Attack of the Typo-Squatters!!
You already know that typos are an incredibly frustrating nuisance – but did you know scammers are counting on you to make them — and are ready to pounce if you slip up when entering a misspelled web address into your browser.
How It Works.
“Typo-squatters” (that’s right, typo-squatters) purchase and set up a fraudulent websites that are a close misspelling of legitimate ones. Example: www.faceboook.com (extra “o”) or www.dropbox.net (instead of .com).
All you have to do is accidentally fat-finger ONE letter in the URL and up pops a very legitimate look-alike site – mirroring the one you were trying to access – with perilous login and links capable of installing malware, stealing sensitive personal and financial information, or even locking up your computer with one keystroke. Since these malicious sites are registered, your browser doesn’t see the typo as an error, so it makes the connection.
How To Protect Yourself.
Try these Five Important Tips on for size:
Tip #1: Always double-check the URL address. Before hitting enter, make sure you did not make a mistake. Taking the time to do so can save you the heartache of having your identity stolen.
Tip #2: Bookmark your favorite websites. Once you are sure the address you entered is correct, bookmark it. Doing this is particularly worthwhile for websites with access to your financial data.
Tip #3: Use a search engine. When in doubt, use a search engine rather than guessing the web address. Even then, be careful.
Tip #4: Be wary of links found in social media posts. They can often lead to typo-squatters.
Tip #5: If you discover that you have visited a typo-squatter’s site and you entered passwords on that site, change them right away.
Last, but not least, talk to your IT services provider about installing a web gateway security product that BLOCKS sites that are suspicious and fraudulent. That way, even if you click on a link to a phishing site, get directed to an infected site or accidentally type in the wrong URL, the site will be blocked, protecting you and your employees.
To learn more about web gateway security products, please contact Todd Gooden at firstname.lastname@example.org.