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What is doxing and what to do if you’ve been doxed

(TECHNOLOGY) Doxing is an attack that used to be primarily done in hacker and gamer circles, but is now spilling over to victimize people from all walks of life. Like you.

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what to do if you've been doxed

Having your private information posted to the internet against your will is a nightmare come to life. Your phone numbers, social networks, personal email address, and even physical address can be leaked in a practice known as doxing.

Doxing is a cyber attack where someone’s private information is publicly posted to the internet without their consent.

Information posted may have been difficult to obtain prior to doxing, and can reveal personally identifiable details of previously anonymous accounts.

In most cases, the intent is to maliciously violate someone’s privacy for perceived justice or revenge. Victims of doxing often experience harassing phone calls to their bosses at work and comments on their social media at the very least.

Friends and family members of doxing victims can end up getting harassed as well if their contact information is leaked.

In extreme cases, doxing victims have had false police reports filed against them, causing authorities to show up investigating fake claims of abuse, hostage situations, or bomb threats.

Although doxing is most common among gamer and hacker communities, anyone can be a victim as it becomes increasingly common.

Your best bet is to prepare for the worst-case scenario
.

Eva Galperin, cybersecurity director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, provided several helpful tips that follow.

First things first: be aware of what you’re intentionally posting. Galperin notes, “What people can really give away about you is the stuff that you’ve already given away about yourself.”

Google yourself to see how much public information is already out there. Remove yourself from people-search lists, and ensure your number is unlisted and on the Do Not Call Registry.

Posting your location on Twitter or enabling location tagging on Instagram can expose your information to bad actors. Carefully consider if you really want to include your location with every social media post (and learn here how to turn it off everywhere).

Pay attention to how many personal details you’re including in online profiles. A study by NYU and University of Illinois professors found Facebook is the most commonly included social media site in doxed files.

This is likely because Facebook contains more sensitive information regarding the user’s relationship to others. On your account, you can note parents, siblings, and other degrees of connection, providing more insight to those prying (pro tip – here’s how to see what the public has access to on your Facebook account).

Get familiar with the Terms of Service of any websites you’re using, especially the privacy sections. Make sure you learn how to file a takedown in the event your information does get posted.

Another exciting part of doxing is the possibility of compromised login credentials, allowing hackers to post as you. Decrease the likelihood of that dumpster fire by using strong, unique passwords for every account. Use a password manager to keep track.

Whenever possible, you should opt for two-factor authentication. Add another layer of security by using an authentication app instead of text messages for push notifications.

Since mobile accounts can be infiltrated, someone could theoretically hack your cell’s SIM card to receive text messages meant for you.

You can call your cell company and enable password protection for your SIM card so no one can make to the account changes without providing a PIN.

While this may seem like a lot of tinfoil hat preparation, the reality is that our digital information is vulnerable.

Even if you’re not a prominent public figure or higher up at your company, your private information could be compromised.

It’s better to have an emergency plan set in place so you’re not overwhelmed if you do happen to get doxed.

Fortunately, doxing is against the Terms of Service for most websites. Reporting doxing usually leads to account suspension for the offending user, or removal of the posts.

Lock down your info now so you’re not an easy target.

Lindsay is an editor for The American Genius with a Communication Studies degree and English minor from Southwestern University. Lindsay is interested in social interactions across and through various media, particularly television, and will gladly hyper-analyze cartoons and comics with anyone, cats included.

Tech News

How to personalize your site for every visitor without learning code

(TECH NEWS) This awesome tool from Proof lets you personalize your website for visitors without coding. Experiences utilizes your users to create the perfect view for them.

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experiences welcome page

What if you could personalize every step of the sales funnel? The team over at Proof believes this is the next best step for businesses looking to drive leads online. Their tool, Experiences, is a marketer-friendly software that lets you personalize your website for every visitor without coding.

Using Experiences your team can create a targeted experience for the different types of visitors coming to your website. The personalization is thought to drive leads more efficiently because it offers visitors exactly the information they want. Experiences can also be used to A/B test different strategies for your website. This could be a game changer for companies that target multiple specific audiences.

Experiences is a drag-and-drop style tool, which means nearly anyone on your team can learn to use it. The UX is meant to be intuitive and simple, so you don’t need a web developer to guide you through the process. In order to build out audiences for your website, Experiences pulls data from your CRM, such as SalesForce and Hubspot, or you can utilize a Clearbit integration which pull third-party information.

Before you go rushing to purchase a new tool for your team, there are a few things to keep in mind. According to Proof, personalization is best suited for companies with at least 15,000 plus visitors per month. This volume of visitors is necessary for Experiences to gather the data it needs to make predictions. The tool is also recommended for B2B businesses since company data is public.

The Proof team is a success story of the Y Combinator demo day. They pitched their idea for a personalized web experience and quickly found themselves funded. Now, they’ve built out their software and have seen success with their initial clients. Over the past 18 months, their early-access clients, which included brands like Profitwell and Shipbob, have seen an increase in leads, proposals, and downloads.

Perhaps the best part of Proof is that they don’t just sell you a product and walk away. Their website offers helpful resources for customers called Playbooks where you can learn how to best use the tool to achieve your company’s goals be it converting leads or engaging with your audience. If this sounds like exactly the tool your team needs, you can request a demo on their website.

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Tech News

Not just for gaming: How virtual reality can save PTSD patients

(TECH NEWS) Thanks to its ability to simulate situations safely, virtual reality technologies are proving effective in therapy for PTSD patients.

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Woman wearing a VR headset in warm sunny lighting, PTSD patients treatment

Over the last year, a great many people have developed a new and sometimes dangerous relationship with a new emotional state, anxiety. I know that personally I’d never had a panic attack in my life until the middle of the pandemic. For many these emotions have taken the form of actual disorders. Actual mental influences which affect everyday life on a large scale. One of the most common forms of which is PTSD.

This disorder has many different aspects and can affect people in a number of different and debilitating ways. Finding treatments for PTSD patients and other anxiety disorders – especially treatments that don’t involve drugging people into oblivion has been difficult.

A lot of these disorders require exposure therapy. Putting people back into similar situations which caused the original trauma so that their brains can adjust to the situation and not get stuck in pain or panic loops. But how do you do that for things like battlefield trauma. You can’t just create situations with gunfire and dead bodies! Or can you?

This is where VR starts coming in. Thanks to the falling cost of VR headsets, noted by The Economist, psychologists are more capable of creating these real world situations that can actually help people adjust to their individual trauma.

One therapist went so far as to compare it to easy access opioids for therapy. This tool is so powerful that of the 20 veterans that they started with, 16 of them no longer qualify for the categories of PTSD. That’s a 75% success rate with an over-the-counter medicine. I can think of antihistamines and painkillers that aren’t that good.

I’ve grown up around PTSD patients. The majority of my family have been in the military. I was even looking at a career before I was denied service. I have enough friends that deal with PTSD issues that I have a list of things I remember not to invite certain people to so as not to trigger it. Any and every tool available that could help people adapt to their trauma is worthwhile.

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Tech News

Tired of email spam? This silly, petty solution might provide vindication

(TECH NEWS) If you struggle to keep your inbox clean thanks to a multitude of emails, the widget “You’ve Got Spam” could provide some petty catharsis.

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Email icon with 20 possible spam emails on phone screen.

We’re all spending a lot of time behind our computers and inside of our inboxes these days, so it makes sense that some people—not naming names—might be sick of seeing several unsolicited emails a day from marketers and other unsavory businesses.

While we can’t recommend a mature, adult solution that hasn’t already been beaten to death (looking at you, “inbox zero” crowd), we can recommend a childish one: Signing solicitors up for spam.

If you do decide to go the petty route, “You’ve Got Spam”—a free email widget from MSCHF—has you covered. Upon installing the widget, you can configure it to respond automatically to incoming cold-marketing emails with tons of subscriptions to spam sources, thus resulting in overwhelming the sender with a crowded inbox and cultivating a potentially misplaced sense of catharsis for yourself.

The widget itself is fairly simple: You only need to install it to Gmail from the MSCHF website. The rest is pretty self-explanatory. When you receive an email from a person from whom you can safely assume you’ll never be receiving favors ever again, you can open it and click the “You’ve Got Spam” icon to sign the sender up for spam lists galore.

See? Petty, but effective.

The developer page does fail to make the distinction between the promised “100” subscriptions and the “hundreds of spam subscriptions” discussed on Product Hunt. But one can assume that anyone who dares trespass on the sacred grounds of your squeaky-clean inbox will rue the day they did so regardless of the exact number of cat litter magazine subscriptions they receive.

Of course, actually using something like “You’ve Got Spam” is, realistically, a poor choice. It takes exactly as much effort to type, “We’ll pass – thanks!” as a response to anyone cold-emailing you, and you’re substantially less likely to piss off the actual human being on the other side by doing so. Services like this are heavy on the comedic shock value, but the empathy side tends to lack a discernible presence.

That said, if you absolutely must wreck someone’s day—and inbox—MSCHF’s “You’ve Got Spam” is a pretty ingenious way to do it.

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