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Privacy Security The Internet

Doxing -- Something To Expect More of In 2015 171

HughPickens.com writes: When asked about trends to expect in 2015, Bruce Schneier points to doxing as a likely candidate. Doxing is not new, dating back to at least 1987 when Robert Bork's video tape rentals were leaked to the press. Usually it's things like an address and phone number, but it can also be credit card details, medical information, private e-mails—pretty much anything an assailant can get his hands on. "Everyone from political activists to hackers to government leaders has now learned how effective this attack is. Everyone from common individuals to corporate executives to government leaders now fears this will happen to them. And I believe this will change how we think about computing and the Internet."
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Doxing -- Something To Expect More of In 2015

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  • What is doxing? (Score:5, Informative)

    by pr0nbot ( 313417 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @06:52AM (#48723995)

    For those too lazy to google:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @07:00AM (#48724023)
    Is that everyone has some skeletons in the closet they're hiding. Yours might not be as severe as someone else's, or it may be from back when you were a stupid teen. But there's something that would embarrass you or tarnish your reputation if it were made public. Maybe you tried smoking weed in college, or you had sex with your high school GF when she (and you) were technically underage, or all manner of other things.

    So if facts uncovered by doxing becomes accepted as legitimate grounds for disqualification, then the only people who will get the good job positions or get elected will be the liars who are exceptionally good at covering up their history or shifting blame onto others.

    Instead, what needs to happen is for people to stop demanding perfection from others. Everyone is human, and humans are fallible. Someone who claims to have never failed, to have always done the right thing, is almost certainly a liar, a con artist.. That's what should raise suspicion about someone's fitness for a job or elected office - the absence of any skeletons in the closet. If society can change to where we accept that we're all flawed and that a few flaws shouldn't automatically disqualify us, then doxing largely becomes irrelevant and IMHO our world will become a much nicer place.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "So if facts uncovered by doxing becomes accepted as legitimate grounds for disqualification, then the only people who will get the good job positions or get elected will be the liars who are exceptionally good at covering up their history or shifting blame onto others. "

      Huh? The ones who get elected already cover up everything. At least they try. They lie all the time. Doxing is what keeps them on their toes. So I REALLY hope it doesn't stop. I hope it increases. A lot.

      • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @09:18AM (#48724403) Journal

        If someone is a celebrity, they get to have an ongoing dialog with the public. If you create an ugly first impression around a person by cherry picking their lives for dirt, they don't have the same opportunity. Don't you think that's an important difference?

        Having a criminal record that can be checked by those who have a personal interest in researching your character isn't the same as having someone run around shouting that you are a thief to everyone. Maybe it happened a long time ago and you're a changed man.

        But generating shame by focusing busy strangers attention on an ugly part of your life, causing an impression to be formed in a vacuum by people who had no interest in knowing the details in the first place and who will never learn when and why to let go of that... That is truly horrible, and we need to put a stop to it.

        Openness in general makes everyone safer, but people who shame others by name make life worse for us all.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Maybe it happened a long time ago and you're a changed man.

          The entire premise of the American injustice system is that nobody ever changes and once you get caught doing something you're forever a criminal and can't be trusted with anything ever.

          Unless of course you're rich and/or famous. Then it's OK.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How can I dare to hire a person who has done something wrong/strange/other before when parts of the internet might run your business into the ground for it. Not just anonymous but tumblr, religious groups, gamers or housewifes.
      When people will get you fired for writing a comic strip that 99% of the population think is okay because a few from a extrem group raise their voices.
      I don't care if it's a religous group or 14 year old boys, but the problem is more that we shouldn't listen to those who scream the lo

      • But society has changed and is changing, and is far more accepting of deviancy. Not too long ago if you were gay you needed to keep that secret from your employer or you might get fired. Today, if your boss finds out your gay and fires you, he and his company can expect an unholy shitstorm heading their way.

        Have the dirty pictures of young actresses filched off iCloud had any lasting negative effects on their careers? That whole thing has blown over, and the media was more concerned with how awful it was th

    • by ciascu ( 1345429 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @08:26AM (#48724249) Journal

      I heard a story once about a PhD who was presenting their first year's progress. There were no problems, everything had gone to plan and on time, unlike the rest of their office mates, who had followed false leads, made mistakes with mixing chemicals and so forth. At the presentation, after all of the productive work was outlined and a few cursory questions addressed, one of the more senior staff put up their hand and asked "What unexpected problems did you come across?" The response was "Nothing - it all proceeded as planned." After some investigation, it turned out an experienced postdoc had actually done most of the work and coached the candidate through their first year.

      Like many good murder mysteries, something can seem "too perfect" - then you can find the needle much faster than searching through a haystack of mistakes.

    • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @09:06AM (#48724375)

      Is that everyone has some skeletons in the closet they're hiding. Yours might not be as severe as someone else's, or it may be from back when you were a stupid teen. But there's something that would embarrass you or tarnish your reputation if it were made public. Maybe you tried smoking weed in college, or you had sex with your high school GF when she (and you) were technically underage...

      Uh, if you were searching for examples by which to embarrass the Legalize It generation of social media narcissists who defines relationships with Tinder, you better keep looking. These sure as hell won't do it.

    • If society can change to where we accept that we're all flawed and that a few flaws shouldn't automatically disqualify us, then doxing largely becomes irrelevant and IMHO our world will become a much nicer place.

      Yeah, how is that going to happen? Answer: doxing. It will become so commonplace that things we think are a big deal today will become no big deal because we'll learn just how prevalent they are in society.

      • I agree. Look at trolling. Trolling is a norm that we just step around, like avoiding bullshit in a pleasant meadow.

      • by digsbo ( 1292334 )

        It will become so commonplace that things we think are a big deal today will become no big deal because we'll learn just how prevalent they are in society.

        I think a little differently - we'll openly admit how prevalent they are in society. Puritans aren't any better at not sinning, they're just really good at hiding it.

      • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

        If society can change to where we accept that we're all flawed and that a few flaws shouldn't automatically disqualify us, then doxing largely becomes irrelevant and IMHO our world will become a much nicer place.

        Yeah, how is that going to happen? Answer: doxing. It will become so commonplace that things we think are a big deal today will become no big deal because we'll learn just how prevalent they are in society.

        Tend to agree. Privacy is going to go the way of the dodo. Sooner or later somebody will make a FOSS package that generates a manageable data stream from a video feed that assigns a UUID to every face that enters the frame along with location and time references, and also tags every letter/number that enters the frame, and it will run on something the size of a cell phone without using much power. Then people will mount cameras on their houses/cars/person/etc and upload the data to 15 different public se

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      We're all flawed but not equally flawed and not necessarily in the ways an employer would object to. If you have two candidates and one has already had a skeleton fall out of their closet and the other hasn't, would you really go with the person who already has proven objectionable behavior? Not that I found your examples very objectionable. And if you don't care but know your customers will, then whether it's public knowledge or not is extremely relevant. I don't think it's possible to do away with social

      • I don't think it's possible to do away with social norms, if they steal nude photos of you and send it to all your colleagues it will get weird and awkward. I think you're asking too much of people to pretend like that didn't happen.

        Even that is changing. Extensive research has shown that to a large extent, people are naked underneath their clothes.

        So the pool of people who become upset that a person has a penis is shrinking. Don't be so hard on them.

    • Is that everyone has some skeletons in the closet they're hiding.

      Most people, I'm sure. I actually don't. Thinking back through my life, there's really nothing that has ever happened that would bother me. Some of it might be mildly uncomfortable but only mildly. Some might be a little more uncomfortable without the context, for example when I was 19 I was arrested for theft, but I wasn't actually stealing anything. Oh... perhaps an even better example was about three years ago when I broke my daughter's collarbone. Without the context, that makes me sound like an abusive

      • Heh. I should have read the third paragraph of Solandri's post.
      • Is that everyone has some skeletons in the closet they're hiding.

        Most people, I'm sure. I actually don't

        Everybody's got something to hide, 'cept for me and my monkey!

    • So if facts uncovered by doxing becomes accepted as legitimate grounds for disqualification, then the only people who will get the good job positions or get elected will be the liars who are exceptionally good at covering up their history or shifting blame onto others.

      Such job disqualification is a handy tool for HR departments these days as it neatly addresses the current job vs. candidate imbalance. Think Elysium (which was really about today and not the future) or this week's past Dilbert strips. We're

    • The ones who get elected will be the the ones that the holders of the information choose - they simply won't reveal their video rental habits or out-of-context emails.

      So, if, hypothetically, some agency were logging all of the internet activity of everyone, they'd have a lot of power over anyone who wanted to do something that required public approval. At a minimum they'd probably be able to make sure that their agency survived despite scandal after scandal, including those which reveal the existence of th

    • The problem with doxing... Is that everyone has some skeletons in the closet they're hiding.

      No, that's not "the problem with doxing" (which hackers tend to spell with two Xes by the way). The problem is that the information is available in the first place.

      OP says

      And I believe this will change how we think about computing and the Internet.

      ... but THAT is the real problem. If this will change your thinking, you haven't been thinking enough. This has been a recognized problem for a decade and a half, and it's why some of us have been screaming for better privacy controls for all of that time.

      The courts have recognized that even snooping into someone's public records can

    • So if facts uncovered by doxing becomes accepted as legitimate grounds for disqualification, then the only people who will get the good job positions or get elected will be the liars who are exceptionally good at covering up their history or shifting blame onto others.

      What will happen is that everyone will realize they have skeletons, everyone growing up now will have all kinds of embarrassing things embedded in the internet to be found - so by and large people will simply stop caring about what things are

    • The problem with doxing Is that everyone has some skeletons in the closet they're hiding.

      That's small potatoes compared with the real problem with doxxing. The real problem is that once the doxxed person's info is public, any asshole on the Internet can and does start harassing the victim both online and offline. Threats of violence, harassing the victim's employer, trying to get him/her fired, swatting, etc., are all common consequences of doxxing.

      It's a really shitty thing to do. I don't really give one tenth of one flying fuck if someone finds out that I smoked weed in high school or banged

  • That is not doxing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by epyT-R ( 613989 )

    Doxing is releasing private information to the public. Names and addresses are not private information. Drama queens have tried to redefine this in vain attempts to control who gets to use the information they've already provided online.

    Eg: John Doe posts a blog entry loaded with clickbait fallacy under his real name, looking for a reaction to boost his lack of self esteem and gain e-prestige, but wasn't ready for criticism. When his post doesn't quite get the attention he was looking for, some type his na

    • ignoring the fact it was his fault for associating his real name with his post in the first place.

      Uh, what? The FAULT for the real name fiasco is GOOGLE's and FACEBOOK's and their insistence on making accounts with real identifying information. They are the technology trendsetters and API providers, who turned the internet into a giant fishbowl where people can be easily stalked by anyone.

      Ten to fifteen years ago, before they got their grubby ad ridden paws on the web, it was common knowledge and standa

      • Come off it ... back in the pre-internet days people who wrote letters to the editor had to confirm their identity (their name and phone number were in the phone book, and the newspaper would phone them). Even people who wrote unpopular opinions had to identify themselves. No hiding behind a nic.

        When certain people were complaining "OMG they have my address and a photo of my home", that was totally bogus in terms of a threat. Anyone who uses their name in public had better expect that it's very easy to fin

    • by SpzToid ( 869795 )

      Doxing is what has just happened to Sony Pictures & Entertainment big-time. Variety and The Hollywood Reporter have been reporting on email contents (as I understand the situation, but don't really know first-hand), and SPE have sent lawyers telling Variety, etc. those emails can't be published due to copyright ownership; which is another matter open to debate. We're talking emails between C-level types and million-dollar A-List Hollywood types. The Wikileaks of Hollywood if you will.

      Twitter lawyers hav

    • Rather than address his shoddy argument, he claims he was 'doxed' instead, ignoring the fact it was his fault for associating his real name with his post in the first place.

      Really? That's the problem? That you think he has a shoddy argument, not that he is being hunted and harassed for holding opinions that you and others don't like?

    • Sorry to nitpick, but there is no such thing as "clickbait fallacy". A fallacy is something that is logically or factually wrong.

      You probably mean that someone is using a clickbait tactic or spiel.

      • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

        there is no such thing as "clickbait fallacy".

        Yes there is. 'Clickbait fallacy' is a dog whistle phrase in the same vein as 'Social Justice Warrior' or 'political correctness'. It signifies that the poster is a reactionary white manchild who thinks the person harrassed by the 'doxing' "had it coming".

        <Looks at OP UID> Oh look, it's epyT-R. QED.

        • 'Clickbait fallacy' is a dog whistle phrase in the same vein as 'Social Justice Warrior' or 'political correctness'.

          Or 'manchild'?

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

      Doxing is releasing private information to the public. Names and addresses are not private information. Drama queens have tried to redefine this in vain attempts to control who gets to use the information they've already provided online.

      Doxxing is not just about the release of information. It is the release of information specifically to create fear in the target by distributing said information to a group of sociopathic jackals, for example, GamerGate.

      There's a reason doxxing is mainly associated with 4ch

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There's a reason doxxing is mainly associated with 4chan, 8chan and other pedophile websites.

        And there's a reason some associate violent street crime with black people. It's not a good reason; it's a pretty ugly reason, actually. But hey, it's just as technically true as your statement.
        Alternatively, something about pedophiles-on-steroids blowing up vans with hacking.

        • pedophiles-on-steroids

          That's wrong. Black people didn't invent crime. Doxxing became famous out of the chan sewer.

          The reason doxxing is associated with 4chan, 8chan and gamergate has nothing to do with gamergate's perception of themselves as an oppressed minority fighting for their rights to keep women out of their games in any capacity beyond fap-bait.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            The reason doxxing is associated with 4chan, 8chan and gamergate has nothing to do with gamergate's perception of themselves as an oppressed minority fighting for their rights to keep women out of their games in any capacity beyond fap-bait.

            You're all over the place, and not making much sense. 4chan, 8chan, and gamergate are all separate entities. Gamergate doesn't believe itself to be about 'keeping' women out of game development. Conflating 4chan and gamergate is hilariously ignorant.

            Doxxing became famous out of the chan sewer.

            Again; possibly technically true, but meaningless. Saying 4chan is famous for doxxing does not mean 4chan has a monopoly on doxxing. It's ignorant at best, and at worst, it's used to excuse the actions of others.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Didn't 4-chan kick all the GamerGate people out? The only reason 8-chan is associated with GamerGate at all is that it's the largest web forum that didn't bow to the corporate puppet-masters and ban all GamerGate discussion in its entirety, like 4-Chan, Reddit, and Slashdot did.

            Plus, when it comes to GamerGate, all the doxxing is on one side: the SJW side. They've gone out of their way to try and get GamerGaters fired, to the point of making up rape charges and trying to convince employers that they were re

            • Plus, when it comes to GamerGate, all the doxxing is on one side: the SJW side.

              Is that why 8chan's 6th busiest forum is strictly for doxxing?

              GTFO.

            • ban all GamerGate discussion in its entirety, like 4-Chan, Reddit, and Slashdot did

              The above +4 Informative post apparently does not exists.
      • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @11:47AM (#48724997) Journal

        There's a reason doxxing is mainly associated with 4chan, 8chan and other pedophile websites.

        Jezebel writer doxxes autistic kid [jezebel.com].
        Rebecca Watson promotes Doxxing [skepchick.org].
        Reddits ShitRedditSays subreddit digging up names of gamergaters. [imgur.com]
        A tumblr related website all about doxxing [gettingracistsfired.com]

        Something about throwing stones in glass houses springs to mind here.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

          Calling someone's mom and telling them their son has been making rape threats and harassing women on the internet is not doxxing.

          Putting someone's phone number on the internet to invite more rape threats and harassment is doxxing.

          • Calling someone's mom and telling them their son has been making rape threats and harassing women on the internet is not doxxing.

            Only if it's demonstrably true. Something...something....cried...wolf... Sorry if I find the current crop of doxxers lacking in veracity. Something..ethics..journalism.. comes to mind but I can't quite put my finger on it.

            Putting someone's phone number on the internet to invite[..] rape threats and harassment is doxxing.

            Agreed. Which is why no one should be posting someone els

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      Even if you don't think that real name and address is personal information (no, you can't have mine) that misses the point. People have a right to control how information about them is used.

      Doxxing is posting information for malicious purposes, typically to shame or threaten the victim. For example, a death threat with your home address is considered by most legal systems to be more serious and credible than one without.

    • Doxing is releasing private information to the public. Names and addresses are not private information. Drama queens have tried to redefine this in vain attempts to control who gets to use the information they've already provided online.

      Eg: John Doe posts a blog entry loaded with clickbait fallacy under his real name, looking for a reaction to boost his lack of self esteem and gain e-prestige, but wasn't ready for criticism. When his post doesn't quite get the attention he was looking for, some type his name into a search engine and find his address and telephone and post this already public information on some forum. If he gains a lot of notoriety, some will go further, armed with the already public info to pick away at what else may be public, but not published like his name and address. Rather than address his shoddy argument, he claims he was 'doxed' instead, ignoring the fact it was his fault for associating his real name with his post in the first place.

      In both cases, it is done to harass and threaten the poster, with the explicit statement, "I know where you live" and the implicit statement "and therefore could attack you in person." It is done by people who want to silence others, because they cannot respond to their arguments substantively and have to resort to calling them "clickbait fallacy" posted by "drama queens".

    • That is a form of doxing, but not the kind I find particularly worrisome. I usually think of doxing in the context of piercing someone's psuedoanonymity. Your real name is not publicly available information. You, epyT-R (unless that actually is your real name, which would be rather bizarre), have an expectation that what you say on slashdot is not going to find its way into your boss' inbox. And that no one is going to show up at your doorstep with a flaming sack of dog shit because of your comments. Is it

  • SJWs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Social justice warriors LOVE to fox people and threaten them and their employers if they dare have differing points of view (all while claiming to be the VICTIMS of doxxing, themselves).

  • It's not a secret that you have body parts. But it's a violation of your privacy to publish photos of them against your will.
  • Gamergate Doxxing (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kunedog ( 1033226 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @08:27AM (#48724253)
    TFA mentions Gamergate in the context of the doxxing but all the victims mentioned just happen to be on the anti-GG side (innocent mistake, I'm sure).

    Pro-GG people have been doxxed:
    http://imgur.com/BNlLKcn [imgur.com]

    So was the creator of #notyourshield, and his workplace was harassed until he was fired:
    https://twitter.com/Moldybars/... [twitter.com]
    http://i.imgur.com/9ieHMu9.png [imgur.com]

    A prominent anti-GGer called for the doxxing of all Gamergate supporters: http://i.gyazo.com/5db582013ac... [gyazo.com]

    At least the pro-GG makes an effort to detect, condemn, and report this shitty behavior, no matter which side it comes from.
    • by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @10:20AM (#48724631)

      his workplace was harassed until he was fired:

      This is an increasingly common tactic used by people who disagree with other people.

      You're a racist? Let's get you fired:
      http://gettingracistsfired.com... [gettingracistsfired.com]

      You're a scumbag who doesn't deliver on a kickstarter? Let's bother your parents:
      https://www.kickstarter.com/pr... [kickstarter.com]

      Sure, this isn't new - the latter is just an extension of small-town "you come around here doing that again and I'll be talking to your mama". But the motive and intent are different. It's not about the parents being the authority figure instilling some sense into the kid, but about harassing the parents so that they, too, will blame the 'kid' for woes.

      In the former case, it hinges on when things you say are personal, and when they are things you say as a representative of a company.
      Post on company blog - company.
      Post on facebook with place of employ listed - apparently, company.
      Post on twitter with no place of employ listed but people find out through your name and location anyway - according to that blog, company.
      Post on a random forum under a pseudonym but given enough searching around have your place of employ found - if you're thinking this should be personal, you're disagreeing with that site.

      Increasingly, "what you do in your personal time is your own business" no longer flies, because whatever you do in your personal time can - thanks to the pressure power of social media - very much become your employer's business... even if they have no issue with you personally, but get negative attention for employing you.

      Any outside activity must not interfere with your ability to properly perform your job duties

      - From one employee manual, in context about outside employment but easily interpreted to also apply to these cases.

    • At least the pro-GG makes an effort to detect, condemn, and report this shitty behavior, no matter which side it comes from.

      You're clearly not above twisting it to political ends.

      If both sides are doxing, and both sides are complaining about doxing, then both sides are clearly not above hypocrisy. QED.

      (PEOPLE: It's not always about sides! You can say doxxing is wrong and admit that you agree with others who also say doxxing is wrong, even if those others have the opposite position on an unrelated issue).

  • by Dan Askme ( 2895283 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @10:11AM (#48724599) Homepage

    Or, we could use the correct wording for each situation, brought to you by one of those English dictionary's you had at school.

    Usually it's things like an address and phone number, but it can also be credit card details, medical information, private e-mails—pretty much anything an assailant can get his hands on

    Pretty simple: Identity Theft.

    • Usually it's things like an address and phone number, but it can also be credit card details, medical information, private e-mails—pretty much anything an assailant can get his hands on

      Pretty simple: Identity Theft.

      Bloody hell, it's 9-11 all over again, when people were calling everything terrorism. Or back in the 1980's when the Reagan administration tried to make agricultural information classified.

      People seem to think they make a point when they bring up these overly broad definitions. Mostly they just muddle the conversation. And there you go, making knowing a person's name identity theft.

    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
      Um... No. Identity theft is using someone else's identity, not just obtaining information about them. It'd be using those credit card details to make purchases, or to write checks with some other data, and so on. You're the one mistakenly using words with much stronger meaning.
  • The summary is almost as long as the linked blog post, which reads more like a "Computer Guy" column in a magazine for retired dentists than Slashdot material.

    My favorite part:
    "In 2014, several women were doxed by male gamers trying to intimidate them into keeping silent about sexism in computer games."

    Wuss.

  • Good thing I had the foresight to made it difficult to impossible to associate any online nickname or username or URL with my actual name like 8+ years ago.

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