Oct 16, 2019

"Typosquatting" is a problem for 2020 candidates

Screenshot via Billdebiasio.com

2020 candidates face around 550 websites that aim to "typosquat" — or provide unintended content via a misspelling — their campaigns, according to a new report from Digital Shadows.

How it works: Users who go to Tulsi2020.co rather than Tulsi2020.com would find themselves redirected to a political rival's page — in this case, Marianne Williamson's — but the tactic can be used for a wide variety of purposes.

The big picture: Around 68% of typosquatted sites redirect to some kind of incorrect page. They can send users to a rival campaign, toward malicious browser extensions or other such surprises.

  • Elizibethwarren.com will take you to President Trump's campaign page.
  • If you misspell WinRed, the Republican fundraising site, and you'll arrive at ActBlue, the Democratic fundraising portal.

8% of sites contained wildly unofficial content about the candidate in the web site address.

  • Those ranged from fan sites, like KamalaHarris.fr, or more malicious attacks, like Billdebiasio.com.
  • Digital Shadows notes that a bootleg message can cause brand damage to a candidate.
Screenshot via KamalaHarris.fr

The remaining 24% of typosquatted sites were non-malicious sites with little content relating to the candidate.

Go deeper: 5 takeaways from last night's Democratic debate

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Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

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Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.