To help users protect themselves and their close ones against doxing, Kaspersky, together with Endtab.org, has launched a free online course. It shines a light on what doxing is, what to do to protect against it, and how to deal with its consequences.
Many people believe doxing is something that happens to vulnerable groups or people of specific professions, such as journalists, activists, or sex workers. Some assume that their lives are not interesting enough for them to become victims of targeted online attacks. But Kaspersky said practice shows that this is not the case and people from all backgrounds can become victims of doing.
EndTab.org (Ending Technology-Enabled Abuse) is an e-learning platform focused on ending abuse and violence.
Kaspersky defines doxing (sometimes written as doxxing) as the act of revealing identifying information about someone online, such as their real name, home address, workplace, phone, financial, and other personal information. That information is then circulated to the public — without the victim’s permission.
Kaspersky explained that there are numerous reasons behind doxers’ actions including having fun online and not appreciating the harm they inflict, exacting justice (often mistakenly), revenge, jealousy, harassment, and even profit.
Doxing is something that can happen once and disrupt a person’s life entirely, without them ever foreseeing it. Users are exposed online in numerous ways that are not limited to just social media presence. Exposure can also come from data leaks, fitness trackers sharing information to the public, official records, and private messages.
Anyone with an online presence leaves a vast trace of our personal data, and this data can be picked up and used to doxers’ advantage. With that in mind, taking back control of users’ data and “owning their digital lives” becomes essential in ensuring people’s wellbeing. To achieve this, users need to develop positive digital habits and approach online activity mindfully. The course developed by Kaspersky and EndTab.org is aimed at helping with that.
Split into seven short lessons, the course lays out the basics for understanding the origins of doxing, the goals doxers pursue, ethical aspects of this practice, how to defend against it, and, most importantly, what to do if someone has been doxed. The first half of the course is already available online with the remaining lessons to be released in the following weeks.
“We are bringing our expertise in cybersecurity and technology usage to provide users with the right knowledge and tools to help in this aim,” said Anna Larkina, Kaspersky’s privacy expert.
“While doxing may not be on everyone’s radar, it should be. This is particularly true for parents. While anyone can be a target, this is a form of harm that shows up in cyberbullying and teen dating abuse situations. By being informed about the dangers of doxing, we can help keep ourselves and our children safer online,” said Adam Dodge, CEO, Endtab.org.
The online course is the first part of a series of tools that the Kaspersky team will release in an effort to enable users to sustain and enhance their digital wellbeing. The course is available on education.kaspersky.com for free.