BlackRock seeks court crackdown on 44 copycat sites, some crypto adjacent

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Investment giant BlackRock has called for a crackdown on a range of potentially scammy domains and “typosquatting” websites it alleges are taking advantage of its name.

On Oct. 10, BlackRock filed a legal complaint in the United States District Court for the Easter District of Virginia against the owners of 44 internet domain names containing keywords such as ‘Blackrock’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘capital’, ‘crypto’, and ‘investments’.

The asset manager alleges the domains were registered in bad faith to profit from consumer confusion and divert traffic through tactics like pay-per-click ads, malware, and email phishing attacks.

The firm’s lawyers from Wiley Rein LLP cited studies that have “shown that over 95% of the 500 most popular sites on the Internet are the subject of ‘typosquatting’”. This is a practice where a domain is registered representing a typographical error of the legitimate site.

BlackRock alleges the entities have violated the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act for registering domains confusingly similar to its own.

Screenshot of some of the offending domain names. Source: courtlistener

There were a couple of crypto-related domain names such as blackrock-crypto dot net which failed to open and crypto-blackrock dot com which offered web design services.

However, most of the ones Cointelegraph tested did not open or were typical cybersquatting on the domain name.

BlackRock looked up publicly available domain registration data from the Whois database in an attempt to identify the owners.

It is seeking the transfer of the offending domains to its control, damages, and injunctions against further cybersquatting and infringement of its trademarks BLACKROCK, ALADDIN, and BLK by defendants.

Related: California regulator warns of 17 crypto websites suspected of fraud

Copycat domain names are often used in conjunction with advertising providers such as Google and Facebook to promote scams or disseminate malware.

Earlier this year, Cointelegraph reported that victims have lost more than $4 million to fake websites promoted using Google Ads.

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