Blocking Access to Typosquatting Domains


Typosquatting domains take advantage of typos of a brand's name to launch a threat. If you've ever typo'd a domain (like amazan.com) or wound up on a longtail URL using a popular company name (like twitter-plugins-buy-here-now[dot]domain), you've likely encountered a typosquatting domain.

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What is Typosquatting?

Threat actors use typosquatting because they're relying on internet users to make mistakes. You'll mistype a domain name and find yourself on a site that looks like the one you wanted to land on anyway. If you looked closely at the URL you entered, you'd likely realize the mistake. But the goal here is to look identical to the original site it is mimicking.

Typosquatting domains are traditionally used in phishing attacks. Amazon, Microsoft, and banking sites are popular victims of typosquatted phishing domains because they can direct users to login pages they're familiar with and steal their valuable credentials.

Other uses for typosquatting include spreading malware. By using a familiar domain name (often swapping the TLD .com for .info or .top), they can bypass advertiser restrictions and trick end users. These ads often lead to malware, also known as malvertising.

Typosquatting domains may also be used to sell knockoff brands (like Addidas). The possibilities for these copy cat domains are nearly endless, and hackers are using the ability to capitalize on typos to their advantage.

There are over 18,000 phishing domains registered daily

8% of all typosquatting domains go directly to malicious content. 38% are used in ad content that can spread malware.

In the last 6 years, the average cost of a phishing attack has quadrupled and is currently $14.8 million

Typosquatting and Phishing go Hand-in-Hand

Phishing is one of the most common tactics used by hackers to gain access to data. And typosquatting plays an important role in phishing. Large organizations are often targeted with spear phishing campaigns that are personalized for the company’s security team. Threat actors will register domains similar to technology used by those companies, or similar in name to the company itself.

Depending on the attack, it might come from m1cr0soft[dot]com (similar to a vendor you might use) or company-name-here[dot]info (a copy cat version of your own domain name).

Phishing attacks have moved from targeting individuals to going after organizations. That's part of why typosquatting has become important to phishers: They're targeting professionals with some cybersecurity awareness. They need to do everything they can to go undetected.

While large companies with resources are a lucrative target, 1 in 4 data breaches in the US in 2020 involved a small company. Every organization, no matter the size, is at risk.

How can you Stop Typosquatting?

New domains are the biggest threats when it comes to phishing and typosquatting attacks.

With DNS Security, typosquatting domains can be blocked by filtering out malicious websites that have never even been senen before.

Every new link you encounter in the course of the day has the possibility of being a phishing website or other malicious site—especially sites that have only been registered in the last 30 days. You can protect your company and your employees by implementing AI-driven PDNS and blocking new and uncategorized domains, in addition to known phishing sites.

Take a zero-trust approach to cybersecurity, and put your company in a position to minimize the possibility of intrusion. When DNS protection is in place, it can mitigate 33% of all data breaches. It’s a lightweight but powerful layer that will keep your entire organization safe.

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Threats We Block

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Malware

Malware is short for “malicious software” and can be spread in a variety of ways such as forced downloads or malicious ad content. It includes viruses, worms, spyware, ransomware, and trojan horses. The most common way that malware gets onto a computer or other device is through surfing hacked sites. So the best way to protect your company from malware is to prevent your users from ever accessing these sites.

Zero Day Threats

DNSFilter is the best security product to protect against zero-day attacks because our proprietary AI tools are constantly scanning the internet for new sites that could potentially contain scams or malware. DNSFilter detects threats up to 80 hours faster than static threat feeds.

Phishing Attacks

Phishing and spear phishing attacks are a favorite among hackers because they are relatively easy to implement. They use email or chat (such as public Slack channels or Discord) to lure victims into a scam, or more commonly to a link where they will enter data or download malware. Phishing attacks can be broad and general, impersonating institutions like banks or hospitals, or they can be targeted and sophisticated, often impersonating employees inside your own organization. Because DNSFilter is constantly scanning the web for new malicious sites, we can prevent phishing attacks by stopping your employees before they hit a malicious site, or give a phisher their data.

Ransomware

Ransomware is software that allows hackers to encrypt files, networks, and computers remotely. They then hold your data hostage until your company pays a ransom. With the evolution of ransomware in key sectors like healthcare as well as the ubiquity that Ransomware-As-A-Service offers, this threat technique has become one of the top causes of cybersecurity incidents worldwide. In 2020 the average ransomware demand was $233,000 and they now make up around ⅓ of all security breaches. If your company doesn’t pay you risk data loss, or in some cases, data being sold on the darkweb. The key to ransomware protection is stopping the malware from being downloaded in the first place, which usually requires blocking the site that hosts the malicious content before an unsuspecting user can visit it and become infected.

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Cryptojacking

A true 21st century threat, cryptojacking is the unauthorized takeover of a computer or network to “mine” cryptocurrency. Because new currency is created by computers using massive amounts of computing resources computational bandwidth is at a premium. Cryptojacking infects a distributed network of computers to utilize their computational bandwidth, slowing down the device and, at scale, driving up your energy costs. DNSFilter has a robust catalog of known cryptojacking sites, and domains that contain cryptocurrency references can be blocked in a single click.

Typosquatting

Thousands of people type Amazan.com into their browser every day. Turns out, the average internet user isn’t always the best speller. Bad actors take advantage of this by setting up malicious sites with domain names that feature common misspellings of familiar sites. Everyday we seem to discover new “Chase” login pages with an increasingly creative variety of typos (check out the fake sites here). DNSFilter protects the user from typosquatting by blocking access to domains that are known to contain malware or malicious content. Never worry about misspelled domain names again.

Man-in-the-Middle attacks

Have you ever visited a site that just looked off? Middleman attacks create a fake site that mimics a trustworthy brand login, and provides form fields where users enter their password, username, and potentially credit card data. The hacker then absconds with this data, leaving the user confused and exposed. Our AI-tool scans the UX of domains and includes logo matching, identifying when logos are being used on sites where they do not belong, ensuring that man-in-the-middle sites are quickly found, cataloged, and blocked.

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