URL Spoofing

A spoofed URL is a fake link that has been made to look legitimate, in order to trick you and steal your data. Sometimes, just clicking on a spoofed URL is enough to infect your device with malware. Other times, the website will be designed to look identical to one you trust, so you'll have the confidence to enter sensitive information and credentials such as your email, password or home address. However, your data will instead be sent directly to the hacker, who can then use it for financial gain and data and identity theft.

Spoofed websites need traffic in order to work. As such, they are usually distributed via phishing attacks - usually links sent by emails or SMS to thousands of people. The link will usually be accompanied by a message claiming that there's a great value deal or discount to be had - in order to encourage you to click on the link. So keep an eye out for news about the latest scams and attacks - offers that are too good to be true usually are.

There are a few URL spoofing tricks that hackers use:
Malicious Hyperlinks: These will be linked to buttons or words in phishing emails - the aim is to get you to click, so that you will be redirected to a malicious website which can then install a virus or malware on your device. These are relatively easy to spot - simply hover over hyperlinked text or right click on it to see the URL.

Misspelled Links: Hackers will design emails to look like they come from trusted sources. It’s enough for hackers to change only one character to register a new domain - so watch out for misspelled links, as this is a strong indication it's another phishing email.

Non-Latin Characters
These URLs are especially challenging to detect - now that new scripts can be used to register domains, cyber criminals can use non-latin characters to create spoofed URLs using accents, glyphs etc. Although some letters look just like their Latin counterparts, the internet will recognize them as entirely different characters, and will allow hackers to register a new domain - so you will enter a malicious site without realizing, instead of a legitimate one.

URL Shorteners
Another spoofing method is using URL shorteners e.g. bit.ly. Short links are a great solution for social media sites that limit characters - but threat actors can use these link shorteners as well, so be aware! You won't know from a shortened link where you're headed until you get there.

Related Topics

More information on URL Spoofing:

Go To Blog