Saturday, 19 April 2014

Typo Squatting: Beware of Typos in Domain Names/URLs

Typo Squatting(TypoSquatting) is a form of cyber squatting which is based on the errors made by users when they enter a web address in a browser. This generally happens with very popular websites which are accessed by a large number of users.

Typosquatters are the people who register such typo websites generally with malicious intent. These typo websites may lead to either Parked Domains, Phishing Websites or Malicious Websites.

Typos are very common and hence typosquatters register a large number of domain names that are typos of popular websites. When a user makes an error while trying to access a website may be lead to a different website than the actual one the use intended to visit. This can result in one of many unpredictable consequences. Hence, TypoSquatting is an important topic in the web/cyber security research/industry. Also, from the internet user's point of view, it is vital to ensure that maximum care is taken in avoiding typos.

There are many reasons/actions which result in typos when entering a web address in the browser or when entering any form of text using a regular keyboard. Among those, two common forms of Typos are:

1. Character Omission Typo: This occurs when a user misses a character while entering a URL. For example, if the user enters while intending to visit, this results in a character omission typo.
2. Character Swap Typo: This occurs when a user accidentally swaps two adjacent characters in a web address. Considering a similar example, suppose the user enters while intending to visit, this results in a character swap typo.

You may use the following Python script to analyze the type and number of typos that may result when trying to access a website. Note that, the following script takes the domain name as input. That is, if the user is trying to access, is called the domain name.

Output of the above script is given below:

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