Google Chrome to warn users about typosquat domain names

Spotting fake URLs isn't easy

Google Chrome is going to warn users about domain names that are nearly the same as legitimate names, but not quite. A name that's like a big company's name, except that the letter 'o' has been replaced by a zero, for example. People glancing at a name like that will often overlook the difference and think that they're visiting the company's site, when really it's a fake. It's a trick known in the trade as 'typosquatting'. To protect users, a new test version of Google's browser features lookalike domain warning functionality.

Spotting fake URLs isn't easy 

Last week, Google engineer Emily Stark made a presentation about this subject, and how end users deal with information about URLs. Many people find it very hard to recognise fake URLs. "What people are seeing in the URL bar really just isn’t helpful to them as a security mechanism," said Stark. The Google Chrome development team has therefore decided to introduce warnings in the browser itself.

Tackling phishing and scam sites

Chrome's new functionality will warn users about sites used for phishing and other scams. Users will be able to overrule the warnings, but that'll involve actively clicking them away. "We designed this warning to be informational rather than scary," Stark explained. The system is currently undergoing testing. We don't yet know when it'll be implemented in the production version of Chrome. 

What businesses can do to protect customers

When it comes to stopping scammers using your brand name for phishing, prevention is always better than cure. Our Domain Name Surveillance Service lets you watch out for your brand 24-7. As soon as anyone registers a domain name similar to your brand name or domain name, we'll alert you. You can also use the service to get an idea whether a suspect domain name is being used for phishing or malware. So you can quickly take appropriate action.

Forward planning saves a lot of trouble later: address the threat of brand abuse before your company is even up and running. If you'd like to know more about our Domain Name Surveillance Service, contact our Product Manager Pim Pastoors by calling +31 26 352 5500 of mailing pim.pastoors@sidn.nl

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