Typosquatting

Before you know about typosquatting, you need to make sure that you have enough knowledge about social engineering. This is a technological defense that cybercriminals are using for transferring money, collecting sensitive information, and other activities. This can be used in both ways online and offline.

Typosquatting is a social engineering attack that targets the internet user who has typed the wrong URL to their web browser while using search engines. It involves tricking users into visiting malicious websites with URLs, and it has the common misspelling of the legitimate website. Users can track the sensitive details by entering the fake website. Here organization will become victimized, and this site will get damaged.

Hackers will make you feel that the site you are attempting everything is correct, and you can use your personal information like bank details, credit card, etc. in the portal. You will also feel that it is a well-optimized landing page that generates high revenue streams for the business owner.

Table of Contents

FAQ
How does this Typosquatting work?
Types of Typosquatting
How to protect yourself against typosquatting?
Preventions
Final thought

FAQ

1.What is the concept of typosquatting?

As a form of cybercrime known as “typosquatting” or “URL hijacking,” people register domain names that sound similar to popular websites but have misspellings or other typos.

The tactic depends on the fact that people often make typos when they type addresses into their browsers. Think of a typosquatter who registers “exampel.com” instead of “example.com” as an example.

Unwary visitors run the risk of falling victim to phishing efforts, virus distribution, and identity theft scams when they visit these bogus sites inadvertently.

In order to trick consumers into giving their money or downloading viruses, typosquatting takes advantage of the credibility and good name of real brands.

2.How can typosquatting attacks be prevented?

Organizations and users must work together to prevent typosquatting assaults. By registering popular domain name misspellings, companies may protect their brands from malicious use.

A solid copyright and trademark strategy to fight infringing domains can help deter typosquatters. Users can block dangerous sites by installing trusted security software with anti-phishing and web-filtering tools.

Users should also double-check URLs before entering sensitive information and bookmark regularly visited sites to avoid inputting typos. Employee and community education on typosquatting and website authenticity can reduce the threat of these attacks.

3.Is typosquatting illegal?

Typosquatting is complicated by the intent and use of the registered domain. Typosquatting is prohibited in many jurisdictions when it infringes on trademark rights, deceives consumers, or is used for fraud, phishing, or malware.

The US Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) allows people to be prosecuted for registering domain names that are confusingly similar to trademarks or famous names to profit from their goodwill.

Bad faith intent and trademark infringement are difficult to prove. Typosquatting lawsuits must prove that the squatted domain name is confusingly similar to a trademarked term, that the registrant intended to profit from it, and that the trademark was unique or renowned at the time the domain was registered.

How does this Typosquatting work?

A common person should not use their personal information with multiple sites than their online account will be at risk. To some extent, typosquatting creates confusion or simply human error; those are below:

  1. Typos: This is a very common error where while entering search information due to fast typing, some mistakes happen. Especially those who usually type very quickly, mainly rely on autocorrect, and become the victim of the domain.
  2. Spelling errors: Sometimes, the user will not know the spelling of the brand name at that time also, these can happen. Due to this reason, many businesses get misspelled variants with their site name and go to different home pages.
  3. Alternative spelling: It acts like an option where everyday product names and services have the potential can confuse visitors.
  4. Hyphenated domains: In addition, the domain name can be the reason for confusion. You always need to remember that you need to understand the genuine site and install the typosquatting.
  5. Wrong domain ending: Domain ending will be different for the different countries like .com, .cn, .co.uk, etc. If we talk about the organization then, it is .com, .web,.org,.shop, etc. These all create the scope for typosquatting. So only this is important for the website operator to register with the top-level domain to prevent falling into the wrong hands. Typosquatters is a top-level Columbian domain, which is similar to TLD and .com.
Typosquatting
Image Source: Anamoli

Types of Typosquatting:

Typosquatting domain includes:

  1. Imitators: This is a scam where a website passes into a real thing and makes the site correctly. If the site emulates a well-known bank, it will adopt that particular bank’s logo, page layout, and color scheme. This site is mainly made to host the phishing scam and gather all wrong login credentials with personal data.
  2. Bait and switch: The fake website’s purpose is to sell something to you that has the correct URL. There should be some digital purchases that make it difficult to dispute the credit card with the credit card statement. Since this is the fake buyer will not receive any item, but they would have paid for it.
  3. Related search result listings: The business owner thinks the actual meaning of the traffic is their customers, and they charge as the cost-per-click base.
  4. Monetize traffic: Usually, fake website owners allow advertisements and pop-ups to generate revenue from the web page visitors.
  5. Surveys and giveaways: The fake site always shows that it is gathering the customer’s feedback but in reality, it collects the customer’s information and data to steal.
  6. Affiliated links: A fake site always redirects the traffic back where the band gets through with an affiliated link to earn the commission from all the purchases via the brand’s legitimate program.
  7. Install malware: A malicious website installs the malware on the visitor’s device.
  8. Joke sites: These types of sites are especially very ridiculous where users intend to visit and the main intention is to take revenge.

How to protect yourself against typosquatting?

As an individual, you can always minimize the risk instead of falling trap or become the victim. According to Sophos report, Microsoft’s typosquats were at 61%, Twitter 74%, Facebook 81%, Google 83%, and Apple at 86%.

Preventions

  1. You need to avoid clicking on unexpected emails, chat messages, text messages, and unknown websites. You also need to be very careful while clicking any link that you get from social media. If you have any doubts, then you should avoid clicking.
  2. You have to avoid opening every email, especially when you are not sure about the sender and source.
  3. It is suggested that you use antivirus software to protect and monitor your system against malware. Many cybersecurity programs can help you to detect the threats and provide the extra protection from malware.
  4. You need to see all the links and carefully inspect all the URLs before clicking on them. You also need to observe if any extra or missing words, wrong spelling, suffixes, etc.
  5. If you want to be safe, you can bookmark your favorite site to visit those easily with safety and you will not have any mistakes.
  6. You can also navigate your way where you can search them via the search engine.
  7. You can also use voice recognition software so that you can get the popular URLs quickly.
  8. Those URLs that you use daily particularly you can set it to the browser and use that daily.
  9. You can use the safe search tool instead of typing URLs directly.

Final thought

We hope the above information can help you to get the correct solution for you. Before you get to attack it is better that you take off prevention because prevention is better than cure.

Divya is a Senior Journalist at Cyber Security news covering Cyber Attacks, Threats, Breaches, Vulnerabilities and other happenings in the cyber world.