Doxing

Doxing

Updated Jul 24, 2014 at 03:37PM EDT by amanda b..

Added Oct 17, 2012 at 09:01PM EDT by amanda b..

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About

Doxing, sometimes spelled as Doxxing, refers to the practice of investigating and revealing a target subject’s personally identifiable information, such as home address, workplace information and credit card numbers, without consent. The word is derived from “docs,” which is a shortened term for “documents.”

Origin

The term “dox” was initially used by computer hackers involved in pirated software[8] distribution to describe various documents relating to new updates, cracks or patches. Beginning in the early to mid-2000s, the term “doxing” became associated with the act of leaking an individual’s personal information for retaliation or vigilantism. In the late 2000s, it rapidly grew into a harassment tactic used by members of Anonymous during their operations. In China and elsewhere, similar forms of privacy-invasive behaviors emerged through groups like Human Flesh Search Engine.

Precursors

The act of publicly disclosing another Internet user’s personal information dates back to the 1990s on Usenet, where it became a common practice to post another poster’s personal information (or PI) during arguments and flame wars.[3] In 1994, scandalous stories about legendary Usenet posters were shared in a four-part compilation via newsgroup alt.folklore.computers,[4] however, these stories were largely limited to details about sockpuppet accounts and user profile information to expose their online activities outside of Usenet. This trolling tactic eventually came to a head in 1999, when owner of rec.skiing.alpine Scott Abraham[5] was banned from the newsgroup by a Seattle court order after he had been found guilty of participating in a flame war[6] and sharing personal information about other posters.

Spread

In October 2006, the YouTube channel Vigilantes[13] was established to seek out personal information of YouTubers deemed hateful or racist in vlog format.[14] The head of the group, CircaRigel[16], had all of her personal information leaked online by members of Encyclopedia Dramatica in January 2007 on the security issue newsgroup Full Disclosure[15], not only including her name and address, but personal posts she had made to the newsgroup alt.sexual.abuse.recovery.

In the following years, dozens of individuals were targeted and doxed by Anonymous-affiliated hacker collectives, including Chan Enterprises LLC, Lulzsec and Antisec among others. By 2008, the term had been defined as personal information leaked by a third-party on Urban Dictionary.[9] “Dox” was added to Wikitionary[1] in 2011, the same year that Doxbin[10] launched, a TOR site that hosts dozens of files containing personal information on specific people as well as groups of people. As of October 2012, there are more than 34,100 results for “dox” on Pastebin.[17]

Notable Instances

January 2007: Hal Turner

One of the first archived doxing campaigns targeted American white nationalist and blogger Hal Turner, who waged a war against Anonymous by disclosing the phone numbers of prank callers that had raided his radio talk show on-air in December 2006. In retaliation, a group of Anonymous members known as Chan Enterprises LLC launched a doxing investigation and managed to obtain Turner’s criminal record, housing details, former locations of residence and detailed personal information such as his home phone number. As a result of the feud, Turner filed lawsuits against 4chan, eBaums World and 7chan in January 2007, although all of the cases had been dismissed by December 2007.

October 2007: Chris Forcand

As early as in October 2007, members of Anonymous approached Chris Forcand, a suspected pedophile, under the pretense of being underage girls to collect evidence of him luring children in chatrooms. During one of these conversations, an Anonymous participant named “Jessica” was able to obtain Forcand’s mailing address, which soon led to uncovering of additional personal information about him. In December 2007, Forcand was arrested by the police after the information was passed on by anonymous tipsters.

January 2008: Scientology

During the Project Chanology in January 2008, Anonymous hackers launched a large-scale doxing campaign against the top-level members of Scientology, revealing their personal information as well as internal memos that had been circulating within the inner circle of the Church. An extensive collection of leaked documents can be found on the website Free Scientology Dox.[18]

May 2008: Linden Lab Staff

In May 2008, members of a group named DiSSENTiON posted a YouTube video (shown below) stating their plan to attack Second Life users and release information on Linden Lab staff members in retaliation for treating users poorly.[11] Members of the SLUniverse forum discussed the attack, where one of the users received a message stating “you fail at releasing dox” after attempting to leak information on someone’s fake name.



January 2014: Jenna Jameson’s Request

On January 4th, 2014, former adult film star and entrepreneur Jenna Jameson started a new thread on 4chan’s /b/ (random) board, in which she revealed that her former personal assistant has been meddling with her social media accounts, such as resetting the password for her Twitter account and removing pictures from her Instagram account, and requested for help to track him down.



Following the standard verification of the claim with timestamped photographs, including one in which she is shown topless, 4chan’s /b/ proceeded to fulfill Jameson’s request by uncovering the ex-assistant’s home address, driver’s license number, social security number and his credit score within the hour.



Search Interest



External References

[1]Wiktionary – Dox

[2]Urban Dictionary – doxing

[3]The Arcane Archive – Alt.Religion.Wicca Troll and Flame Roster

[4]Hack.org – Subject: Net.Legends.FAQ (Noticeable Phenomena Of UseNet)

[5]Wikipedia – Usenet Celebrities

[6]Wired – Usenet Ban a Slippery Slope?

[7]MenWeb – When is it a Felony to Talk about olin skis? King County District Court Issues First-Ever Usenet Gag Order

[8]Urban Dictionary – Dox | October 6th, 2003

[9]Urban Dictionary – Dox | August 16th, 2008

[10]Doxbin – Home (TOR)

[11]The Alphaville Herald – DiSSENTiON in SL

[12]SLUniverse – You fail at releasing dox, since TOny COstello is a fake name and Frizzlefry and Codec are not the same person, dumbass

[13]YouTube – YtVigilantes

[14]Encyclopedia Dramatica –

[15]Full Disclosure – CircaRigel

[16]Encyclopedia Dramatica – CircaRigel

fn17, Pastebin – Search results for “dox”

[18]50Webs – Free Scientology Dox

[19]CNews – Man trolled the web for girls: cops

[20]The Smoking Gun – “Teenage Scientology Foe Charged”http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/crime/teenage-scientology-foe-charged

[21]Pro Hacking Tricks – Doxing – A Way Of Tracing Anonymous People

[22]International Business Times – Anonymous’s Operation Hiroshima: Inside the Doxing Coup the Media Ignored

[23]The Tech Herald – The FBI’s Warning About Doxing Was Too Late

[24]Ars Technica – Doxed: how Sabu was outed by former Anons long before his arrest

[25]Wikipedia – Personally Identifiable Information

[26]Online Slang Dictionary – Doxing

[27]The Ethical Hacker Network – Doxing and Anti-Doxing – Part I

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Top Comments

amanda b.
amanda b.

Meme: An element of a culture or behavior that may be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, esp. imitation.

The behavior of seeking out a person’s personal information and the manner by which people dox is very methodical and passed along from person to person. Memes aren’t just image macros, dudes.

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