URL or website domains are becoming increasingly popular. People are buying them along with hosting services to establish websites in regard to their businesses, content creation platforms, or a blog. It has become a part of business, as well as a widely adopted trend. The domain search basically reflects the business outcomes and brand popularity. But, URL purchasing is a whole other business in itself. The higher the domain name is in search, the higher is its selling price. Given the increasing demand for catchy URL and domain names, some extortionists have found a new way to fool people on the internet.
Let’s get down to how Cybersquatting and Typosquatting are used by people to extort money from URL and domain name buyers over the internet:
What is Cybersquatting?
Cybersquatting, in definition, describe the practice of registering names of established businesses or the most famous brand name prospects in advance to sell them at a profit in the near future. Let’s explain cybersquatting with an example to help you understand this practice better. Suppose a person is starting a coffee house in his local area. And he decides to name that particular coffee house as NetCafe. Any businessman would want the website of his business to have the same domain name, which would be www.netcafe.com. However, when that person goes ahead to register that name, he finds that it has already been brought up and is not in use. In fact, the previous buyer is now selling that same domain name for a higher price.
In such a scenario, the businessman would have to give in to get that domain and then administer a website with it, as that domain name search would reflect his brand promotion and popularity. This reselling of a name in order to make profits is termed as cybersquatting. In such cases, cybersquatters are not under any violation. They have been paying for that domain and that is the reason that domain is still intact. But, it does violate some ethical considerations. Cybersquatting act is also termed as URL Hijacking.
What is Typosquatting?
On the other hand, Typosquatting is practiced for far more malicious reasons. Typosquatting refers to the practice of buying URLs similar to those of famous brands and then create malicious templates under them. For example, a typosquatter would register domains such as faceboook.com or goole.com, which are similar to the websites of Google and Facebook. Then that typosquatter would inject a malicious program with this domain or a malicious file on the webpage to be automatically downloaded in case any user is directed to them. So, if you search this domain and load the page, you may fell prey to malware or some kind of computer virus that may jeopardize your system security. Typosquatters generally take advantage of users’ common typographical errors which may lead them to access one of such look-alike URLs. These mistakes can lead Typosquatters to:
- Harvest your credit information and personal details of any kind if saved on the browser.
- Install malware on the system with a command to control infrastructure, ultimately gaining access to your system files.
- Carry out a ransomware attack and then extort ransom from you against apparently returning access to your system.
- Commit frauds in your name using your stolen IDs and personal details, thus, leading to severe legal consequences for you.
- Hack into your different accounts via the saved passwords they’ve obtained through harvested details.
Stay Protected From Typosquatters
One must keep in mind the following points to be safe from typosquatting practices:
- Look out for https extension with the domain. This is proof that the communication between the site and your network is secure and encrypted.
- Do not save your credentials and passwords over the web.
- Do not use similar passwords for multiple logins.
- Before proceeding with the login, check that you’ve entered the correct domain.
- Purchase domains from trusted vendors only. Do not buy hosting and website URLs from an unknown source.
- Refrain from paying out Typosquatters any money in exchange for your preferred URLs. They may misuse your information harvested from transaction details.
Use A Protector Tool To Prevent Malware and Spam
To prevent cybersquatting and typosquatting URLs from harvesting your credentials and account details from the browser via their malicious webpages, you must keep your browser secured in advance. It’s essential that you do not save your passwords on the browser and ensure that all the cookies and your identity traces from your internet activities are removed from time to time.
Advanced Identity Protector is one of the best tools to safeguard your browser activities and secure your internet surfing and prevent danger from malicious websites. Advanced Identity protectors can scan and delete your identity traces of, such as email IDs, credit information, and personal details saved on different sites permanently. This way any cybersquatting and typosquatting URLs won’t be able to harvest any information if you open them by chance in any scenario. To help you manage your saved browser passwords, the Advanced Identity Protector also has an in-built secure vault, wherein you can save passwords to all your login accounts and can lock them up.
With these services, you can prevent dangers posed by typosquatters and cybersquatters to your system and internet privacy. Using Advanced Identity Protector would also help you out in the cleaning of your sensitive information from Windows registries, thus also saving your details in case any malware injected via a typosquatting URL tries to breach your system control and security.
A lot many users tend to contact these cybersquatters and typosquatters to make a deal for a domain name. Since the deals are carried out via online transactions, they end up sharing a lot many details with these malicious people unknowingly. This sometimes backfires and causes further concerns in regard to identity theft and information abuse.
It’s important to know the dangers associated with cybersquatting and typosquatting. It’s always better to choose a different name for your brand. If it’s an established business, try to add a modifier to the website name to change the URL. These practices are always better than paying out to the unknown sellers making profits out of such business. By using a tool and keeping some points in mind you can prevent these dangers and clear yourself off of any attempt made at breaching your system and browser safety.
If you’ve ever faced issues due to cybersquatting or typosquatting of URLs, please let us know of the same in the comments section. We’d appreciate it if you share an experience where you’ve purchased any domain from squatters and let us know if it was ever troublesome.