28 Dec 2011

Tying in the wrong website address can be a dangerous mistake

People surfing the web know there are risks online, but many don't realize the danger of typosquatting, or creating a website with an address very similar to another popular website. This fake website could be filled with malware and viruses, so people should have antivirus software loaded and ready to go.

"This year, we noticed that it happened more en masse," Chris Astacio, a security research manager for Websense, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. He pointed out one website looking to target holiday shoppers, saying "this one looked like it was aimed at CyberMonday."

Jeff Gelles, a business columnist for the news source, said a typosquatter for Walmart's website put viruses and malware on the page, according to a Google advisory. Other things that can happen include phishing and landing users into a botnet, a network of computers used to send out spam emails.

Wired said two researchers set up "doppleganger domains" to mimic websites of two Fortune 500 companies and found they were able to get 20 gigabytes of misaddressed email over a half-year. This included password and other sensitive information. People should use internet security precautions and be careful where they go online.