A couple years ago I tried registering IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names) that were visually identical or similar to popular sites like mozilla.org, bing.com, and google.com. What I found was that I wasn’t the only one doing this. For me, it was just to demonstrate the possibilities for visual spoofing in modern user-agents, similar to what we saw in 2005 with the paypal.com spoof.
I don’t think this recent legal decision made the news anywhere, but Microsoft filed a complaint that a registered domain name www.bıng.com was confusingly similar to its www.bing.com brand. In case it’s hard to see, the issue here is with the dotless ‘i’ in the lookalike domain. In that domain, the registrant used Unicode character U+0131 LATIN SMALL LETTER DOTLESS I in place of the usual U+0069 LATIN SMALL LETTER I in bing.com.
Microsoft won the case on valid merits, and as far as we know there was no harm done. That is, I haven’t heard any news of a phishing attack that utilized this domain name. It’s easy to imagine the extent of harm possible through a phishing/luring/schmoozing/whatever attack that utilizes confusing IDNs across the context of email clients, web browsers, and other user-agents. A well-thought attack could be surprisingly effective.