Typosquatting, also known as URL hijacking, is an exploit in which someone intentionally exploits a user’s fat fingering error by registering a domain or website with an intentional misspelling of a commonly used domain or website name. For example, instead of visiting example.com, a typosquatter may register examle.com. This malicious practice can be used to collect data such as login information, or even to redirect visitors to malicious websites that may contain viruses, malware, or other malicious software.
Typosquatting is usually practiced by registering a domain or website with an intentional misspelling of a widely used domain or website name. These intentional misspellings may be as simple as leaving out a single letter, or adding an extra letter. Typosquatting is a form of online fraud and can be used to redirect unknowing visitors of the legitimate domain or website to malicious websites that may contain viruses, malware, or other malicious software.
Typosquatting is a relatively new phenomena and relies on user error for its success. Common targets of typosquatting are domains belonging to celebrities and high-profile personalities, as these are among the most commonly misspelled terms. Businesses with recognizable brand names are also popular targets, as well as those with existing typosquatting vulnerabilities such as common misspellings.
To protect against typosquatting, organizations should take steps to register and protect their domain and website names with variations of popular and commonly misspelled spellings. Additionally, website filtering software can be employed to target known typosquatting domains and prevent users from visiting malicious websites.