What is Pharming?

In today’s time when the functioning of any business is impossible to imagine without information technology and the Internet, the threat of various types of fraud has never been greater.

Special emphasis is placed on fake sites that are made to scam the visitor and take advantage of his moment of inattention and as a result scam him. There are various ways of cheating such as: fake identity, various game prizes, security warnings, etc. In the article below, we will talk about Pharming as one of the most popular scamming methods on the Internet.

Pharming meaning and definition

The word “Pharming” comes from the known words “phishing” and “farming”. It refers to a scamming practice in which users are misdirected to fake (fraudulent) websites without the user’s permission or knowledge. Pharming is designed so that users enter their personal data such as passwords, social security numbers, or credit card information into fake site databases, which hackers will use to steal the user’s money, identity, and other illegal activities.

How does pharming work?

Have you ever thought about how pharming and online scamming actually work? When a user wants to visit a page on the Internet, he enters a series of letters and numbers that the DNS or domain name system converts into the IP address of the page the user wants to visit. There are hackers who know how to detect and exploit the weaknesses of a DNS so that the user is directed to a fake page without his knowledge.

Pharming attacks can be carried out in two ways:

  • Via harmful software
  • DNS poisoning

In the first method, hackers try to infect your system with a virus via email or some other suspicious website. When malicious code enters your system it makes changes and manipulates which page the browser will take you to when you want to visit a particular site. On the other hand, hackers can take advantage of weaker DNS security and change it so that the user is redirected to sites that will allow hackers to collect all private user information or download additional viruses to the user’s device.

Pharming attacks are especially detrimental due to their nature of the action. Although the user takes certain precautions when surfing online, most of the time this is not enough to prevent damage. When malicious code enters the DNS, there is a possibility of spreading to other DNS servers, which increases the risk for more users. 

There are some softwares that can help you remove malicious code, but this does not guarantee long-term security against this danger. It would be best for users to change their browsing habits and avoid unverified sites and not access links via pop-ups.

What is the difference between pharming and phishing?

Phishing and pharming are similar methods of internet fraud that have specific differences

Phishing –  is an attempt at online fraud, most often via e-mail, which we often encounter. Through emails, users run the risk of accessing dangerous sites that are presented as verified. When the user trusts and enters personal data on the site, fraudsters can use the collected information for criminal activities.

Pharming – Unlike phishing, pharming scammers do not need a user to click on a link to access personal information, but a previously installed malicious code on your computer automatically redirects you to a fake page through which fraudsters can steal your personal information. To fight this type of internet scam, the goal is to prevent the initial installation of a virus on a computer. For the above reason, pharming is considered to be a more dangerous internet attack, as it does not require any action from the user, unlike phishing. Although this type of attack is more dangerous, it requires significantly more time and effort on the part of fraudsters to be successfully carried out and is therefore rare.

Signs that you are a possible victim of pharming

There are certain signs that indicate a  risk to your personal information from pharming:

  • Changes to your online profiles without your knowledge;
  • Use of an unsecured internet connection;
  • Appearance and installation of new programs on devices without permission.

How to protect yourself from Pharming attacks and maintain security

    • Clear browser cache – there is an increased risk of attack when we do not clear the browser cache because the information collected in the browser can be used as a basis for an attack as soon as we switch to a connection with weaker protection;
    • Use of two-factor authentication – One of the best methods of protection not only against pharming attacks but in general. It provides an additional level of protection because 2 devices are needed to enter a profile and access personal information, one of which is usually a mobile phone;
  • Pick a trusted internet service provider – Secure internet providers recognize harmful websites and ensure that the user never accesses dangerous websites and increasing the risk of malware attacks;
  • Install confidential and advanced antivirus software – installing the right antivirus program can provide additional protection against hacker attacks and enable worry-free surfing on the Internet.
  • Avoid suspicious links, websites, and content – You need to have a certain amount of caution when accessing certain links and pay attention to a few things, such as: checking if the link with “HTTPS”, also making sure if the words in the link are spelled correctly and whether the content on the page looks suspicious.


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