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Doxing (spelling variant doxxing) is an abbreviation of document tracing, the Internet-based practice of researching and publishing personally identifiable information about an individual.[1][2][3][4] The methods employed in pursuit of this information range from searching publicly available databases and social media websites like Facebook, to hacking, and social engineering. It is closely related to cyber-vigilantism, hacktivism, and cyber-bullying.


Doxing may be carried out to aid law enforcement,[5] extortion, coercion, harassment, public shaming, and other forms of vigilante justice.[6]

Notable examples[edit]


Main article: Anonymous (group)

The term "dox" entered mainstream public awareness through media attention attracted by Anonymous, the Internet-based group of hacktivists and pranksters who make frequent use of doxing,[7] as well as related groups like AntiSec and LulzSec.

In December 2011 Anonymous exposed detailed information of 7,000 members of law enforcement in response to investigations into hacking activities.[1]

Human flesh search engine[edit]

The Chinese Internet phenomenon of the "Human flesh search engine" shares much in common with doxing. Specifically, it refers to distributed, sometimes deliberately crowdsourced searches for similar kinds of information through use of digital media.[8][9]


Journalists with the Westchester County newspaper The Journal News were accused of doxing gun owners in the region in a story the paper published in December 2012.[10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ryan Goodrich (2 April 2013). "What is Doxing?". Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  2. ^ James Wray and Ulf Stabe (2011-12-19). "The FBI’s warning about doxing was too little too late". Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  3. ^ Zurcher, Anthony. "Duke freshman reveals porn identity". BBC, United Kingdom. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  4. ^ S-W, C. "What doxxing is, and why it matters". The Economist, UK. 
  5. ^ Bright, Peter (2012-03-07). "Doxed: how Sabu was outed by former Anons long before his arrest". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  6. ^ Clark Estes, Adam (2011-07-28). "Did LulzSec Trick Police Into Arresting the Wrong Guy? - Technology". The Atlantic Wire. Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  7. ^ "Anonymous's Operation Hiroshima: Inside the Doxing Coup the Media Ignored (VIDEO)". 2012-01-01. Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  8. ^ Fletcher, Hannah (June 25, 2008). "Human flesh search engines: Chinese vigilantes that hunt victims on the web". The Times. Archived from the original on March 4, 2009. 
  9. ^ Branigan, Tania (March 24, 2010). "How China's internet generation broke the silence". The Guardian. 
  10. ^ The Daily Dot - Lawyer doxes 50 journalists who doxed gun owners
  11. ^ Danger: Media Adopting Anonymous's 'Doxing' Tactic