Web Spoofing

Disinformation tactics

This tactic entails creating a website that is designed to impersonate a legitimate website. The spoof website will copy the design of the original website either through replication of the original website’s source code or a faithful recreation of its design. Spoofed websites frequently use URLs that are similar to those they are impersonating. Similar URLs often use typo squatting which is the use of typographical variants (eg. Lowercase “L” and uppercase “i” which look similar to “l” and “I”). This tactic is not always used for disinformation and instead can be used for phishing information or creating a parody of the website.

The disinformation campaign which used this most extensively was one called “Endless Mayfly”. This campaign created spoofed versions of news outlets like the Guardian, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera, the Independent, the Atlantic and Politico. The campaign would only post the spoofed versions for a limited time so that their forgeries could not be closely examined. The spoofed websites would also redirect back to the websites they were impersonating and had functional share buttons for social media.