What does Dox mean?

To share private information without permission

Dox is the act of publicly revealing someone’s private or confidential information without their approval. For instance, if you disclose a famous actor’s home address on Instagram, that’s doxxing.

The term ‘dox’ came into existence in the early 90s amongst the hacker community and is a short form of “documents.” Here, the term documents signifies a person’s sensitive information that a hacker might obtain and distribute to others. So, when someone dox (or d0x) a person, they’re basically making their personal information available to others, usually the general public.

Although it was a common term among hackers, ‘dox’ didn’t gain mainstream popularity until the 2010s, mainly due to the rapid growth of social media. Examples of doxxing can range from hacking into a pop star’s phone and releasing private photos on the internet, to tracking Jeff Bezos’ private jet on Twitter, or leaking sensitive user information online that was stolen from a corporate database.

Generally, doxxing is seen in a negative light as it involves the distribution of someone’s private information without their consent. Also, the means by which the information is obtained is often unlawful, such as hacking into a personal phone or a corporate database, or breaking into an individual’s home or business.

Regrettably, doxxing often leads to harmful actions. For instance, it could result in stalking, identity theft, theft, threats, and in extreme cases, even homicide.

Example for using ‘Dox’ in a conversation

Hey, did you hear about what happened to that TikTok star?

No, what happened?

Someone doxxed them and shared their private address online!

Oh no, that’s terrible! Doxing is really messed up.