Website spoofing. Doesn’t that sound absurd?
Although we all enjoy a good movie spoof every now and then, spoofing websites isn’t nearly as entertaining.
Domain spoofing, the practice of pretending to be another website, has several potentially harmful applications. And for a developer or coder with fairly basic expertise, it’s pretty easy to do.
Define “website spoofing.”
Spoofed websites, also known as domain spoofing, are fraudulent copies of legitimate websites. A website that closely mimics the original but uses a different domain name is one method of accomplishing this.
Domain spoofing can also be done utilizing the original URL with a fabricated slug. In this way, the domain address, such as Forbes.com, will be right. However, the slug will lead to a non-existing page, for example, /buy-best-coffee-beans.
404Bot is an active ad fraud network that uses this technique to generate fraudulent ad impressions by spoofing legitimate URLs.
With the domain falsified, fraudsters can then force a redirect from the original Site, or devise ways to drive traffic using bots.
These sites frequently mimic the look and feel of legitimate ones, right down to the logo, typeface, and contact details. However, there may be variations in the name or other aspects, such as f0rbes.com, forbes.xyz, or forbes-online.net.
Examples of Spoof Websites
I tried looking up f0rbes.com as an example, and it led me to a sloppy fake site. You’ll notice that the URL is different from the one I typed in and that the site itself is an attempt to mimic the design of the popular British news website Mirror.co.uk.
This is a phishing scam in disguise since the author is peddling a dubious cryptocurrency investment.
If you refresh the browser, you’ll see another fake news story, this time purportedly from the BBC. It concerns Bitcoin once more and requests sensitive information and means of payment.
If you type the full domain into a browser, you’ll get a “page not found” error. Evidently, you’ve stumbled upon a fake website.
Why would you want to fake a website or domain?
Spoofed websites are used for a variety of fraudulent activities, of course. For example:
- Obtaining sensitive information by fraudulent means
- Taking something of value without permission
- Traffic hijacking for the purposes of fraud or cyber assaults
- Pretending a fake website is legitimate
- Spreading malware or spyware
- Using deceptive means to increase ad revenue
- Spoofing attacks are usually used for data breaches, or even as a precursor to DDoS or ransomware attacks.
Dynamic ARP inspection can help prevent these attacks by ensuring that only valid ARP traffic is being transmitted. It can also help strengthen your network’s defenses by cutting down on the entry points that hackers have.
One of the most prevalent ways to use faked websites is phishing, usually by linking from within an SMS text message or email. The user trusts that they have reached the legitimate website and enters their personal information after making that assumption.
Spoofed websites are frequently used in ad fraud, a common and lucrative cybercrime. False publishers create spoofed domains to host banner or video ads, and then use bot traffic to artificially inflate the number of views and, by extension, the payout for the ads.
Malware like the DrainerBot campaign is a major source of ad fraud. This stealthy bot was installed as malware in the background of users’ apps and operated undetected. It will create views and impressions of video and banner adverts on counterfeit websites without the consumer’s awareness.
One element of domain spoofing is creating phony email addresses, called email spoofing.
Scammers often use social engineering to trick their victims into parting with money.
After a data breach, email spoofing is another possible outcome. If your website has been compromised, such as through a DDoS assault, then it’s possible that your corporate emails have been compromised and are being used to spam others.
A possible indication of an ongoing security breach or part of an attack to steal your user data.