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What Is Doxxing? Is Doxxing Illegal?

by Mubi 

Is doxxing illegal?

Doxxing is when someone meanly shares private information about a person without their permission. This information could be things like where they live or their phone number. Let’s learn more about doxxing through this article.

Doxxing means sharing private details like real names, addresses, or phone numbers without permission, which is why many people have made doxxing illegal. People who do this might find the information by hacking, tricking others, or just searching online. It’s very wrong and can cause a lot of problems for the person whose information is shared.

After getting someone’s private information, the person who does it, called a doxxer, puts that information online, like on social media or forums, to hurt, bother, or embarrass the person they got the info about. It’s really mean and not fair to the person being targeted. These types of things make doxxing illegal in many countries.

Before we learn about the different types of doxxing and explore “is doxxing illegal,” let’s first understand the nature and method of doxxing.

What is doxxing?

What is doxxing?

Doxxing is when someone shares private information about a person, like where they live, phone numbers, or where they work, without their permission. This can happen because people are being mean or trying to scare or embarrass the person. They find this private info by looking online or tricking others. After getting the info, they put it on the internet for many people to see. It’s really hurtful and not okay.

When someone is doxxed, it can have severe consequences. They may face online harassment, stalking, identity theft, or even physical harm. The impact isn’t confined to their online presence; it generates feelings of insecurity and sadness, straining relationships with friends and family. Once private information is exposed, reclaiming privacy becomes challenging, and individuals might continue to face threats and harm for an extended period.

To stop doxxing, we need to do many things. Websites and social media need to make sure they are safe, help when doxxing happens, and teach people how to protect their privacy. We also need laws and police to punish people who dox others. We should tell everyone about the dangers of sharing personal information online, so they can be careful and keep their private stuff safe.

What are the different types of doxxing?

Different kinds of doxxing show why it’s super important to keep personal info safe, be careful online, and ask for better online safety rules to protect people from mean actions. Here are the different types of doxxing explained in detail:

What are the different types of doxxing?

  • Publicly accessible information doxxing
  • Research-based doxxing
  • Hacker doxxing
  • Social engineering doxxing
  • Swatting
  • Family doxxing
  • Professional doxxing

Publicly accessible information doxxing:

This sort of doxxing happens when people gather and offer freely accessible data from sources like online entertainment, public registries, and sites. This data incorporates subtleties like telephone numbers and addresses. While each snippet of data could appear to be innocuous all alone, when aggregated and utilized malignantly, it can prompt destructive results.

Research-based doxxing:

In this type of doxxing, people search a lot online to find private information. They might use weak security settings or look at what someone has posted on social media or blogs. Then, they use all this information to create a big profile about the person they want to harm.

Hacker doxxing:

In this type of doxxing, hackers who are really good at computers break into private databases or email accounts without permission. They find secret information by tricking security systems. They use sneaky methods like pretending to be someone else or finding weak spots in computer programs. Once they’re inside, they take personal details and can use them to hurt people.

Social engineering doxxing:

Social engineering doxxing is when mean people trick others into sharing private information. They might pretend to be a friend, trick someone into telling them passwords, or make them click on bad links. This works because they take advantage of trust and people being too trusting.


Swatting is a very dangerous type of doxxing. Bad people call the police and lie about an emergency at someone’s house, using the address they found online. This makes the police send a SWAT team, which is a special unit, to the innocent person’s home. It’s really scary and risky for everyone involved.

Family doxxing:

Family doxxing is when bad people don’t just target one person, but also their family members. They try to find out private information about the person’s family to make the attack even scarier. This makes the person being targeted and their family feel very upset and stressed out.

Professional doxxing:

Professional doxxing means people try to hurt someone’s job or business. They find private information and tell the person’s boss, clients, or coworkers. This can make the person lose their job or clients, causing money problems and harming their career.

What are the methods of doxxing?

It’s really important for people to learn about doxxing methods so they can stay safe on the internet. Here are the methods of doxxing explained in detail:

What are the methods of doxxing?

  • Open source intelligence (OSINT)
  • Social engineering
  • Phishing attacks
  • Doxware
  • Stalking and surveillance
  • Data breaches
  • Cross-platform analysis

Open-source intelligence (OSINT):

Open-source intelligence (OSINT) means getting information from public sources everyone can see. Bad people use this to gather details from social media, public records, and online forums. Even if the info seems unrelated, they put it together to make a big profile about the person they want to harm.

Social engineering:

Social engineering is when mean people trick others into sharing secret information. They might pretend to be a friend, make them click bad links, or deceive them to get important data. This happens because they use tricks to make people believe them.

Phishing attacks:

Phishing is when bad people make fake websites or emails that look real. They trick people into giving their private information, like usernames or credit card numbers. Doxxers use this trick to get into private accounts. It’s important not to fall for these tricks and share personal information online.


Doxware is a bad computer program that locks up your files and says it will put them online unless you pay money. It scares people into paying so their private stuff doesn’t get shared online. It’s a tricky way to make money by scaring others.

Stalking and surveillance:

Doxxers sometimes become like secret spies, watching the person they want to harm both online and in real life. They pay close attention to what the person does and who they talk to, even where they go. By doing this, they can figure out important details and use them to doxx the person.

Data breaches:

Data breaches happen when hackers get into big databases of user information without permission. Doxxers use this stolen info, like usernames and passwords, to find out who people are online. This gives them lots of private details to share.

Cross-platform analysis:

Doxxers use a sneaky trick called cross-platform analysis. They gather info from different places like social media and games. By putting all this info together, they can learn a lot about a person’s life. This makes it easier for them to find and harm the person they’re targeting.

How doxxing work?

How doxxing work?

Knowing how doxxing works shows why it’s crucial to keep personal info safe online, be aware of online safety, and be careful about sharing information. Here are the steps for how doxxing works:

  • Information gathering
  • Data compilation
  • Anonymity and Tor networks
  • Weaponization and dissemination
  • Impact and consequences

Information gathering:

Doxxing starts when bad people collect private info about someone. They use tricks like searching online, looking at social media, and sometimes even hacking to find things like where they live, phone numbers, and more. They put all this info together to make a big profile about the person they want to hurt.

Data compilation:

After gathering enough info, doxxers sort and organize it. They look for connections and patterns in the data they collected. This organized information helps them plan their attack, giving them a clear picture of the person’s personal life.

Anonymity and Tor networks:

Doxxers try hard to hide who they are by using special tools like Tor or VPNs. These tools make it tricky for the police to find them. This hiding helps them do mean things without getting caught right away, making them feel brave enough to keep doing it.

Weaponization and dissemination:

Once they gather the person’s info, doxxers use it to hurt them. They might put it on the internet where many people can see it, like on social media or special websites made just for being mean. They can also send the info to the person’s friends, family, or boss to make things worse for the person being targeted, which makes them really upset.

Impact and consequences:

Doxxing can cause big problems. People who are doxxed might be bullied online, followed, or even have their identity stolen or get hurt in real life. It can make them really sad, damage their reputation, and hurt their relationships with others. In really serious situations, it might even put them in physical danger if their home address is shared.

Is doxxing illegal?

Doxxing is usually seen as really wrong, and there can be serious consequences for the person doing it. However, whether the law can stop them depends on where it happens and how bad it is. There are many countries that have made doxxing illegal like South Korea, Netherland, Spain, China, and the United States. Doxxing is considered illegal under the following circumstances:

Is doxxing illegal?

  • Legal framework
  • Anti-harassment laws
  • Data protection regulations
  • Defamation and privacy laws
  • Cybercrime laws

Legal framework:

Whether doxxing is against the law or not depends on where it happens and what exactly is going on. In many places, there are laws to stop people from bothering others or invading their privacy, which can include doxxing. But how these laws are understood and enforced can be different, so the consequences for people who dox can vary.

Anti-harassment laws:

Some countries have rules against being mean online, like cyberbullying and stalking. Doxxing is considered one of these mean things, especially if it causes problems like threats or making people really upset. People who do this can get in trouble with the law if they break these rules.

Data protection regulations:

There are rules called data protection laws that make sure personal information is kept safe. Doxxing breaks these rules because it shares private info without permission. People have the right to control their own information, and if someone does doxxing, they can get in legal trouble for breaking these rules.

Defamation and privacy laws:

Doxxing sometimes includes telling lies about someone to make them look bad. This can ruin their reputation. Laws in different places can punish people who spread false and damaging information. There are also rules protecting private information, so when someone does doxxing, they’re breaking these rules too in many cases. Which is why many countries have made doxxing illegal.

Cybercrime laws:

Certain countries have special laws to deal with bad actions done online. Doxxing, especially when it involves hacking or getting into private databases without permission, can get people in trouble under these laws. These laws cover many mean things people do on the internet, including doxxing.

How to prevent doxxing?

People can protect themselves from doxxing by being careful online. This helps make them safer and keeps their private information secure. Here are some of the steps you can take to prevent doxxing:

Is doxxing illegal?

  • Guard personal information
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)
  • Educate yourself and others
  • Secure your devices and accounts
  • Be cautious with emails and links
  • Monitor online presence
  • Limit geotagging and location sharing

Guard personal information:

Be careful about what you share online. Don’t put your home address, phone number, where you work, or money details on public websites. Change your privacy settings on social media to keep your personal info safe. If you share less, it’s tougher for doxxers to bother you.

Enable two-factor authentication (2FA):

For extra safety online, use two-factor methods when you can. This means you need not just a password, but also a special code sent to your phone. Even if someone knows your password, they can’t get in without this code, keeping your accounts safe.

Educate yourself and others:

Learn about doxxing tricks and how people can trick you online. Teach your family and friends about keeping private info safe. Knowing about these things helps you not accidentally share too much and helps others stay safe too.

Secure your devices and accounts:

Always update your computer, phone, and apps to stay safe. Use strong, different passwords for each account. A good idea is to use a special tool to make and remember tricky passwords. Don’t use easy things like birthdays or names in your passwords; it makes them safer!

Be cautious with emails and links:

Be careful with emails or messages you get. Don’t click on links or download things from people you don’t know; they could have bad stuff in them. If someone asks for your personal info online, make sure they are real and trustworthy before you share anything.

Monitor online presence:

Sometimes, check what shows up when you search your name or email online. If you find something private that you didn’t share, ask for it to be taken down. Most websites have ways to report these things and keep your information safe.

Limit geotagging and location sharing:

Turn off the location tags on your photos and don’t share your exact location on social media. If you don’t, people can find out where you are. Make sure your camera and apps don’t add location info to your pictures before you share them online.


Doxxing is a big problem because it means people share your private info online, which can lead to things like being bothered, followed, or even having your identity stolen, and it can make you really upset. Many countries have made doxxing illegal as it breaches a person’s or an organization’s privacy. It’s important to learn about the ways people do this so you can keep yourself safe.

To stop doxxing, you need to be careful and smart online. Don’t share private info, use extra security when you can, learn about tricks people use, and be careful who you talk to online. Also, keep an eye on what shows up when you search your name, and don’t give away your exact location. These steps help keep you safe from doxxing.

About the author 

Mubi Ace

October 31, 2023

September 30, 2023

June 8, 2023

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