A method used in domain impersonation attacks, combosquatting aids the threat actor by using a modified domain name to further increase the credibility of an attack.
If you aren’t familiar with the term combosquatting, it’s where a threat actor takes a legitimate domain – let’s use companyco.tld and combine another phrase with the domain name to create something like support-companyco.tld. The use of additional words help establish context for a phishing scam or simply are benign enough to be ignored by recipients, according to a new keyword analysis of domain names by threat researchers at Akamai.
The goal is, should the recipient glance at the domain name, it appears to jibe with the phishing campaign’s theming. So, if it’s an attack purporting to be Paypal, using a domain like wwwpaypal-com.[info] with a cursory glance by a non-vigilant user may actually pass muster.
According to Akamai, the use of the term support is most often used – likely as the foundation of an attack aimed at either obtaining credentials or credit card details by convincing the victim that there’s a problem with their account on whatever website the scam is pretending to be from.
This technique is the very reason users need to undergo continual Security Awareness Training. Without it, they will give the sender domain only a cursory glance (and assume it’s legitimate despite how awful the domain name looks), or completely skip checking the sender domain altogether and take them at their word.