Typosquatting is much more sinister than a simple typo when messaging your friends.
Typos are small mistakes made while writing on a phone or computer, such as writing “teh” instead of “the” or accidentally typing a number instead of a punctuation mark.
What is Typosquatting?
Typosquatting, also known as URL hijacking, sting sites, and fake URLs, is a type of social engineering attack that targets internet users who incorrectly type a URL into their web browser rather than using a search engine. Typically, it involves tricking users into visiting malicious websites with URLs that are common misspellings of legitimate websites.
They might send you to go0gle.com instead of google.com; of course, real typosquatters tend to be a little more clever and try to go unnoticed.
Typosquatting might use something like:
- Common misspelling
- Pluralizing a singular or vice versa
- Changing the top-level domain (.org instead of .com)
- A foreign spelling or name for the domain (U.K. grey versus American gray)
Cyber criminals may create fake websites that resemble the original to deceive visitors. Be cautious when entering personal information, double-check URLs, and ensure the sites you visit are secure.
How This Plays Out in Real Life
At its core, typosquatting preys on user errors when entering website domains.
An example of typosquatting is when a person registers a domain name similar to a popular website’s but with a minor typo. For instance, a typosquatter may register “gooogle.com” instead of “google.com” hoping that users will mistype and end up on their site instead. Once users land on their site, the typosquatter may deceive them into giving away their personal information or downloading malware.
This type of cyber-attack seems a popular choice among cybercriminals due to its low cost and low-risk nature. It is an effective way to target unsuspecting people, who tend to be careless while typing website addresses.
How can you protect yourself from typosquatting?
- It is essential to be cautious while typing website addresses. Always make sure to double-check the address before pressing the enter key.
- Use a password manager to generate and securely store complex passwords for all your online accounts.
- Be cautious of any emails or pop-ups that request personal information. Legitimate websites will never ask for sensitive information via email or pop-up.
- Keep your operating system and software up to date. This will help to protect you from malware attacks.
Cyber threats are everywhere on the internet, and many types of attacks can harm you. Unsurprisingly, human error accounts for 95% of these attacks, which often begin with a simple mistake like a typo. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’ve accessed a trusted website when in fact, you’ve landed on a fraudulent site that’s just one letter off. If you’re not careful, you could unwittingly give away sensitive information like your login details. That’s why it’s crucial to stay vigilant online and double-check the website address before entering personal information.
To maximize their reach and trap as many victims as possible, most typo squats emulate the URLs of major organizations such as Microsoft, Apple, and Google. However, they may also attempt to deceive you with lesser-known platforms, which can be very effective for spear-phishing.
It is important to remember that the best way to protect yourself is through education and awareness. The more you know about the potential dangers on the internet, the easier it will be to identify warning signs and take appropriate precautions. Doing so can safeguard your personal information and maintain your privacy.
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We offer a range of services that include cutting-edge software and hardware solutions, training programs, and policy implementation. Our highly experienced advisors are available for a free and private consultation to discuss your concerns, which could provide you with valuable insights. Don’t wait any longer to take action – schedule a consultation by clicking here or contact us a call at (502) 320-9885.