Be careful when typing in that bank domain. Research has uncovered over 300 Websites bearing the brand names of the UK's five largest banks that attempt to trick fat-fingered consumers into thinking that they've landed on a legitimate site.
In total, DomainTools unearthed 324 websites - 110 fake HSBC sites, 74 for each Barclays and Standard Chartered, 66 for Natwest and 22 for Lloyds. Web addresses including hsbc-direct.com, barclaya.net, barclays-supports.com and lloydstsbs.com were all discovered as being owned by third parties rather than the banks themselves.
Domains masquerading as legitimate UK bank websites are often used by hackers to trick customers into handing over personal details or login information, or to automatically download malware onto consumer machines.
Kyle Wilhoit, senior security researcher at DomainTools says many of the fake sites will simply add a letter to a brand name, while others will add letters or an entire word such as ‘login’ to either side of a brand name.
“Brands can and should start monitoring for fraudulent domain name registrations and defensively register their own typo variants," he says. "It is better to lock down typo domains than to leave them available to someone else and at an average of £12 per year per domain, this is a relatively cheap insurance policy.”