• Fabian Sinner
  • November 6, 2023

Table of content


    “Doxing” (also spelled “doxxing”) is the practice of collecting personal and private information about an individual without their consent and publishing it on the Internet. This typically includes names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, workplace details, social media profiles, and other personal information.

    The dissemination of personal information through doxing can lead to bullying, harassment, or even physical danger. As such, it is vital to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect personal information online. It is also important to emphasize that doxing can be illegal and is prosecuted in many countries.

    What are the motives for Doxing?

    The motives for doxing are varied and often depend on the intentions of the person doing it. Generally, doxing is done for the following reasons:

    • Revenge and harassment: A common motive for doxing is personal revenge or harassment. People might post personal information about someone to harm or humiliate them because they feel they have been treated unfairly.
    • Political or ideological reasons: Some doxing activities are done for political or ideological beliefs. Individuals may post personal information about others they believe to be political opponents or opponents of their ideology.
    • Trolling and disrupting: Some people use doxing to harass or disrupt others in online forums or social media. They might do this to cause chaos or to attract attention.
    • Criminal intent: Doxing can also be used for criminal activity, such as identity theft, extortion or fraud. Perpetrators might use personal information to gain financial control over someone, or to perform other illegal advantages.
    • Surveillance and espionage: In some cases, doxing is used by government or private actors to monitor or gather information about individuals. This may be for political, economic or security reasons.
    • Cyberbullying: Doxing can also be used as part of cyberbullying activities to harass, threaten or humiliate the victim. This often happens in social media or online communities.

    Doxing is illegal in most countries and can have serious consequences because posting personal information without consent is a violation of privacy. Taking legal action is entirely possible but often difficult if the perpetrator is unknown. As such, the best option is prevention.

    How can personal information be protected?

    Protecting personal information from doxing requires taking some deliberate steps to strengthen your online privacy. Here are some important steps you can take to protect yourself from doxing:

    • Limit the dissemination of personal information:
      • Don’t post personal information unnecessarily on social media, online forums, or public profiles.
      • Avoid using personal information such as birth dates or addresses in usernames or profile information.
    • Use strong passwords:
      • Use complex, unique passwords for your online accounts and change them regularly.
      • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever possible to further protect your accounts.
    • Handle emails and messages carefully:
      • Use caution when opening emails or messages from unknown senders, as they may contain malicious links or phishing attempts.
      • Avoid sending personal information through insecure email or messaging services.
    • Monitor your online presence:
      • Periodically perform a search for your own name on search engines to determine what information is available about you.
      • Delete or update outdated or no longer needed profiles and information on social media and online communities.
    • Use caution when sharing personal information:
      • Be cautious about sharing personal information with unknown people or online platforms.
      • Check the privacy policies of websites and services and share only the most necessary information.
    • Use a VPN: A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can mask your IP address and protect your online activities.
    • Secure your devices:
      • Regularly update your operating systems, applications, and antivirus software to close security gaps.
      • Use a firewall to monitor access to your network and block unwanted traffic.
    • Secure communications: Use encrypted communication services to ensure your messages and files cannot be intercepted.
    • Know the signs of doxing: Be vigilant and watch for suspicious activity or signs of doxing so you can respond quickly if you are compromised.
    • Respond appropriately: If you believe you are a victim of doxing, notify the appropriate authorities and online services, and take legal action if necessary.

    Implementing these safeguards can help protect your personal information from doxing and other forms of online harassment and abuse. Be proactive and take your online privacy seriously to protect yourself from potential risks.

    Can legal action be taken against Doxing?

    As a rule, legal action can be taken against doxing, as this practice is illegal in many countries and can significantly compromise the privacy and security of individuals. The type of legal action you can take depends on local laws and the circumstances surrounding the doxing incident.

    In some countries and states, doxing may be considered a criminal offense. Criminal charges may be filed if doxing laws are broken. This can result in fines or jail time for offenders. Additionally, victims of doxing can take legal action against the perpetrators by filing civil lawsuits. This may include claims for damages for invasion of privacy, damage to reputation, or emotional distress.

    Another option is to seek a Cease and Desist order against the perpetrator to ensure that they stop disseminating or using personal information. Victims of doxing should also report the incident to the online services or platforms where their personal information was posted. These platforms often have policies against doxing and should remove the content in question or suspend accounts.

    It is worth noting that, while legal action is generally possible, it can often be difficult to achieve. After all, someone who has the skills needed to dox you will probably be protective of their own online data. Your ability to press charges against a doxer depends of whether they can be identified, which can be challenging.

    If the incident is particularly serious, you should involve law enforcement and file a formal complaint with the police, depending on local laws and the severity of the incident. However, it is important to note that legal action may vary between countries and cases. When in doubt, contact a lawyer or attorney for personalized legal advice and assistance in your particular case.

    If you are a victim of doxing, it is critical to act quickly to minimize the impact and hold perpetrators accountable.

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