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Thread: Bad spelling, or industrial espionage?

  1. #1
    Senior Member roswell1329's Avatar
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    Jan 2002

    Bad spelling, or industrial espionage?

    I was running some tests the other day on an email script I was writing and sent a bogus message out to test the results. When nothing came back to my domain name in any way, I went back to see how it was addressed. I had misspelled my domain name and after doing an nslookup, I realized that the misspelled domain was owned by another individual. After that, I started to look up some other well-known misspellings and created this small list of domains that are valid domain names:


    and even...

    While I'm sure that some of these names might possibly be innocent coincidences, I am wondering how many of these have been purchased by corporate spies. Not to sound like some conspiracy theory, but this sounds to me like a great tactic to potentially intercept some juicy internal memos! If you work at a large corporation, you know how much highly confidential email is bounced all over without encryption because people believe it to be "just internal". The company I work for (who shall remain nameless) has a very common misspelling of their name, and even that domain name is taken. Everything I send to that domain (either by accident or by design) stays at that domain. I never get bounced messages. Obviously, that domain name has one of their addresses set up as a "catch-all" to receive all misdirected emails.

    My question is this: Would a company (like Microsoft) have grounds to sue the owners of a misspelled domain name (like microsfot.com) for distributing (or in some other way using) any corporate secrets that were intercepted by them because some employee of the primary company carelessly misspelled the domain name, or is this just part of the cost of doing business without encryption?
    /* You are not expected to understand this. */

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2001
    most of these "companies" are being slowly run out of business by the world court. There was a case, last week I think, about a company having to give several millions of dollars because they had mispelled a domain name to look like another company.

    I'll see if I can dig up the story and post it here.

    El Diablo

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    their not all spies! many of those name are taken by those who want allot of hits to their sites, porn re-directors for instance.

    the company i work for has also bought all the names aroud it.

    so besides mycompany.com we have mycompanysucks.com, ****mycompany.com etc. also .net. their about 60 names we've purchased to keep **** like this from happening.
    Bukhari:V3B48N826 “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.’”

  4. #4
    Senior Member roswell1329's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    If it were illegal to have a similar name as a major corporation, I would think the following would have been changed a long time ago:

    # whois microsfot.com
    JS technologies SA (MICROSFOT2-DOM)
       Chemin du Daillard
       Chexbres, 1071
       Domain Name: MICROSFOT.COM
       Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
          Szijarto, Jean-Stephane  (JS3260)         jss@JSTECHNO.CH
          JS technologies SA
          Rue du Centre 72
          ST-SULPICE, 1025
          +41 21 697 0451
       Record expires on 12-Jul-2003.
       Record created on 11-Jul-1997.
       Database last updated on 9-Dec-2002 11:42:22 EST.
       Domain servers in listed order:
    Besides, what about the initial domains like MCI.com? Isn't that too short of a name to claim copyright infringement against a name like NCI.com? More than 30% of the primary name is different.

    I agree with you tedob1 about not all of them being spies, but look at the site for MicroSFOT. It's an individual promoting non-dominant technologies like Linux. I'd be willing to bet that they are grabbing every single misrouted email that is going to their site in hopes of unearthing at least a morsel of juicy Microsoft news that they can sell to the highest bidder.
    /* You are not expected to understand this. */

  5. #5
    AO Ancient: Team Leader
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    It's not really the email traffic they are after it's the web traffic. I noticed this phenomenon a few years ago after mistyping microsoft and coming up with an ISP offer. It's really quite a smart, low cost, low maintenance way of getting the maximim number of hits possible to your web site. Just think of it in terms of Microsoft and how many hits it gets per day. Then how many typo's there were and how many would hit a single letter swap. You probably got yourself about 1000 hits per day right there for $29.95 registration of the domain.

    Yeah, they probably are picking up some mistyped email for Microsoft too if they have mail for unknown recipients forwarded to the postmaster's addy for example.... But what are they gonna get? 50 emails a day from complainers..... I have $5 says they ignore any mail for the misspelled domain after the first couple of weeks.
    Don\'t SYN us.... We\'ll SYN you.....
    \"A nation that draws too broad a difference between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools.\" - Thucydides

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2002
    i agree that it is probably to intercept web traffic, none the less its crap i think when sites like wwf.com ( world wildlife federation) sue others like the world wrestling federation, which because of the law suit is now world wrestiling entertainment, for url's that resemble there own. both companies had been around way before i was born and yet as soon as wrestiling gets big soemone has to come along and try and mess things up. i dont think thats right, saying that it was prohibiting the worlds awareness on animal extiction. the tree huggers were just pissed off that they werent getting the hit points. but i dont think either of these sites were involved in the kind of web espionage that were talking about here.
    Don\'t be a bitch! Use Slackware.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    That's definitely an odd topic. What if a companies initials are microsfot or something? You never know, and it's a touchy kind of issue. Then again, companies as big as Microsoft's and the other's listed are bound to have some sort of immatation website being made or someone trying to look cool.
    Space For Rent.. =]

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2002
    wow thats a real coincidence i just misspelt antionline with http://www.anitonline.com/ and it came up
    i guess it is a good way of advertising but it can get a bit annoying at times
    --=::[ LeNc}{ ]::=-- stealing your time for pathetic web sites since 1998

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    This reminds me of a similar incident about a year ago. I unknowingly typed goggle.com and it came up with different site with a lot of adverts. But see what happens now if you type www.goggle.com now- it tells you
    "This site is not associated with Google.com. If you intented to reach Google.com, click here";

    If you also mispell google as gogle, gooogle it takes you to google.com

    Secondly, I don't think that all these sites (close in spelling to others) are spies. Example, *Simply* looking at http://www.anitonline.com/ i dont see a prb with it. Might really be a coincidence.
    [gloworange]Not all that glitters is gold [/gloworange]

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    In that case then people could start suing for typo's in there books saying that they undersold becuase of gramatical error....like Mikey Jackson did cause he is white but still thinks he's black. I think that the companies get traffic but doubt e-mails cause for microsoft their routers probably block outgoing E-mail's except for the tech support people and then they probably have a VPN for inter company traffic also everyone there probably has a global list on exchange so they really can't mess that up. Well to cut a long story short if someone mails something to a person that lived at an address before you moved in can they sue you for mail fraud? Doubt it but if you open it and use the info they can probably get you for something else
    Beware the quiet ones...

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