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Warning: The following links are phishing links, please do not sign in to them.

Today, a friend of mine came across the link hxxp://steạmcommunlty(dot)com/tradeoffer/new/. It's a phishing link, but I have no idea how it works. Notice the a in steam is a special character? When you go to that link and copy and paste it, it somehow converts to xn--stemcommunlty-kf2g(dot)com

How is it doing that? Is it something to do with the converting into something else making it a completely different URL?

  • Compare аррӏе.com with apple.com. It's just unicode which has characters that look identical to regular ASCII. – forest Dec 12 '17 at 4:51
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Browser is doing this to follow the standard regarding hostnames containing non-ASCII characters:

Non-ASCII domain names ("IDNA") rely on a special transfer encoding ("Punycode") to allow non-ASCII domain values inside the ASCII-only DNS nameserver hierarchy. Punycode encodes a domain name such as "faß.de" using special markup that looks like so: "xn--fa-hia.de"

This is done for all domains containing such characters, and has nothing to do with domain being phishing.

PS. Your "steạmcommunlty" domain name also uses lowercase L instead of I in the word "community".

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