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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 it sometimes has a similar URL. 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.
Another technique is to use a 'cloaked' URL. By using domain forwarding, or inserting control characters, the URL can appear to be genuine while concealing the actual address of the malicious website. Punycode can also be used for this purpose. Punycode-based attacks exploit the similar characters in different writing systems in common fonts. For example, on one large font, the greek letter tau (τ) is similar in appearance to the latin undercase letter t. However, the greek letter tau is represented in punycode as 5xa, while the latin undercase letter is simply represented as t, since it is present on the ASCII system. In 2017, a security researcher managed to register the domain xn--80ak6aa92e.com and have it show on several mainstream browsers as apple.com. While the characters used didn't belong to the latin script, due to the default font on those browsers, the end result was non-latin characters that were indistinguishable from those on the latin script.
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".
As an example of the use of this technique to parody an organisation, in November 2006 two spoof websites, www.msfirefox.com and www.msfirefox.net, were produced claiming that Microsoft had bought Firefox and released "Microsoft Firefox 2007."
Spoofed websites predominate in efforts developing anti-phishing software though there are concerns about their effectiveness. A majority of efforts are focused on the PC market leaving mobile devices lacking You can see from the table below that few user studies have been run against the current tools in the market.
|Tool||Communication media||Device||Countermeasure type||Performance metrics||User study conducted?|
|Anti-phish||Website/browser add-on||PC||Profile matching /usage history||-||-|
|BogusBiter||Website/browser add-on||PC||Client server authentication||Page load delay||No|
|Cantina+||Website/browser add-on||PC||Machine learning /classification||TPR ≈ 0.92
FPR ≈ 0.040
|Quero||Website/browser add-on||PC||Text mining /regular expressions||-||-|
|Itrustpage||Website/browser add-on||PC||Profile matching/ blacklist||Accuracy=0.98||Yes|
|SpoofGuard||Website||PC||Profile matching / pattern||TPR≈0.972,
|PhishZoo||Website||PC||Profile matching/ pattern||Accuracy≈0.96,
|Page load delay
|PhishTester||Website||PC||Profile matching/ pattern||FNR≈0.03, FPR≈0||No|
|DOM AntiPhish||Website||PC||Profile matching/ layout||FNR≈0, FPR≈0.16||No|
|PhishNet||Website||PC||Profile matching /blacklist||FNR≈0.05,
|PhorceField||Website||PC||Client server authentication||Bits of Security Lost per user = 0.2||Yes|
|PassPet||Website||PC||Profile matching/ usage history||Security and Usability||Yes|
|PhishGuard||Website||PC||Client server authentication||-||-|
|PhishAri||Social network||PC||Machine learning /classification||Precision = 0.95,
Recall = 0.92
|MobiFish||Mobile||Smart Phone||Profile matching/ layout||TPR≈1||No|
|AZ-protect||Website||PC||Machine learning /classification||Precision = 0.97,
Recall = 0.96
|eBay AG||Website/browser add-on||PC||Machine learning /classification||Precision = 1,
Recall = 0.55
|Netcraft||Website/browser add-on||PC||Profile matching /blacklist||Precision = 0.99,
|EarthLink||Website/browser add-on||PC||Profile matching /blacklist||Precision = 0.99,
Recall = 0.44
|IE Filter||Website/browser add-on||PC||Profile matching /blacklist||Precision = 1,
Recall = 0.75
|FirePhish||Website/browser add-on||PC||Profile matching /blacklist||Precision = 1,
Recall = 0.77
|Sitehound||Website/browser add-on||PC||Profile matching /blacklist||Precision = 1,
Recall = 0.23
DNS is the layer at which botnets control drones. In 2006, OpenDNS began offering a free service to prevent users from entering website spoofing sites. Essentially, OpenDNS has gathered a large database from various anti-phishing and anti-botnet organizations as well as its own data to compile a list of known website spoofing offenders. When a user attempts to access one of these bad websites, they are blocked at the DNS level. APWG statistics show that most phishing attacks use URLs, not domain names, so there would be a large amount of website spoofing that OpenDNS would be unable to track. At the time of release, OpenDNS is unable to prevent unnamed phishing exploits that sit on Yahoo, Google etc.
- Email spoofing – Creating email spam or phishing messages with a forged sender identity or address
- Fake news website – Website that deliberately publishes hoaxes and disinformation
- Login spoofing – Techniques used to steal a user's password
- Phishing – Attempt to trick a person into revealing information
- Spoofing attack – Cyber attack in which a person or program successfully masquerades as another by falsifying data
- Referer spoofing – Practice in HTTP networking of intentionally sending incorrect referer information
- "Spoof website will stay online", BBC News, 29 July 2004
- http://www.cs.princeton.edu/sip/pub/spoofing.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- Anti-Phishing Technology" Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, Aaron Emigh, Radix Labs, 19 January 2005
- "Google is fixing a Chrome flaw that makes phishing easy".
- See e.g.  or 
- "Fake Sites Insist Microsoft Bought Firefox", Gregg Keizer, InformationWeek, 9 November 2006
- "Phishing environments, techniques, and countermeasures: A survey". Computers & Security. 68 (4): 280. July 2017. doi:10.1016/s0167-4048(04)00129-4. ISSN 0167-4048.
- "Dark Reading | Security | Protect The Business - Enable Access". Dark Reading. Retrieved 2018-06-29.