FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): In a day and age when ransomware and online fraud is creating headlines, another threat is growing and making life online even more challenging.
A new study found 21% of the country – 43 million Americans – have been victims of doxxing, making it a top cybersecurity threat Indiana residents must avoid in 2021. More than half of all attacks stem from social media fights with strangers.
Doxxing is when sensitive publicly available data is collected online and released maliciously to ruin someone’s life or career. Victims get harassed, lose jobs, families and have been raped.
SafeHome.org today released a study on the Dangers of Doxxing in 2021:
5 Ways to Protect Yourself after polling 1,000 adults across the country.
The study found 52% of attacks stem from social media fights with strangers, 24% are linked to friends or ex-romantic partners, and 20% are due to online gaming disputes.
The threat is likely greater than what has been reported. Only 34% of victims file a report because doxxing is largely legal and done anonymously, leaving victims with little recourse.
HERE ARE 5 WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF:
1) Stop Fighting with Strangers Online: Political fights on Facebook are no-win situations. Think twice if your next tweet is worth it. Aside from getting worked up, you may get doxxed.
2) Be as Private as Possible: Set your online accounts to private, avoid your full name, use a “burner” email to register. Limit what information you include, even your birthday on Facebook can be weaponized against you.
3) Use Password Managers: Create complex and unique passwords for each account. This way if one gets compromised, the perpetrator will not get a treasure trove of information. Activate two factor authentication.
4) Virtual Private Networks: Hackers can steal your information on public Wi-Fi networks. Use a VPN, which are inexpensive to purchase, and you will be protected.
5) If You Are Being Doxxed: Shut down your online accounts immediately and talk to your support system. Involve law enforcement and lawyers as necessary.