The internet has forever changed the way we interact with one another. A large part of our social lives now takes place online, and many of us meet our closest friends and spouses through modern social media platforms.
Many of us tend to overshare and broadcast every detail of our lives online. This can be a security risk and can have serious consequences. Controlling your personal data on Google is one thing, but you need to carefully consider what you post online to guarantee your safety. Doxxing is a modern phenomenon that can pose a real danger to internet users. Let’s take a closer look at what doxxing is and ask whether women are more likely to fall victim to it.
What is Doxxing?
Doxxing is the name given to the practice of sourcing personally identifiable information (PII) about somebody on the internet and then publicly posting that information on message boards and social media sites or sharing it through private messaging networks.
Doxxing can be done through investigative work, matching relevant social media profiles and posts to successfully confirm somebody’s identity, or it can be done illegally by hacking into secure systems, networks, and devices. Often, doxxing uses a combination of both approaches.
Doxxing emerged in the 1990s and had close ties to hacktivist groups. As it became more mainstream, it became far more malicious and doxxing was used to compromise people’s safety and security.
Are Women More Vulnerable to Doxxing?
Doxxing can and does happen to anyone. However, numerous studies have revealed that women are more likely to be targeted in a doxxing attack. Doxxing can be perceived as a form of online violence where the victim’s security and privacy are violated. Women are more likely to be victims of violent crime in the real world, and unfortunately the same can be said for the online space.
How to Protect Yourself Against Doxxing
Doxxing can have serious implications for the victim. It is absolutely essential that you are aware of how to best protect yourself against doxxing and ensure it never happens to you, no matter how unlikely you feel that may be.
The first thing you should do is adjust the privacy settings on your social media accounts. Set everything to private or friends only, so that your posts and photos cannot be viewed by users you don’t know.
You should also refrain from posting information online that could be used to identify you. This includes things like addresses, places of work, or any other kind of contact information.
Furthermore, to protect yourself against cyberattacks that could result in you being doxxed, you should make use of a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN can encrypt your data and prevent it from being intercepted by a rogue third party. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself against doxxing.
Doxxing is an increasingly serious threat in today’s digital world. While women are more at risk of doxxing, it can happen to anyone, and it’s vital that we all take the steps necessary to protect ourselves when we’re online.