A memory error is a condition that occurs any time one or more bits being read from memory have changed state from what was previously written. By even the most conservative of estimates Internet devices experience more than 600,000 memory errors per day. Cosmic radiation, operating a device outside its recommended environmental conditions, and defects in manufacturing can all cause a “1” in memory to become a “0” or vice-versa. Most of these bit errors are harmless, but occasionally the bit error occurs inside a domain name or URL, and this can affect where Internet traffic is directed. The term “bitsquatting”, which refers to the practice of registering a domain name one binary digit different than another, is a term coined after a similar term, “cybersquatting” –the practice of registering an unofficial domain which could be confused for a legitimate one.
For example, the fully qualified domain name “www.cisco.com” could by changing only a single binary digit become the bitsquat domain name “wwwncisco.com”. In this example, the dot separating the second and third level domain names has experienced a bit error, and changed to become the letter “n”.