Sunday 29 November 2020

Staying Safe from the Perils of Doxing

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Identity theft and credit card fraud are two major concerns faced mostly by e-commerce and social media users. Although the benefits that come with these platforms are numerous, the real question on the lips of many is, ‘is it really worth the risk’?

Financial fraud occurs a lot less than identity theft because of the security protocols and financial regulations put in place to secure consumers’ funds. To however check the latter, a lot of people resort to creating burner accounts on social media and public forums so they can freely interact with others. This way, even if there is a server attack or data theft, they are assured that their actual details won’t get leaked.

Asides the use of burner accounts, there are several other methods by which people maintain anonymity online. Despite this, hackers still find a way to bypass these means, find out the personal details of the person and release them online in order to harass, intimidate or embarrass the person. This act is referred to as Doxing.

3 Major Ways Doxing is Performed

  1. Packet Sniffing: Typically done using Man-in-the-Middle attacks, hackers attempt to intercept the victim’s network data as they are being transferred over the internet. Details like credit card details, address, full name, etc. are examples of personal details that can be seen and released.


  1. IP Logging: Here, the hacker attaches a malicious code to an email and sends it to the victim. Once the victim opens the email, their IP address is sent to the hacker and from there, other personal information about the victim can be gotten.


  1. Stalking on Social Media: This is pretty basic and can be done by anyone. This is why it is usually advised to keep personal details used on social media and public forums at a very minimal rate.

How to Prevent Yourself from getting Doxed

Knowing these common types are helpful, and so will the knowledge of safety tips. Outlined below are a number of them:

       Check privacy settings on social media and public forums to ensure they do not share your posts or personal data publicly.

       Having a VPN for privacy is almost necessary for everyone; especially those who connect to public WiFi – in order to prevent MITM attacks through packet sniffing.

       Avoid opening emails or downloading attachments from unverified sources in order to prevent malware attack.

       Avoid sharing personal identifiable information on public profiles. Examples are Social Security Number (SSN), home address, or any financial information.

       Use strong passwords for your online accounts and avoid using the same passwords for different accounts.

If you ever think you’ve been doxed, report to the appropriate law enforcement agencies in your country, document anything you can, secure your financial accounts and upgrade the privacy settings of your online accounts.

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