Nowadays, the Internet has evolved into a fantastic resource for learning, exchanging ideas, sharing information, making new friends, and so on. Have you ever come across your personal data in a public forum? Have you ever had your personal information “greyed out” by a third party? If you have, you should be aware that it is not just unethical but also illegal.
It’s referred to as doxing. Document tracking (spelling variant Doxxing) is an Internet-based practise of researching and distributing personally identifying information about an individual. Searching publicly available databases and social media platforms like Facebook, as well as hacking and social engineering, are among the tactics used to obtain this information.
Cyber-vigilantism, hacktivism, and cyber-bullying are all linked to it. Doxware is a cryptovirology assault created by Adam Young and subsequently refined by Moti Yung that uses malware to carry out doxing extortion. It was first seen in 2003 at West Point.
The assault was originally named “non-zero sum games and survivable malware” since it is based on game theory.
What is Doxing?
Doxing is the process of acquiring or deducing other people’s information from publicly available sources such as the Internet, such as their name, age, email, address, phone number, and photos. In other words, doxing is the act of searching the Internet for personal information about someone.
Doxing entails collecting a piece of information (such as a person’s name or email address) and using it as a starting point to learn more about them. The term “doxing” comes from the term “document tracing,” which refers to retrieving documents on a certain person or business in order to learn more about them.
The Internet has developed to the point that it now contains practically any type of information you can think of! All you have to do is utilise the correct tactics to find what you’re looking for. The following is a list of the most prevalent doxing strategies employed by Internet geeks and ethical hackers.
Social Networking Websites:
Because the majority of Internet users are active on social media, sites like Facebook and LinkedIn present a potential goldmine of information that may be used to perform doxing.
Because most users are unaware of online security concerns, their privacy settings on their profiles are inadequate. As a result, attackers have simple access to personal data such as images, true identities, location, employment, partner’s name, and so on.
Google is an unquestionably powerful technology that plays a significant role in doxing. Because Google indexes practically anything on the Internet (including private information), it is possible to dox for details such as an individual’s or company’s email ID, address, phone numbers, and images.
When you get the search results for your query, look closely at the description section, which will usually contain the information you’re looking for.
If a person or company has a website (or domain name), you may easily conduct a “whois search” for their website to discover personal information such as their complete name, address, email address, and phone number. There are a plethora of whois lookup websites available on the internet that will display all of the information related with the domain name.
Reverse Cell Phone Lookup:1
A “Reverse Cell Phone Lookup” is simply the act of obtaining personal information about someone, such as their name, age, address, and other details, by utilising their cell phone number and vice versa. Many internet businesses, such as Intelius, enable access to a person’s personal information based on his or her phone number, name, and email address.
Why Would Anyone Want to Perform Doxing?
The majority of people engage in doxing as a result of a general interest in a person or corporation. However, there are some evil people out there who do this in order to blackmail or exact revenge on the person by releasing the information they have obtained about them.
What are the Consequences of Doxing?
When private data falls into the hands of others who aren’t supposed to have access to it, it can be a little annoying and embarrassing. However, if doxed information like as a person’s social activities, medical history, sexual preference, and other crucial bits of information are made public, things might get even worse. This can put the victim’s health, livelihood, or relationship at jeopardy.
Steps to Protect Yourself from Doxing:
Some of the most typically targeted pieces of information that can be obtained simply by doxing are:
- Full name
- Age, gender, and date of birth
- Location and place of birth
- Email addresses and username
- Phone number
- Social networking profiles, websites, and blogs
As a result, it’s always a good idea to keep the above details private. Even if this isn’t always practicable, you can still take precautions to keep as much information from becoming public as possible. For further security, consider the following suggestions: Uploading personal photos to web albums like “Picasa” is not a good idea.
Even if you do, make sure your album is hidden from the general public as well as search engines. If you don’t want your profile to appear in search engines, it’s a good idea to keep all of your online profiles private. Make your social media profiles’ privacy settings as private as possible.
Make sure the privacy settings for your individual albums and images are set correctly. Use a different email address for each of your accounts. Create various email IDs for different activities like gaming, forum involvement, and banking accounts, for example.
Is Doxing a Crime?
When done according to ethical norms, doxing is not a crime and no harm is done to anyone. However, doxing for the purpose of causing intentional harm, such as harassment, extortion, or revenge, could be deemed a crime.