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Imagine if you will: there’s a knock at your door. “Pizza delivery!” It’s the fifth time in the last hour that you’ve had to say to a delivery-person: “No, I really didn’t order anything.” By now you know someone is pranking you.
Half an hour later, there’s another knock at the door. This time it’s a heavily armed and aggressive special response unit of your local police force. They’re responding to a tip of a domestic disturbance and shooting at your address.
Why is all this happening? Turns out, you’ve come to the attention of a cluster of mischief makers who thrive on harassing people online.
You’ve been “doxxed”. Your private information has been posted, perhaps by an anonymous imageboard user, who’s implored others to “do with it as you will”.
These sorts of internet-enabled attacks have become more frequent in recent years. In fact, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been cautioning citizens about “swatting” (see below) since 2008.