privacy of online users. It involves hackers getting their hands on your personal information and documents. This is also a revenge scheme for a hacker to leak a person’s unknown details.
- The word Doxxing has introduced three decades ago and was formed from the word documents and dropping box.
- Doxxing usually involves searching, collecting, and publicly sharing a person’s information without their consent that can reveal their identity.
- Hackers can share the doxxed information via a troll or a message to embarrass the person. This can also lead to a person losing their job, family, or friends.
- Another goal of Doxxing is to intimidate a person or draw the attention of law enforcement agencies. It is a kind of serious cyber threat. It is usually conducted by cyberbullies or online gamers.
- The impact of Doxxing can be life-changing as well as life-threatening.
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Is It Easy to Get Doxxed?
Yes, it is very easy to get Doxxed. Even though the concept of getting Doxxed is old, it is common and very dangerous. If your personal information, including physical address, phone number, job location, email information, photos, and your whereabouts are present openly on social media platforms, it is extremely easy to become a target and get Doxxed.
How Common Is It to Be Doxxed?
It is quite common to get Doxxed.
- About 21% of Americans have reported having experienced getting Doxed. This percentage is more than 43 million individuals.
- Also, about 62% of people have reported personally knowing someone who had been the victim of a Doxxing attack.
What are the Impacts of Doxxing?
While Doxxing can be presumed as not-harmful and usual, it is in fact very dangerous. A person’s personal information including their name, address, contact information, email address, and social security number can be leaked all across the internet by Doxxing. A hacker can also leak scattered embarrassing photos, bank account information, signed petitions, and publicly shared opinions of the person on the internet which can be very harmful to the person who has been exposed. There are a number of impacts of such a doing, including:
- It can harm the personal or professional reputation of a person.
- It can lead to identity theft.
- It can embarrass or humiliate the person.
- It can lead to future cyber-attacks.
- It can make a person physically harm themselves.
- It can lead to ongoing threats and death threats.
- It can socially block a person.
- It can lead to swatting and prank calls.
- It can also lead to legal prosecution.
- It can lead to immediate relocation.
- It can lead to the loss of family, jobs, and friends.
- It can also lead to loss of life.
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How Do People Get Doxxed?
Getting personal information from the internet about a person can be done in a few different ways. Doxxing can be easily done if a person posts their whereabouts frequently and openly on message boards and forums. A hacker can easily get to know where you live with the help of such posts. These small trails can lead a hacker to know about your name, age, race, and gender quite easily.
Let us look at some of the common ways in which you can get doxxed:
1. IP Logging
The first way in which you can easily get doxxed is through IP logging.
- Hackers can attach a code to an email message and when the victim opens up that email with the code, it gives the possibility to hackers to use codes to track their IP addresses.
- This is one of the easiest ways for Doxxers to get your information as IP address helps in providing the exact geographical location.
2. Packet Sniffing
Packet sniffing is another way via which hackers can get to know about your whereabouts with the help of technology.
- This method involves hackers intercepting your internet data and looking for your passwords, credit card details, old email messages, and bank account information.
- This process can be accomplished by connecting to an online network, cracking its security measures, and then hacking the data flowing into and out of the network.
- This method does not require too much effort and also provides real-time data.
3. Reverse Phone Lookup
Another possible way that can help you know how do people get Doxxed is by reverse phone lookup.
- Having a cellphone number can be very advantageous for hackers.
- It can be easily achieved by the Whitepages that are present all over the internet. These pages help in informing the hackers about any cellphone or telephone number that they want access to.
- Not only can they get to know about your name from reverse phone lookup but hackers can also get information about your current and previous addresses, criminal and traffic records, financial records, and properties owned by you.
- Sites like Whitepages charge a fee to provide all the details about someone’s well-being to a Doxxer. Therefore, one should not post their personal number on any social media platform.
4. Government Records
Another possible way to get you Doxxed is with the help of government records.
- Government records surprisingly consist of a lot of personal information about a person including their birthday, the hospital they were born in, and their parents’ names.
- On getting information about the driver’s license via government records, hackers can know about your name, weight, height, social security number, and even traffic violations.
- Doxxers can also get to know about your spouse’s name, date of your marriage, home purchase information, home location, and a lot more.
5. Social Media Stalking
You can also get doxxed by social media stalking by hackers.
- Many people tend to keep their social media accounts unlocked, making it easy on hackers to get all the information about them.
- The information can be collected from public sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, where people post about their vacations, home, new jobs, and a lot more.
- On signing into a social site and making an account on it, usually, information regarding your date of birth, school, or college is required, which can easily be grabbed by Doxxers.
Also Read: How to Avoid Getting Doxxed on Twitter
6. Metadata Analyzing
Another way that can help you to know how do people get Doxxed is metadata analyses.
- With a simple look at your metadata, a Doxxer can know a lot about you.
- Metadata is a part of Microsoft Office files such as Excel or Word documents.
- Metadata information can be accessed by right-clicking on a Microsoft Office file, then its properties, and finally Details.
- This section contains all the information about who made the file, from what computer, when, the company who made it, and the total editing time.
- Similarly, photos also have EXIF data that contains data regarding smartphone or camera model, resolution, location if GPS is enabled, and time when the photo was taken.
The next way with which you can get Doxxed is by WHOIS.
- It involves owning an internet domain name and if you have one, Doxxer can run a search on your domain to find basic information about you.
- WHOIS information contains your name and contact information which is enough for a hacker to Doxx you.
8. Data Brokers
Data brokers are another way that can help you with answering your question, how do people get Doxxed.
- Data brokers charge a fee to provide information about people.
- These brokers have details on public records, online search histories, social media usage, and purchases that you make.
9. Social Media Username
- The last way in which you get Doxxed involves hackers using your username present on the internet.
- A hacker can easily track your username on the internet and find your posts on social media platforms, message boards, and Reddit subreddits.
- This can help the hacker to know about your likes and dislikes, your favorite websites, and a lot of other unknown information about you.
How Can You Avoid Getting Doxxed?
You can avoid getting Doxxed by following the measures given below:
- By tweaking your privacy settings on social media sites.
- By not oversharing on social media platforms.
- Using a VPN that will help to shield your private information.
- By not providing personal information on social media platforms.
- By using different names and identities on social media.
- With the help of strong passwords for social media accounts.
- By not falling for phishing emails.
- Using more than one email address will help you boost your privacy on the internet.
- By not sharing social security, bank details, and card numbers anywhere publicly.
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We hope that our guide on what Doxxing is and how do people get Doxxed and how common is it to be Doxxed was informative enough to help you know details about Doxxing, how it happens, how common is it, and what you can do to avoid getting Doxxed. Let us know by leaving your comments below about your thoughts, queries, or suggestions. Also, let us know what you want to learn about next.