Do you know what typosquatting is? Have you ever accidentally misspelled a web address and ended up on a webpage where you didn’t want to be? That’s the result of typosquatting. Typosquatting is the practice of businesses and cybercriminals to create webpages with addresses that include the misspelling of popular websites in order to get you to visit their site. For example, if you wanted to visit “apple.com” or “Google.com” and typed “abpple.com” or “Gooble.com”, you might end up at a site that is trying to sell you something other than Apple products or Web search results, contain adult content, or worse, possibly inject malware onto your computer.
Many of these sites are not malicious. They’re just website owners that are taking a less than honorable tact to get visitors to their pages. Still…an inconvenience to the person who fumble-fingered the address of the site he/she desired to visit. However, about 5% of the sites, according to a Sophos Security article, fall into the categories of Cybercrime and Adult & Dating. The additional categories of sites you might land on are: Ads & Popups 15%; IT & Hosting 12%; and Search 6%. And while ads, popups, hosting and search sites are a pain, I’m concerned about the Cybercrime and Adult content sites we on which we might land.
I’d hate for a child to happen upon adult content in one of these typosquatter sites. That’s just morally wrong, let alone illegal. But I’d be offended, as an adult, if I were taken to such a site without my permission.
What concerns me most is the Cybercrime sites that will infect your computer, steal your bank account clean, steal and sell your identity…have I missed anything? Oh, yes…possibly crippling your PC, rendering it inoperable.
Here are some tips on what to do to help avoid being the victim of typosquatting.
- Try to avoid typing in the website address (URL),
- by copying and pasting it into your browser’s address box;
- by using bookmarks or favorites of a previously visited site;
- If you have to type the website address, use a search engine to find the site for you, and if you mistype it, you’ll not land on the typosquatting site, you’ll get a search list that you can evaluate.
As always, I appreciate your comments on this subject…so please do. And be careful out there…it’s extremely dangerous these days.
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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.