The Tech Herald

Websense warns against 'typosquatting' retail attacks

by Steven Mostyn - Dec 13 2011, 05:11

As the high-value Christmas festivities loom, it’s not just online retailers that are looking to take advantage of the season’s heightened consumer spending.

Moreover, security specialist Websense Security Labs has this week warned that online criminals are creating ‘look-a-like’ retail stores designed to exploit web address typos.

According to Websense, some 2,000 ‘typosquatting’ domains already exist and some of the retailers targeted and mirrored by opportunistic criminals include Argos (argoss), John Lewis (johlewis) and Debenhams (debenahams).

Online shoppers should therefore be aware that these mirror stores lull visitors into a false sense of security before attempting to infect their computer with spyware and phish for personal data.

“Cyber criminals are scary smart at enticing Christmas shoppers to unwanted sites,” said Websense boss Elad Sharf. “Whilst this looks like a consumer problem, typosquatting also puts companies’ confidential data at risk as many employees shop from work computers at lunchtime.”

Beyond taking care to make sure web addresses are typed in correctly, online shoppers and businesses should also ensure that their systems are properly shielded by up-to-date security protection and real-time email and web security.

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