What is Typosquatting?
Typosquatting is when a cyber-criminal targets people that type a web address incorrectly, and sends them to an alternate website that may or may not mirror the original website searched for.
Essentially the criminals target individuals making typos, for example e.g. (“Gooogle.com instead of Google.com.”)
Due to the advancement of technology, there are more typos made now than back when the internet became a societal sensation.
There are numerous devices that access the internet such as: smart phones, laptops, tablets, and even smart TVs.
Using internet browsers on these different devices can be very challenging.
Touch screen keyboards are sensitive, small, and the simple mistakes made with “fat fingers” is countless.
Whether you autocorrect or not, you’re definitely bound to have a typing error that typosquatters are counting on.
They’re capitalizing on these common typing errors that people make and that’s when they pounce on the opportunity.
You can unknowingly become a victim of fraud or identity theft and you’re left wondering how.
Here’s an example of how they get you:
A scammer could setup an online store that has a domain called appl.com and make the site look identical to apple.com.
Some users may not notice that it’s a fake site and they end up ordering what they think is a Mac Book Pro.
The scammer will have made a nice profit and you will be stuck with a bill for a computer that you’ll never receive.
If that isn’t enough, these simple errors are allowing these cyber criminals to steal your personal information by setting up sites hosting malware inside them.
The virus will allow them to view accounts that you log into and gives them access to your private information.
Once the criminal has stolen your information, they can act as if they are you and open new accounts, apply for credit, and duplicate any information about you.
The aftermath of a stolen identity is hard to clean up.
It involves numerous phone calls, police report, alerts, and many feel the effects years later.
Children aren’t safe from typosquatting either.
Typosquatters have created landing pages redirecting you to pornographic sites.
Any parent should be concerned as kids are on the internet in the masses as they go online through their video game devices, phones, tablets, and even school computers.
Many are just learning to spell while exploring and if they misspell a word in a website, they may quite possibly be redirected to land on a sexually explicit website.
They aren’t just going after misspellings
Typosquatters are not just counting on your misspelling of website names but also the suffixes as well.
For instance, (“.cm” instead of “.com,” or “.coo” instead of “.com”, “.net” when it is really a “.org”.
All these differences and errors can land you on a typosquatters site.
How you can be proactive
Join in combatting this type of internet hijacking by not clicking on the links on a site you accidently land on.
Take the time to retype the URL in the address bar and go to the correct site.
Be careful to not click on any links because they may have malware that may open up.
Make sure to protect your devices with anti-virus software.
Remember, take your time and read what you type before hitting enter.