cybersecurity

Typosquatting on the Rise

Typosquatting can be used to spread malware and scams, but also to defame a well-known person or brand. It involves registering domains with intentionally misspelled names of popular web addresses - and using the fact that people make mistakes when typing them (e.g. "gmial.com" instead of "gmail.com").

Typosquatting is not the most notorious method used by cyber attackers, but it is constant and has been gaining traction before the US presidential election in 2020. Based on 550 typosquats connected to the election researchers such websites into following categories: misconfigured or illegitimate sites, non-malicious, or redirects.

Misconfigured domains, as the name suggests, have not been properly configured and show error messages. Illegitimate and non-malicious typosquat domains promote content related to their name, but not necessarily for the benefit of the person or brand. However, the most common are redirects. These sites will redirect the visitor to scam sites, unwanted and fake Chrome and Firefox browser extensions, fake program updates that install malware, or tech support scams.

Although typosquatting may not seem as a huge threat, all companies should take measures to protect themselves against it. First step is to register similar domains, including misspelled ones, before others have a chance to do so. Secondly, it's advisable to monitor domain registrations for domains similar to their own brands.

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About Ariadna Pawluk

Cybersecurity enthusiast, hunting all the freshest news, insights and tidbits.