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What is Doxxing and Why Is It Bad?



 Doxxing concept with personal data
Teguh Jati Prasetyo / Shutterstock.com

Doxxing is the collection and publishing of someone's private information online, usually done with the intent of inciting harassment in real life. While not technically illegal, it's considered harassment by most people, and there have been bills to make it a crime.

Do I Have to Worry About It?

Probably not. Doxxing is generally targeted abuse, similar to real-life harassment, and unless you've got a target on your back, you're probably safe. It normally affects famous people — especially Internet famous people, such as live streamers, YouTubers, and social media celebrities. Since many of them go to an online alias, revealing their real name is a major violation of privacy. Having your name, phone number, and address posted online leaves you vulnerable to real crimes, like swatting, physical harassment, and stalking.

While you might not have to worry as much if you have a small Internet presence, these days you You can get very viral for all the wrong reasons. (Where your personal information is likely to reside), and one wrong word can trigger a wave of hate from whoever you are with.

Occasionally, people dox for Other reasons, like in 201

3 when Reddit accidentally accused the wrong person of being the Boston Bomber. He wasn't the bomber; he was a victim of death in the incident, but his family had to deal with droves of angry people until the real suspect was found. This form of internet vigilantism seems justifiable to the people doing it, which makes it spread much quicker and arguably makes it more dangerous.

How To Protect Yourself

The large majority of doxxing incidents are just people collecting your personal information from social media sites, not any actual computer hacking. It's hard to stop it from happening because people generally share way too much info freely online, and even relatively private people could fall victim to it.

For example, even if you've got your birthday hidden on your Facebook profile, people can find out just by scrolling down your timeline and looking for “Happy birthday! Finally you can hit the bars! ”Posts. Once they know, they are more easily accessed on other sites. But, while hiding your birthday won't stop Internet Sherlock Holmes from finding your info, it will stop lots of people, so it's best to keep it private.

RELATED: Why It's Dangerous to Share Your Birthday Online

Realistically, hiding all of your personal information and becoming anonymous goes against the point of social media. Sure, it makes sense never to post your address, phone number, or birthday online, but people can find out about you based on seemingly innocuous posts – even little details like where you work.

Deleting old posts and making sure to be careful in the future is an option, or you could go nuclear and delete your social media accounts altogether, but most people will not be bothered to do so. And remember, most people don't have to worry much about this in the first place. Just please don’t post your debit card online.


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