Thu Nov 14 2019

Doxing and Steps to Protect Yourself from Doxing

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Doxing and Steps to Protect Yourself from Doxing

The term "doxing" is derived from the word "document tracing" which means to retrieve documents about a particular person or company in order to learn more about them. Doxing simply refers to the process of gathering or deducing other people's information such as name, age, email, address, telephone number, photographs etc. using publicly available sources such as the Internet. In other words, doxing is the act of using the Internet to search for personal details about a person.

The term is hacker-speak for documenting. As a rule, the data gathered is sensitive information that the target doesn't want broadly known, for any of a number of reasons including customer privacy, compliance requirements and reputation management. The information may be gathered from publicly-available sources, through social engineering or through a hacking exploit.

Doxing is sometimes used for a type of extortion in which an attacker accesses the target's sensitive data and threatens to make it public unless demands usually for money are met. Malware known as dox-ware or extortion-ware is often used to facilitate the exploit. Doxing is also sometimes used for legitimate purposes, such as aiding law enforcement. Other motives include cyber-bullying, industrial espionage and harassment, as well as the gray area of social and political activism.

Doxing Techniques

Today, Internet has grown to such a size that it contains almost all information about you. All you've to do is use the right techniques to search for what you want. Here is a list of doxing techniques that are most commonly used by Internet geeks and ethical hackers -

1. Google

Google is undoubtedly a powerful tool that plays a key role in doxing. Since Google indexes almost anything on the Internet.

2. Social Network

As most Internet users are found to be active on social media, social network such as Facebook and LinkedIn provide a virtual goldmine of information necessary to perform doxing.

3. Whois Searches

If a person or company has a website associated with them, you can easily perform a "whois search" for their website to obtain personal details such as full name, address, email and phone number.

4. Reverse Cell Phone Lookup

A Reverse Cell Phone Lookup is simply a process of finding someone's personal details such as name, age, address and related information by using their cell phone number and vice versa.

Protecting Yourself Against Doxing

1. Limit Personal Information Sharing

Be mindful of the information shared online. Restrict personal details on public forums, social media, or websites. Review and adjust privacy settings to limit accessibility to personal data.

2. Use Secure Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Employ strong, unique passwords for each online account and activate 2FA whenever possible. Utilize password managers to generate and store complex passwords securely.

3. Monitor Online Presence

Regularly monitor your online presence. Set up Google Alerts for your name and routinely search for yourself online to stay informed about any potential leaks or unauthorized information.

4. Educate Yourself on Privacy Settings

Familiarize yourself with the privacy settings of social media platforms, email services, and other online accounts. Adjust these settings to limit public visibility and control who can access your information.

5. Secure Your Devices and Network

Install reputable antivirus software, keep software updated, and use secure Wi-Fi networks. Regularly back up data to prevent loss in case of a security breach.

6. Be Cautious with Personal Information

Avoid sharing sensitive information, such as your address or phone number, in public forums or with unknown entities. Beware of phishing attempts and malicious links that may compromise your data.

7. Consider Professional Help

If you suspect that you're a victim of doxing or any online privacy breach, seek professional help from cybersecurity experts, legal advisors, or law enforcement agencies.

So what can you do to best protect yourself against doxing attempts? First, here are some of the most commonly targeted pieces of information that can be freely gleaned from the Internet and used to identify you -

  • Full name
  • Gender
  • Birthday, and age
  • Location
  • Email addresses
  • IP addresses
  • Usernames
  • Social network profiles
  • Websites and blogs

It is always a good practice to keep the above information hidden. Even though it is not possible to do this in all cases, you can still take care to protect as much information as you can from going public.


Protecting your online identity is crucial in today's digital age. While it's impossible to be completely immune to doxing threats, implementing proactive measures to safeguard personal information can significantly reduce the risk of being targeted.

By staying vigilant, understanding potential risks, and taking proactive steps to secure your online presence, you can minimize the likelihood of falling victim to doxing or other forms of cyber harassment. Your privacy and security online are paramount, and staying informed and proactive is key to protecting your digital footprint.

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