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Kaspersky releases guide to staying safe from doxing

Kaspersky unveiled a comprehensive anti-doxing checklist, developed by its privacy experts, to help people learn how to handle their data responsibly and avoid privacy headaches. Doxing, the practice of gathering personal information with the purpose of publishing it or otherwise using it to inflict harm, poses a threat to online users of all ages, professions, and backgrounds.

Daily personal tasks, such as sharing and geotagging photos, uploading documents to the cloud, installing apps, and even browsing online retail stores, involve personal data management, whether people realize it or not. Often, it is not clear who may end up with access to the data we share. Your photos from the latest party might surface online without your approval or your child's smartwatch might be broadcasting their live location 24/7.

Kaspersky research shows that this has finally become a mainstream concern. Fifty-seven percent of users, for example, recently expressed worry about their security and privacy being affected by internet-connected devices.

Doxing is made possible because there are so many public channels, such as forums, social media, and application records, where user data gets exposed. However, these risks can be mitigated, and it's not realistic for people to stop using online services. Therefore, digital wellbeing should be a top priority. This is why digital citizens need to learn how to treat personal data online responsibly - similar to how we treat our finances and take care of physical belongings.

Kaspersky privacy experts, with help from external experts, created a short guide that will ease the risks and stress of data loss and diminish doxing potential for a user. The checklist, which is split into three sections, addresses how to treat the data we do and do not control, such as browser activity and application tracking, and other people's data that you may come across. By providing users with the right knowledge and tools to help navigate the internet safely, they can become empowered and experience less digital stress, to enjoy technology, worry-free.

"With our lives being so intertwined with the digital world, it is no wonder that we face online threats so regularly," said Anna Larkina, senior security expert at Kaspersky. "Tools for self-expression can also be used against us, with doxing continuing to gain popularity as a way to punish and hurt people. Unfortunately, it is not possible to control everything that exists online about us, but it is definitely a good idea to take some steps towards that. To keep one's data safe and alleviate the risks, we need to become mindful about who we share our data with and how, and to take certain precautions in order to keep control over it. Those can include installing and managing the right privacy tools, such as password managers or privacy-enabling browser extensions. With this checklist, we hope to provide users with a simple, easy-to-grasp way of keeping their personal data safer - and helping their loved ones do the same."

"Data hygiene is a form of self-care," said Daly Barnett, staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Accepting the reality that there is risk connecting with people, online or off, is a great first step towards a better digital security plan. When we raise the bar on our own digital privacy and security, we are also doing our part to care for others that we connect with. The more we are able to humanize the digital aspects of our lives, the less daunting those first few steps can be towards raising the bar. This checklist is a great place to start."

Learn what doxing is and how to protect yourself and your loved ones from it in Kaspersky's free online course.

Read the "Definitive Checklist: how to protect your data online" here or download a printable version here.

Published Thursday, April 29, 2021 8:56 AM by David Marshall
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