Typosquatting Threat on Cryptocurrency Wallets: How It Works and User Protection Awareness
Most people agree that one of the major reasons why cryptocurrency has progressed and spread as much as it currently has is the iron-clad security features the blockchain technology has. However, as with anything else, there might be a few ways to circumvent security or at least take advantage of a user’s mistakes, which could do lasting damage.
One of such methods is typosquatting and while this isn’t a cryptocurrency problem alone, it has the potential to hit the crypto sector very hard.
A website URL is probably as unique as a human fingerprint. No two people can ever have the same patterns on their fingers. It is in this exact way that it is entirely impossible for two websites to have the exact same address. However, sometimes while trying to visit a website, we type out these URLs into browser address bars and hit one or two wrong letters accidentally. People who engage in the typosquatting scam constantly try to take advantage of these mistakes.
Most of the time, what these people do is to anticipate possible mistakes from misspelling a particular domain name and then they create a completely identical website with that misspelled name. So, when an unsuspecting person types in a mistake, they don’t realize they have made a mistake because an actual website does pop up which looks exactly like the one they intend to visit. If the website is an exchange firm where a user’s crypto is stored, they could potentially surrender key security information to scammers and lose all their funds.
Why Is There Now More Attention Paid To Typosquatting?
The typosquatting scam has been around for a long time, maybe as long as the internet has been available. However, even though no one can say exactly when it started, a lot of noise is now being made due to a recent story which spread last month, about a supposed scammer who used typosquatting to make away with quite a handsome amount of money.
The bad part is that no one caught onto it until the scammer revealed it on his/her own. The scammer used typosquatting to create an identical site to the popular Binance.com and was able to steal a whopping sum of at least 200 Bitcoin through a period that spanned about four years. This particular scammer then proceeded to leave a message for everyone scammed with a heading that read “You have been scammed!” before announcing retirement.
How Bothered About Typosquatting Should People Be?
Generally, people are really not as aware of typosquatting as they ought to be. One of the reasons attributed to this is that typosquatting is something that’s a lot more common on the darkweb.
The World Wide Web has a part of it called the Deepweb. This deepweb is generally unreachable for most users of the internet because to access it, you need specific software. Also, search engines like Google will not show you content from the deep web so it’s possible for a person to actually live through their whole lives without ever coming in contact with it.
The deep web usually has certain servers that need heavy protection either for institutions or the government. It is this deep web that has the darknet as a part of it. The darknet allows its users as much concealment as they want and is mostly used for illegal transactions. The reason why typosquatting might be more used on the darkweb is that the addresses there are a bit more intricate than regular, making it easier for a user to make a mistake. This high risk of making a mistake is why typosquatting will thrive there.
Generally, people should always be careful especially when visiting sites that require personal login security information because there always is a chance that it’s a scam.
Defending Yourself From Typosquatting
Typosquatting or not, you should always form the habit of reporting any sign of an online scam to the relevant powers for swift action. This is so that you or others don’t fall victim in the future. Another step that could be taken is to use search engines to visit these websites instead of typing out the URLs yourself. Typing it could make you prone to mistakes but when you use a search engine, you’re almost completely sure to hit the right site.