How a Simple Typo Could Compromise Your Internet Security
Have you ever been in a rush when typing into the address bar of your browser and accidently entered “Facbook.com” or “Fcebook.com” when you mean to access the famous social media site?
It is a very easy mistake to make and many people make typos when trying to access popular websites. However, there are malicious people out there on the internet who have found a way to take advantage of these accidental typos. It is a practice known as typo-squatting and could be a threat to your internet security.
If you are not aware of typo-squatting it is very important to know what it is and how you can avoid falling victim to it.
What is Typo-Squatting?
In order to take advantage of the clumsy fingers of the average internet user, these scammers register all of the common misspellings of popular website domain names. Sometimes these people are simply trying to make money from the traffic to the website through their advertisements, making the only victim the company they are impersonating.
However, sometimes the intent of these websites is much more dubious. The hackers create websites which resemble the real website enough to trick people into entering their personal information. For example, the website might claim that you have won a prize and you need to enter your username, password, address and credit card details in order to claim the prize. Once this information is entered then the hackers can use it to steal your identity and access your private accounts.
These websites can also trick users into downloading malicious “Trojan Horse” software which will compromise the security of your computer and allow the hackers to access your personal files. From this point, they can infect your computer with more malware and even use it for their own illegal purposes. Once these hackers have access to your computer and your personal information it is very difficult to get rid of them and to restore your internet security.
The best strategy is to avoid typo-squatters all together, so here are some helpful tips:
How to Avoid Typo-Squatters
Visiting one of these false websites can be very dangerous for your internet security, so it is important to avoid typo-squatters in every way that you can. First of all, be very careful about what you are typing into the address bar when you are accessing a website. Read it over two or three times to make sure that it is spelled correctly and that you have the right suffix such as .org or .com, etc.
If you do end up on a website which looks suspicious in any way (such as with many pop-up ads or a different looking interface) check it closely before entering any of your personal information, especially your credit card or bank details.
If you are not sure, use a search engine to find the site you are looking for instead. When you type in the institution on Google, Yahoo or Bing they will come up with the legitimate address and the search engine will also have scanned the site for malware to prevent hacking.
Once you have found the right website and you are absolutely certain it is legitimate, you can bookmark it on your browser so that you ensure that you return to the same one every time.
It is also important to have a legitimate and comprehensive anti-virus and internet security program installed on your computer. It will protect you from these sorts of phishing attempts and many malware, spyware or viruses your computer might download.
Mistyping an address into your browser could be a lot more dangerous than you might think! Here are some ways that you can protect yourself from typo-squatters, such as using McAfee total protection.