1. What is typosquatting?
Typosquatting is the process of registering a domain name that is typo squatted by another trademark. This can be done for various reasons, such as to sell the domain at a higher price to the owner of the trademark or to sell advertising on it. The term derives from ‘typo’ when someone accidentally enters incorrect characters when typing a website address, and ‘squatting’, that is occupying something that doesn’t belong to you.
2. Types of typosquatting?
There are many types of typosquatting:
1) URL typosquatting:
URL typosquatting is the most common type of typosquatting and exists when a user enters an incorrect Uniform Resource Locator (URL) into a web browser. The URL requested, as well as the IP address of the web server can be easily guessed by just misspelling a few characters in the domain name. URL typosquatting is a serious problem with respect to SEO since search engines do not automatically filter out URLs that have been typo squatted and may therefore display incorrect or competing services in their results pages.
2) DNS typosquatting:
DNS typosquatting uses an incorrect configuration of the domain name servers to redirect traffic intended for one website to another, unintended site.
3) Subdomain typosquatting:
Subdomains can also be typo squatted and therefore misused, especially when a company has standardized on a particular subdomain (e.g. www.) that is then typo squatted.
4) Hostname typosquatting:
Hostnames are also sometimes typo squatted, for instance in URLs that include the hostname or in email addresses.
3. How to protect yourself from typosquatting?
1) Recognize and avoid possible typo squatted sites:
One way to protect yourself from typosquatting is to recognize and avoid possible typo domains by using the Address Bar. For example, when you type “Gmail”, your web browser recognizes that this might be a misspelling of “Gmail” and displays the correct website in your browser. However, this feature is not enabled by default and you may have to change your browser settings in order to use it. Another approach is to install typo correction plugins that will automatically replace the typo squatted domain with the correct one.
2) Report possible typosquatting sites:
Another way to protect yourself from typosquatting is to report typosquatting sites. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has a website for reporting typosquatting: http://acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_120632.