Doxing: a cyber attack January 27, 2015 Andrew Casey
After the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO in 2014, an Internet based practice know as doxing was used to expose people who made racist remarks on social media accounts. Doxing is when a hacker researches an individual and releases otherwise private information publicly. The term comes from the slang "dropping dox" and refers to collecting and releasing documents. It comes from an old school 1990s hacker technique of exposing people. There are many ways this can be done. This simplest route is a simple Google search. From one search an individual's entire social media footprint can be found and released. Also, it is possible to find out a persons personal information by looking up their cell phone number.
Doxing, like all powerful tools can be used for good or for evil. Notable examples of doxing include the actions of "Anonymous", a group of Internet hackers and pranksters. This group exposed information from 7,000 law enforcement members in response to investigations into their hacking. In November of 2014 they took on the Ku Klux Klan by releasing the identities of members. They did this while Klan members in Ferguson were making threats to attack people who threatened their protests against the shooting of Michael Brown. They also hijacked the Klans Twitter account.
Similar to doxing is the Human Flesh Search Engine of China. This refers to distributed searches for similar kinds of information through digital media.
With the age of the Internet and a rapidly growing wealth of knowledge widely available comes the dangers of who can access that information. It is well known that many terrorist groups use the Internet as a valuable tool in their efforts. However the Internet and its knowledge can be very good as well, it all depends on how it is being used. This is why judgement can't be made as to whether this frontier should be regulated or not. The Internet wouldn't be the same if it no longer possessed its freedom. Lastly, think of your information that is out there for the taking. When using the Internet, one should proceed with caution and be weary of what they're putting out there for all to see, because through doxing all that information can be obtained. The Internet is dangerous, easily accessible, and permanent, but with the right precautions can be the greatest tool on the world.