Doxing Alert: What You Need to Do to Protect Your Identity, Your Reputation

Mattea Vecera, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

In this day and age and as technology continues to advance, personal information about a person can easily be accessed just by a google search of their name and by prowling a few social media sites.

Doxing is a slang word meaning “to publicly identify or publish private information about (someone), especially as a form of punishment or revenge.”

As high school students who grew up during this expansion of social media sites, many of us have accounts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, VSCO, YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit, TikTok and more. 

This makes us even more vulnerable than others, as these accounts are often public and can be shared to hundreds with the click of a button.  

However, changing your profiles to ‘private’ isn’t enough. If these pages are linked under the same email account and if someone is able to gain access to just one, they will be able to access all, even the ‘private’ ones. 

This becomes especially dangerous if the email is linked to any banking accounts. 

There are other instances where profiles aren’t truly ‘private.’ Often, close friends share each other’s passwords to post something when they don’t have wifi or data. Because Person A follows Person C, if Person B is on Person A’s account, they would also be able to look at Person C’s profiles or conversations. Even though you think you are only allowing certain people to view this private profiles or conversations, there may be others who have additional access and could use that to dox you. 

Aside from what is posted on specific accounts, it’s also very easy to stalk someone and find out their interests, where they live and even more

To test just how easy it is to gather information about a person, I decided to use myself as an example. If you search my name, the first link that appears is one to the Online Tritonian. By reading the pages where my name appears, one would know that I have participated in many musicals in Green Bay, WI, and attend Notre Dame Academy. Each article also gives little insights of who I am and other interests.

The next link connects to the Medill Cherubs website, where it shows that I spent five weeks at a journalism program in Northwestern and you can find links to my Twitter handle, as well as my Spotify account in one of the articles I wrote.

Just by google searching a bit more, one will know my Instagram and Snapchat username, old gymnastics scores, two YouTube channels, Facebook profile, my brother’s college, projects on Prezi, Bellin Run time results, friends’ profiles and more. This is all out there for anyone to see.

This article is another way of informing that everything on the internet is public and easy to access. Although it may be nearly impossible to avoid having your name out there altogether, it’s best to be cautious about everything you post and how it could affect or be used against you to avoid getting doxed. 

After reading this, I suggest going through all of your accounts, posts and followers to minimize possible threats or more leakage of information. In the future, come up with strong passwords, use different ones for different sites and use different emails as well.