Crypto Doxing: The Dark Side of Cryptocurrencies

If you have been involved in the cryptocurrency space then you have probably heard the term doxing. It might sound like a harmless practice but it’s proven extremely detrimental to one of the key ethoses of crypto, privacy. So now you are probably wondering, what is doxing?

Don’t worry, I will be answering that question and much more. So without further ado, let’s jump right in.

Crypto doxing is the process of revealing an individuals personal information. It is usually done without the person’s permission and with malicious intent. 

What is crypto doxing?

Doxing is the process by which an individuals private data is revealed without their permission. It originated as an underground hacking term “dropping docs”. Private information such as name, IP address, phone number, etc, is circulated around the internet.

The intention of doxing is for the victim to suffer negative consequences from the attack. Whether that be getting fired from a job or through public harassment.

Why is doxing so prevalent in crypto?

The cryptocurrency space is dominated by anonymous creators and users alike. Privacy is sacred and rightfully so. For instance, crypto Twitter is represented by a sea of cartoon NFT pictures rather than real profile pictures.

This is usually a means of providing safety or simply part of the culture. As a result, anonymous individuals become a target for bad actors. They can exploit this information for financial gain or to destroy a person’s reputation.

Moreover, in a space rife with hacks doxing is a way of facilitating this process. Hackers use personal information to gain access to users’ accounts and steal their funds. Not to mention, they can use IP addresses to track down individuals and steal their hardware wallets.

That being said, doxing is used as a means to crack down on cyber criminals who hide behind fake identities. For developers, this is particularly relevant. If anonymous teams create a bad product or perform a rug pull they often face little backlash. In turn, community members often dox them so they can be held accountable.

Is it illegal?

Like most legislation, this depends on the country. In the United States doxing is unfortunately not illegal in most cases. It is perfectly fine to share private information through legal means. Personal information can be gathered from the public domain whether that be social media, public databases, or forums. This is all legal.

However, it becomes illegal if perpetrators get access to this information using illegal methods. For instance, the act of hacking someone’s personal device without their permission would be illegal and therefore they would be prosecuted. In most cases, information in the private domain is protected by the law.

Lastly, if they use public information intending to cause harm then this could fall under harassment.

5 ways of protecting against crypto doxxing

VPN – virtual private networks are an excellent way of protecting against crypto doxing. They work by hiding your IP address. This address contains information on your approximate location, therefore it’s imperative to mask this.

Password protection – passwords are the main access point to your accounts. That is why it is vital to use a strong one. The more complex the better. Moreover, you can combine your password with a two-step authenticator and SIM authentication for added security.

Install antivirus software – hackers can infect personal devices with malware to retrieve personal information. Therefore, it is important to use reputable antivirus software to protect against hacks.

Limit the information you share – this is a relatively simple way to prevent doxing. Hackers use information in the public domain to coordinate attacks. They can use your personal information to access your account, whether that be brute force or social engineering. By limiting the available information they have less data to leverage.

Use a hardware wallet – although this won’t protect you from the direct effects of doxing it will protect your crypto against the hacks that may arise because of them. Essentially, a cold wallet is a device shaped like a USB stick. It is used to authorize transactions.

Stealing from a hardware wallet is extremely difficult and often requires physical possession or access to the private keys. If you want to learn about the best hardware wallets check out my review – the best crypto hardware wallets.

Final thoughts

Overall, doxing is a significant problem in the cryptocurrency space. It often results in cyber bullying and illicit attacks. At the end of the day, average users deserve a right to privacy. That being said, it does combat malicious activity, whether it’s morally right is down to interpretation and the circumstances. I hope you found this article useful and thanks for reading.

Want to learn about blockchain oracles? Click here to read my previous article.