Cyber-criminals are abusing multilingual character sets, to get people to visit phishing websites.
Non-English characters to allow the crooks to create the “look-alike” sites with domain names that are nearly indistinguishable from legitimate ones.
Farsight Security scam sites posing as banks, loan consultants, and children Lego brand and Haribo.
Smartphone users are most at risk, such as small screens and to make look-alikes also more difficult to locate.Targeted attack
The Farsight Security report looked at more than 100 million domain names that use non-English character sets – introduced to make the network more familiar and usable for non-English-speaking nations – and found about 27% of them had been created by the crooks.
Also, discovered more than 8,000 separate characters that could be exploited to confuse people.
Farsight founder Paul Vixie, who wrote much of the software at the base of network domain names, told the BBC: “Each letter may be represented by more than 40 different variants.”
And many of the internationalized versions only added a small patch or a sign that it was not easy to see.
Eldar Tuvey, founder and head of the security company Wandera, said he has also seen an increase in phishing domains, using different ways of training character.
In particular, had seen an almost doubling of the number of scam domains created using an encoding system called punycode in the last few months.
And phishing gangs were using messages sent via mobile to entice people to click on the similar-looking links.
“They are targeting specific groups,” Mr Tuvey said.
And research had established people were three times more likely to fall for a phishing scam submitted on their phone.
“Phish someone, only to deceive once,” Mr Tuvey said. “By getting them to install malware is a lot more work.”