Lesson 1. What is doxing
In this lesson you will learn what doxing is and why it is a big problem nowadays.
In the past 20 years, cyberspace changed dramatically. 10, 20 years ago, posting something online was like speaking to a group of friends during a hangout. Now it is more akin to shouting on a crowded square. The public availability of anything we
do online has given rise to many unique cyber threats, including privacy-focused attacks, such as doxing.
So what is doxing?
In early hacker culture, doxing meant de-anonymizing a person on the Internet – identifying who they really are. Today, the term has a broader meaning.
With the advent of social media platforms, a defining principle of the internet has been open access to data. Now, even a stranger can find and publish personal information about someone without anyone’s permission—which is what a doxer does.
Doxing is revealing personal information such as someone’s real name, address and so much more online on purpose – to attack someone online and even offline.
The purpose of doxing is to punish, intimidate, or humiliate the target – and that target could be anyone.
Doxing can be used for extorting money using personal data, or to create a negative public opinion about a person. Sometimes doxers see their actions as a way to right perceived wrongs or bring someone to justice in the public eye.
You may believe that there is nothing that would make you a target for doxing – you do not seem to do anything that would be considered wrong, you are not provocative nor do a dangerous job, you are not rich, so there is nothing to extort.
But that’s not really the case. It is hard to predict what can offend someone online and how they might behave.
Let’s see one example:
online game, two players, Steve and Jack, get into a fight. Steve, enraged by one comment from his opponent Jack,
finds him by his nickname on a social network, and identifies where Jack lives
through geolocation and photos of the area around his house. Steve then DMs Jack
that he knows where he lives and will hunt him down. Jack is now worried about
his and his family’s safety.
sound like something that could happen to you or someone you know?
Regardless of the motivation, doxing violates privacy and leads to unpleasant consequences.
In the next lesson we will discuss what the exact dangers of doxing are.
What is doxing?