While it remains a crime and a form of harassment that can lead to jail time, doxxing and cyberstalking are on the rise, especially motivated by politics. Doxxing someone because you disagree with their politics causes them to be open to being harassed and could hurt their family. It's a dirty trick that you need to prepare for if you think you're a potential victim.
Here are four ways to protect yourself online with some digital self-defense actions.
While we never want to believe that our former partners could be capable of bad things, we all do a lot of ugly things when we're emotional. However, when things get tough, we need to be careful about our personal information. While doxxing and stalking are illegal, ex-partners might be in a special position to do serious damage.
Not only do they have special access to our information and our devices, but they might even know our passwords. On top of that, they know what it takes to hurt us and how they could release certain information about us. It's a sad thought to have to consider when you're going through a breakup, but it's the reality.
If they have a history of abuse, acting out of anger, or committing crimes of any form, you should be careful and reset your passwords. Choose something they won't guess or even implement two-factor authentication to protect yourself. Let your bank and credit card companies know that they need to watch for unauthorized use.
Even if you have a partner who has no history of this, you should still change your password as a good practice. If you fear harassment from your ex-partner, get a new phone and credit card so that you can stay protected. Make these changes as soon as possible after your break up or just before.
One of the most overt ways to know that you're in the act of being doxxed or that someone is trying to hack you is that you're getting strange phone calls.
Doxxing is when someone releases your private information, whether it's your financial information, address, or private photos and video. This kind of release is usually used to exploit someone as a response to a social or political act. Sometimes, it's more random and people are doxxed because someone is taking out a personal vendetta on them.
Strange phone calls could result in you giving out personal information that you should have protected. If you find that one of your bank accounts is suddenly emptied unexpectedly, and your bank can't explain it, then you might have been hacked.
If you suspect a cyberstalker is following you and releasing your private information, you need to change your accounts or even use a new bank. If something feels strange, take it seriously. More than a few odd incidents in the course of a year shouldn't be considered random.
For anyone who fears being stalked or hacked, you need to take action as soon as possible.
If you had someone look at your work or personal computer recently, you could have left yourself open to be ing hacked. While people can be hacked remotely online at any point, there is more information you can get if you hack a computer directly.
Listening devices or software can be installed to gather data and send it to another location. These tools are generally illegal, especially when the information gathered is used against someone else or for personal gain. However, since they're so easy to install and operate silently when installing properly, they can cause serious damage with all tracks erased in the interim.
If you've experienced any kind of cyberstalking incidents, you might already be dealing with a hack. If you haven't been doxxed yet but fear that there's something strange going on with your machine, get it checked out ASAP. Unplug it and stop using it until it's been checked out, as you could be leaving yourself open the longer that you use it.
Your PC professional can let you know if you've got spyware installed. This is a good reason to always back up your data. If your computer is infected with spyware, you might not be able to recover things directly from the machine.
If you fear that you might be dealing with a cyberstalker, time is of the essence. While you might feel a little crazy or think that the things that are happening are just coincidence, you're better off safe than sorry. If you wait any longer, you're giving yourself the opportunity to be doxxed or stalked.
Instead of feeling crazy, record any incidents that you see, noting the time, day, and what you observed. Write down which programs you were using and how the event transpired. If you start to notice repeated attacks, it's common to become paralyzed with worry or fear.
Don't be harassed any longer than you need to be. Cyberstalkers enjoy those first attacks too much that they usually go back and repeat their attacks over and over. If you've been attacked once, the person who attacked you might be in a rush and run off.
Take that as a warning and cut them off before they return. If you start putting up a hurdle, then you cause them to lose interest. The harder it is to hack you, the less likely they'll commit.
While you might never be able to completely get rid of the possibility of being doxxed, doxxing can be prevented with some simple actions. By protecting your passwords online, never using the same password for any two things, and protecting personal information, you can stay safe.
To stay safe at all times, check out these personal safety apps today.
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