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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
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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

Facebook policy sets themselves up for yet another failure

(TECH) Facebook’s role in news consumption increases, and their new policy regarding news is raising eyebrows.

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Facebook did not get a lot of likes a when it was facing scrutiny for taking money for Russian ads, and their subsequent role in the 2016 Presidential election. In response to that, Facebook announced its Ad Archive – a public political archive to allow users more transparency in who purchased those ads like you can on television. Additionally, they changed their political ads policy.

Of course, the goal of this is to promote transparency and give the public an opportunity to scrutinize advertisers and have more control about what they do with that information. Facebook and the world at large acknowledges that still isn’t a perfect solution, and there are many problems left to work out, including how perpetrators can get around the new rules by simply setting up an LLC.

Now, Facebook says they will include news pages in their Ad Archives. While this decision was originally opposed by many news publishers, and Facebook compromised by putting them in a separate category, it has officially become part of Facebook policy.

To be a news page, there are several criteria pages and promoters must follow, including focusing on current events and news, spreading factual and true information, and publishing content that is not user generated or aggregated from other areas of the web. Also, the amount of advertising content can not exceed the amount of content related to news.

Facebook’s decision to include news publishers involved some input from The Trust Project was a decent step, but it’s almost certain that many publishers are raising their eyebrows at the decision to include them in the archive, with the indication that news organizations are as suspect as corrupt Russian players. It is particularly grating in an environment where Twitter has opted not to lump news and Russian actors together.

Certainly, how publishers spend their dollars and make platform decisions will be impacted, especially as this continues. Given the broad domains of ad archive – elections, elected officials, and issues of national importance – we are likely to see how things play out over the next few months.

The biggest concern of course, is how this sets Facebook up for another failure in regards to how it handles news, and how this will impact the people receiving that news. And hopefully, we find out before the stakes are too high.

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Quickly delete years of your stupid Facebook updates

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Digital clutter sucks. Save time and energy with this new Chrome extension for Facebook.

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When searching for a new job, it’s always a good idea to scan your social media presence to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure with offensive or immature posts.

In fact, you should regularly check your digital life even if you’re not on the job hunt. You never know when friends, family, or others are going to rabbit hole into reading everything you’ve ever posted.

Facebook is an especially dangerous place for this since the social media giant has been around for over fourteen years. Many accounts are old enough to be in middle school now.

If you’ve ever taken a deep dive into your own account, you may have found some unsavory posts you couldn’t delete quickly enough.

We all have at least one cringe-worthy post or picture buried in years of digital clutter. Maybe you were smart from the get-go and used privacy settings. Or maybe you periodically delete posts when Memories resurfaces that drunk college photo you swore wasn’t on the internet anymore.

But digging through years of posts is time consuming, and for those of us with accounts older than a decade, nearly impossible.

Fortunately, a new Chrome extension can take care of this monotonous task for you. Social Book Post Manager helps clean up your Facebook by bulk deleting posts at your discretion.

Instead of individually removing posts and getting sucked into the ensuing nostalgia, this extension deletes posts in batches with the click of a button.

Select a specific time range or search criteria and the tool pulls up all relevant posts. From here, you decide what to delete or make private.

Let’s say you want to destroy all evidence of your political beliefs as a youngster. Simply put in the relevant keyword, like a candidate or party’s name, and the tool pulls up all posts matching that criteria. You can pick and choose, or select all for a total purge.

You can also salt the earth and delete everything pre-whatever date you choose. I could tell Social Book to remove everything before 2014 and effectively remove any proof that I attended college.

Keep in mind, this tool only deletes posts and photos from Facebook itself. If you have any savvy enemies who saved screenshots or you cross-posted, you’re out of luck.

The extension is free to use, and new updates support unliking posts and hiding timeline items. Go to town pretending you got hired on by the Ministry of Truth to delete objectionable history for the greater good of your social media presence.

PS: If you feel like going full scorched Earth, delete everything from your Facebook past and then switch to this browser to make it harder for Facebook to track you while you’re on the web.

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Tech News

Why are all apps starting to look exactly the same?

(TECHNOLOGY) As apps evolve, they are beginning to look uniform – is this a good or bad thing?

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Have you noticed that all apps are beginning to look a lot alike? Many popular social media apps are utilizing minimalist designs, featuring lots of black and white with negative space and little color.

At a glance, you may not be able to differentiate what’s Airbnb and what’s Instagram. Normally, something like this could be argued to be unoriginal and boring. However, let’s look at the positives.

If every app – for the most part – is operating with the same design, they’re not trying to constantly one-up each other with the next big look. As a result, they have more time to focus on what’s important – the content found on the app and the functions of the app.

While many apps offer similar features (like Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram both having Stories), every social media app has its own flair that keeps users coming back. And, user retention is higher if they feel comfortable using the app – which is another plus of them all having similar designs.

If you have 12 different social media apps with 12 different interfaces and means of operation, it’s unlikely that a user will keep up with all 12. But, if they know exactly how to use them, the user can flip back and forth like it’s nothing.

However, “app fatigue is a real thing,” said Yaz of UX Collective. “Most people have grown tired of bouncing between too many apps or learning how to use a new interface after every new download.”

Below is Yaz’s exploration of the uniformity in apps:

Research has found that a quarter of all apps are deleted after just one use. People tend to stick with the apps that they have found made a positive impact in their lives – either for communication with others or apps that save them time.

Uniformity means developers can spend more of their time on creating the content that will aid in better communication and more time saving options.

Again, what it comes down to is the content and function. That’s where the true creativity comes in. People aren’t using Airbnb because the app or the website are ridiculously exciting; they’re using it because it offers a service that is beneficial.

What are your thoughts on app uniformity? Unoriginal, or a stepping stone for what’s really important?

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