Typosquatting Helps Hackers Steal Sensitive Information Contained in Email

New research has shown how common spelling or punctuation mistakes may make it easier for cyber criminals to steal email containing sensitive information.

Researchers Peter Kim and Garrett Gee from the cyber security outfit Godai Group created doppelganger Web domains of some high-profile companies to test this theory. To everyone’s horror, they managed to gather as much as 20 GB of sensitive information belonging to these companies.

A doppelganger domain is a web domain that looks just like its legitimate counterpart, but with a minor spelling or punctuation error.

And even worse, the companies whose data were intercepted by the two researchers were all Fortune 500 companies.

Apparently, the loophole exploited by the researchers is based on methodology known as "typosquatting" which is used by many hackers. This technique could be devastating when deployed against businesses instead of individuals.

“Doppelganger domains have a potent impact via email as attackers could gather information such as trade secrets, user names and passwords, and other employee information," wrote the researchers in a paper detailing their work, as reported by BBC News.