Internet security blog

Have you been hit by typosquatting?

How scammers use tiny typos to fleece accounts

By Richard Clooke 08/11/2011 15:58
I’m sure that at some point or another, we’ve all mistyped a web address and arrived at a website other than the one we’re expecting.

However, it’s becoming increasingly commonplace for scammers to register domain names that are similar to popular websites – and so trick users who find themselves there through mistyped URLs. It’s called typosquatting and it's coming to a screen near you!

If you find yourselves on a typosquatted site, it will probably look and feel very similar to the original site, but you’ll possibly be encouraged to input your account details on the first screen you encounter.

As we’ve all become more comfortable in our online worlds, we’ve almost become complacent about signing up to various online accounts. But enter your details on one of these sites at your peril! The scammers will then have your password, login details and perhaps even your mobile number and responses to standard security questions.

To test the water, and to examine just how big a threat this is, security consultancy Godai Group recently set up domain names that were variations of legitimate websites or large organisations. Over a six-month period, researchers collected 120,000 individual emails containing sensitive or personal information.

Anyone can be duped into using these doppelganger sites because they look so authentic. Besides, you’d expect large organisations to have some form of security protection, right? Yes, they would on their own site, but not a fake one. Don’t let yourselves become victims here – be vigilant...and typo free!
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