Online campaigns bedevilled by typos

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Cyber squatters are making a fortune out of the US election.

With both main candidates relying on online campaigns to push out their messages, a huge industry has arisen based on users typing in the wrong address.

Insecurity expert Oliver Friedrichs, director of emerging technologies at Symantec's security response unit, said that "typo squatting" outfits were buying up rights to Internet addresses with candidates' names misspelled and using them to malign, mock or steal from contenders.

Symantec found that that 47 out of 160 variations on "" were being "typo-squatted." One squatter's web page featured a legitimate Obama ad which had been sold through Google.

Some of the sites contained malicious software which was designed to attack supporters of a particular campaign.

The software could target candidates, cause confusion, pop-up ads, or re-direct computers when they try to log on to a candidate's website.

Mostly however the best way for typo-squatters was to create realistic looking campaign websites and take donations, keeping the cash and using credit card information for further fraud.

Some online donations could even end up in the coffers of the rival with out the victim knowing. (c) 2010 Incisive Media

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