Website spoofing

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Website spoofing is the act of creating a website, as a hoax, with the intention of misleading readers that the website has been created by a different person or organization. Normally, the spoof website will adopt the design of the target website and sometimes has a similar URL.[1] A more sophisticated attack results in an attacker creating a "shadow copy" of the World Wide Web by having all of the victim's traffic go through the attacker's machine, causing the attacker to obtain the victim's sensitive information.[2]

Another technique is to use a 'cloaked' URL.[3] By using domain forwarding, or inserting control characters, the URL can appear to be genuine while concealing the address of the actual website.

The objective may be fraudulent, often associated with phishing or e-mail spoofing, or to criticize or make fun of the person or body whose website the spoofed site purports to represent. Because the purpose is often malicious, "spoof" (an expression whose base meaning is innocent parody) is a poor term for this activity so that more accountable organisations such as government departments and banks tend to avoid it, preferring more explicit descriptors such as "fraudulent" or "phishing".[4]

As an example of the use of this technique to parody an organisation, in November 2006 two spoof websites, and, were produced claiming that Microsoft had bought Firefox and released Microsoft Firefox 2007.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Spoof website will stay online", BBC News, 29 July 2004
  2. ^
  3. ^ Anti-Phishing Technology", Aaron Emigh, Radix Labs, 19 January 2005
  4. ^ See e.g. [1] or [2]
  5. ^ "Fake Sites Insist Microsoft Bought Firefox", Gregg Keizer, InformationWeek, 9 November 2006