Cybersquatting and Typosquatting

Cybersquatting or URL Hijacking simply means squatting or sitting on the cyber or domain name of someone else. It involves buying website URLs of popular business names or trademarks so that they can resell it at a cost. Typosquatting, on the other hand, makes use of common typing mistakes when typing the domain name of popular websites in the address bar to extract information by fake websites.

In short, Cybersquatters register domain names containing trademarked terms, with a view to making an illegal profit from them or to misuse it, whereas Typosquatters register domain names using misspelled words or large popular websites, with malicious intent.

What is Cybersquatting?

Cybersquatting or URL Hijacking is buying domain names of popular business names so that they can resell it in the future at a cost. Cybersquatting involves registering website URLs of already established businesses that do not have a related website.

For example, if Apple did not have a website, cybersquatters registered[.]com so that when Apple wanted to create a website in its name, it has to pay the cybersquatter and buy the website URL.

In such a case, Apple cannot have a different website because customers will obviously think that Apple’s website will be[.]com. This will cause damage to the brand’s reputation and its customers could be misled to the false website, therefore, Apple will have to buy back the URL from the cybersquatter.

What is Typosquatting

These are the most dangerous kinds – often used for Phishing. People make typographical errors while typing in the address bar. If someone wants to benefit from a well-known reputation, he or she will buy domains looking like the genuine URL but actually contains a typo.

For example, to fool people, someone might buy or because already exists and is popular amongst career-minded people. There can be a that looks like but has an extra ‘o’.

The intention in typosquatting is always harming people – stealing their identities and making profits while with cybersquatting, some of the cases might be genuine. Users might not have known about a company in some other part of the world and might have bought related URL. The user may or may not sell back the URL in innocent cases. But typosquatting is deliberate planning to skim Internet users.

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