Doxxing: The New Threat To Your Online Safety
When it comes to privacy issues, much of the press focuses on companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. Unfortunately, that focus often ends up being a distraction from the real offenders. For the most part, we consider Facebook to be a self-inflicted wound since the content is typically posted by the individual themselves. However, it is the postings by others where these platforms like Twitter and Facebook can be very dangerous. We all know (or should know) not to post personal and private information online. These sources feed the practice of doxxing and can lead to many different types of assaults.
The term Dox or Doxxing is derived from the word “Document.” It originates from the practice of researching information about an individual. Doxxing is often defined as an Internet-based practice of researching and broadcasting personally identifiable information (such as names, addresses, phone numbers, spouse, children, relatives, financial history and much more) about an individual. The practice of doxxing is not new. It actually dates back to the 1990s and was often used for constructive purposes such as helping law enforcement locate suspects and/or dangerous criminals, as well as in business analysis and in the legitimate vetting of individuals. Doxxing, however, strays into a very dark area when it is used for other purposes. In last 12 months, we have seen a huge spike in doxxing activity specifically related to individuals in the public safety arena.