Election Security Spotlight – What Is Doxing?

An Overview of Doxing

Doxing (sometimes spelled “doxxing”) occurs when an individual’s private information is made public, typically on the internet. Doxing is used to harass individuals, such as by posting someone’s address online and sparking protests outside their target's home. Information released to dox someone can be from public/private databases, hacking, stolen data, or social engineering. Individuals or groups may willingly decide to post personal information online, knowing that people who see it will use it to harass or embarrass affected individuals either online or in person.

How Doxing Impacts Election Offices

Election officials have increasingly been the victims of doxing. Private addresses, phone numbers, and emails are posted online, leading to officials being inundated with threats and other harassing messages. This constant stream of harassment has led election officials to leave their positions, with many citing the toll the harassment has taken on themselves and their families. Addresses of election officials and election offices have also been posted online by those looking to generate protests outside of these locations.

What You Can Do

  • Use multi-factor authentication on your accounts as an added layer of security to prevent attackers from accessing your accounts and leaking information.
  • Adjust your social media settings.
  • Use strong passwords. Vary usernames and passwords across multiple social media platforms.
  • Limit the amount of personal information you post online, and audit previous posts for information that could be used to target you.
  • If you receive communication that you deem threatening, harassing, or that causes you to fear for your safety or the safety of those around you:
    • If you feel you are in immediate danger, call 911.
    • Report it to the FBI in one of the following ways:
      • Contact information for your state’s Election Crimes Coordinator has been provided to all state and territorial election offices. Please get in touch with your state election office for more details.
      • Contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324). Press prompt 1, then prompt 3.
      • File an online complaint at tips.fbi.gov
  • Contact Google to have personal/doxed information removed from Google Search. (Note: This will not remove the content from the internet entirely.)
  • Review the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency's (CISA) “Security Resources for the Election Infrastructure Subsector.”