Do you know that revealing personal information without someone’s-consent can lead to numerous consequences? Doxing is an issue that can affect anyone in the online world, especially gay people. It’s a threat that concerns individuals’ personal details and safety through social media accounts.
What Is Doxing and Why Is It Dangerous to Gay Men?
Those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community have been urged to protect their privacy to avoid hate online or in real life. Although online hackers and data brokers can access personal information, they are not the only ones with excellent hacking skills that can farm and leak information necessary for security.
Your abusive friend or ex-partner can also commit doxing. Case in point, doxing can be done by any individual with the leverage to expose your identity. To give attention to this dilemma, we dedicate this article to helping you understand the concept of doxing and how to avoid it, especially to keep your kink private.
Doxing refers to the term “dropping document,” an act of cyberbullying that allows a perpetrator to expose private information for online harassment, identity theft, and exploitation. The main motivations behind doxing are financial threats and hate from an ex-partner, friend, or stranger you meet online.
In the case of gender-based doxing, gay men often engage in exchanging information with strangers on social media and online dating apps. This makes them vulnerable to unwanted information being spread to the public. The availability of these pieces of information to the general public makes it easier for others to threaten and hurt gay men.
Target Information of Doxing
Did you know that everything you share or post online can be used against you? Doxing typically targets information such as your:
- Real name
- Mobile phone number
- Social security number
- Driver’s license number
- Home addresses
- Financial accounts
- Credit card provider
- Bank account information
- Social media profiles
- Family members
- Embarrassing photos
How Does Doxing Work
You might be surprised, but spending more time posting pictures on all your accounts and interacting with someone you don’t know may result in easier access to your private data.
Here are several methods of doxing you need to know:
Social Media Stalking
In social media, you can make your account public or private.
If you make it available to the public, you put yourself at greater risk of leaving sensitive personal information. For instance, you post photos of yourself, family members, or friends. You may also share the nature of your work, home address, and other activities. Accessing these details will be easy for a doxer, which will help them stalk and identify you.
Your username on dating sites can be used to trace your identity. Suppose you want to stay anonymous and discreet on these sites. In that case, consider not using the same username as your real name or even the personal information you use on other social media.
Remember that in gender-based doxing, they take advantage of any information you provide online. Even the tiny details can give them a hint of who you are.
Some are also spurred by their hate of gay men.
Reverse Phone Lookup Services
This is one of the most prevailing doxing attacks. Doxers take advantage of phone numbers and use reverse mobile phone lookup services, like Whitepages, to match their victims’ identities.
For example, you chat with a stranger through social media, online forums, or a dating application. He pretends to entertain and flirts with you. When he gets your attention, he asks for your personal information, including your home address and mobile phone number, so that he can call or visit you.
When you give in, they use your phone number to check records of your name, home address, and even your online bank and properties.
Government institutions with records of your birth certificates, voter registration, business permits, driver’s license, or social security are prone to doxing. If government websites or databases are not well-protected by data privacy and encryption, chances are, they’re most likely to be targets of doxing attacks.
Data brokers gather the personal information of potential targets and sell it to individuals with motivations to threaten or hurt people. They follow data broker sites you recently visited, or other online sites, such as your favorite shop or loyalty card websites. They can also check your online search histories.
The point is data brokers sell any essential information they obtain about you from following your recent activities online.
Phishing scams often happen in your email accounts. If you fall for it, they can get sensitive information for doxing.
For instance, you used your email to verify your accounts on social media, online forums, or dating apps. Days after, a fake website link pretending to be your internet service provider or credit card company infiltrated your email, and you unknowingly accessed it. Upon entering your personal information, they’ll access your email and grab whatever is there to use against you.
Let’s assume you’re at a cafeteria and use public Wi-Fi to access your credit card accounts, social media pages, or dating sites. As you enter your name, password, phone number, and other essential details, they are accumulated in a packet and run across the internet. Once a hanger is nearby, he can sniff the public Wi-Fi and crack its security. From there, he can gain access to all internet data that users are transmitting. While sipping your coffee and browsing profiles, you’ll be blindsided and become a victim of doxing.
Personal Details Vs. Private Information
Most of us think that both can be used interchangeably. It is somehow true if we’re talking about casual conversations, the ones we have with our friends or relatives. But as the law develops data privacy acts and other identity-security programs against doxing, distinguishing one from another is significant.
These contain information that identifies an individual and their links. These includes:
- Home address
- Mobile phone number
- Date of birth
- Government records, such as voter registration logs, employment information, public business records, and health declarations
- Social security number
- Driver’s license
- Other public records
Any information that a person is not entitled to or does not wish to go public is considered private information. These are records of an individual with sensitive contents that should not be breached. These are:
Bank account information
Credit card details
Personal websites and passwords
How To Protect Your Social Media Accounts as A Gay Man
We’ve established the importance of protecting private data and personal information online against doxing threats. Now, it’s time to discuss ways to protect your social media pages as a gay man safely.
Keep Your Personal Information Online Private
Do not overshare when chatting with strangers on social media and online forums. Refrain from providing personal information that is not necessary to avoid doxing.
Always Check Your Social Media Accounts’ Private Settings
All social media accounts can be set for public or private viewing. If you put them in private mode, you’ll restrict your viewers to only those you know. This reduces the chance of doxing agents collecting information.
Do Not Use the Same Usernames
Check your usernames on social media sites, dating apps, and other online accounts. Are they the same? If yes, change the ones on your dating sites so no one can directly identify you.
Use Strong Passwords
Every password manager tells you whether your password or pin is strong or weak. This gives you the advantage of improving your account’s security measures.
Create Separate Email Accounts
We understand you have a professional life, personal recreation, and pleasures. If you want to link your email address to one of your social media or dating sites for easier logging in, use separate email accounts. Do the same in signing up for YouTube or Spotify subscriptions and other streaming services. This will safeguard your workplace and your professional identity against doxing.
Use a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) is the best way to avoid doxing in packet sniffing. VPN ensures that the data you share in an online network is encrypted so no one can access it.
Stay Alert for Phishing Scams
Be alert when you check your emails and notice messages supposedly coming from your credit card provider or other financial institutions. Remember that financial institutions do not ask for personal information online. If you comply with this email, you are putting yourself at risk of doxing.
Practicing good cybersecurity by installing software against viruses and malware attacks can protect you from doxing hackers trying to steal personal information.
Maximize Google Alerts
Maximize the use of your Google alert by setting up a notification when your personal information, such as your name, home address, phone number, or other identifying information, appears in the online world.
If your Google alert is on, you will also be notified through email or phone number if someone is trying to access your account. Enable these features to avoid doxing.
Be Careful With IP Lookup Sites
Several people search sites using IP Addresses to look for an individual’s personal information. Ensure to hide domain registration information when logging into a domain to protect yourself from doxing hackers.
There is nothing wrong with having a kink and purchasing from websites like Smitizen to get your kink props and materials. However, doxing is a serious matter that you should be aware of.
It’s illegal when they use any information against you for identity theft, personal threats, physical harm, and death threats. Some brokers try to sell personal info to anyone you disagree with. If you experience any of these, involve law enforcement, such as your local police department, to report your case.