Home > Internet Scams > Pharming Scam

Pharming Scam

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Scam Pharming Phishing Host File Dns

You’ll have come across the phishing scam where links in a spoof e-mail direct you to a fake website where you’re asked for details and can find yourself a victim of identity theft. It’s a product of the cyber age.

But it’s been eclipsed by a variant, a variation on the theme, known as pharming. This is even more insidious, because without a great deal of care you can find yourself a victim, and you might never even realise what happened.

How It Works

You can be very careful and type the proper URL into your web browser, thinking you’re taking every precaution to get to the real web site, and indeed you are. But pharming is dangerous. Instead, you’re redirected to a site that looks real, but is counterfeit, and you don’t even know it.

Although it’s only recently received publicity, it’s actually nothing new, and has been familiar for quite a long time to experts as DNS cache poisoning. However, the new name has appeared as it’s become more widespread, and for its similarity to phishing.

There are a couple of ways pharming can be carried out. It can be done by either changing the host files on the computer of the victim – you – by infecting it with a virus, or, far worse, finding and exploiting vulnerabilities in DNS server software, which directs people to the proper website – in other words, they hijack the address and substitute the fake site. A well-executed attack like that can affect literally thousands of people.

Meanwhile you carry on as you would with the real site, not aware that you’re giving away sensitive information.

How To Avoid It

There’s no simple or easy solution to avoid pharming. You need to keep your wits about you when you’re going online. But there are precautions you can take to help keep yourself safe.

Whenever you’re going onto a site where you’ll be giving personal information, make sure it’s safe – that is, it begins with https:// rather than just http:// – and definitely secure. That’s probably the most important thing, and applies whenever you’re undertaking a transaction or giving out information. You can also check whether the site has a certificate. Click File > Properties, or right click in the body of the page and select Properties from the menu.

Make sure you have a good firewall, anti-spyware and anti-virus software on your computer, and make sure you scan regularly. These greatly reduce the chance of someone hacking into your machine and changing host files.

Download and install the security updates for your browser. You can also click on the link that says Get Updates For Windows Automatically.

If you bank or pay your bills online, check all your accounts on a very regular basis. If you notice any irregularity, report it to the institution immediately. You should also check your credit file frequently.

If you come across a site that you believe has been pharmed, then don’t proceed. You should contact the institution and inform them of the situation.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Sal
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Had a call today from a Indian lady saying I overpaid my sky bill by £202 she then asked my dob then requested the expiration date of my card I asked…
    7 September 2018
  • SimplyMe
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just received same call purporting to be from Sky Refund Department. When I said I had something to tell him (i.e. not a Sky customer) he hung…
    23 August 2018
  • Syed Ali
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    I received a call 9.30am the lady calling from 07125656364 said she is calling from sky from billing dept and want to refund overpaid amount to sky of…
    14 August 2018
  • Maggie
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    I’ve just had a phone call from07125656364 telling me she was from sky and saying that I had overpayed £202 and they want to refund me. She then asked…
    6 August 2018
  • SafeFromScams
    Re: Vishing Scam
    Jhey - Your Question:I received an email from Royal Mail saying that my fiancé belongings are arrived to london to receive the parcel they want me to s
    24 July 2018
  • Jhey
    Re: Vishing Scam
    I received an email from Royal Mail saying that my fiancé belongings are arrived to london to receive the parcel they want me to send £2150 via western…
    23 July 2018
  • Wmy
    Re: Vishing Scam
    AEAC0155408 has been used here in Nigeria to scam my sister. Please be careful.
    16 July 2018
  • WomenHelpingWomen
    Re: Scammed by a Holiday Romance?
    Hi, I work for a women's magazine weekly and we are trying to raise awareness during the time of travel so no more women fall as…
    5 July 2018
  • Le Tissier Pearson
    Re: Vishing Scam
    Scam messages can be a nuisance and the fraudsters can go to jail.
    22 June 2018
  • eggreig
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just had a call from a lady could hardly understand her but she said I was due a refund but didn't believe her it was a mobile number 07158655859
    19 June 2018