What is Typosquatting?

Typosquatting is the buying up of domain names similar to popular websites with the intent to collect traffic through typos. For example, typosquatters will create websites with names like SprakNotes.com in an attempt to deceive users who try to access the legitimate website SparkNotes.com. Sometimes this is done with malicious intent.

Many typosquatters post inappropriate or deceptive content on these fake sites. Others simply hope you will stumble on their site, rather than immediately accessing the page you're seeking.

A classic example of typosquatting is the controversial Whitehouse.com, which was formerly a pornographic website. Many young students would stumble upon it while trying to access the U.S. government's legitimate site, Whitehouse.gov. Additionally, if you visit Whitehouse.org, you'll find a website devoted to satirizing the presidency of George W. Bush.

Concerns for Parents

Your child could accidentally go to a pornographic or inappropriate website simply by misspelling a website name.

How Can I Keep My Child Safe?

  • Be sure your computer is protected with adequate parental controls and content filters. Filters make an effective safety net for your kids as they search the Web; even if they inadvertently type a website name that would take them to an undesired website, the filter will block the bad website and alert them of the typo.
  • Encourage your children to use links. Clicking on a link will take you to a website without typing in the URL. This means that you'll get to the website you want to see without running the risk of misspelling a Web name. This is easily accomplished by using a search engine such as Google to search for the site you want and clicking on the link in the search results.