cybersecurity

What happens when you mistype?

A small finger slip on the keyboard is enough to be transported to a completely different place than you have wanted. Suddenly, instead of the Gmail login page, an unexpected website appears. Mistyping website addresses may be funny, but it also poses a real threat. Especially, given that over 80% of all possible one-characters variations of Facebook, Google and Apple are registered - and not by the companies themselves.

Registering common misspellings of popular websites is called typosquatting - and it's used by cybercriminals... for what exactly? What happens when we mistype?

Some of such websites are benign - satire or research sites, others are just domains for sale, but there are also competitions and surveys asking for personal information, fake pages or adult content. Interestingly enough typosquatting sites are not full of malware - but typosquatters use a lot of other tricks.

Such spoofed sites may offer a free product if you pay for shipping - this way capturing the credit card data. Or, another popular method, scam visitor into a very expensive subscription. Typosquatters create also false warnings about computer infection, offering an instant "fix" for download - in reality containing malware and infecting the victim's computer.

How to protect yourself against typosquatting, especially during the hottest online shopping period? Apart from up-to-date and trusted cybersecurity solution, it's vital to stay aware. Bookmarking your regular sites, checking the spelling on a URL before hitting enter and being sceptical when a site doesn’t feel right or asks for information you need to protect.

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About Ariadna Pawluk

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