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Pharming Attacks: How to Protect Yourself



Knew you might have collected the data from your favorite websites and sent it directly to a hacker? Okay, a very convincing lookalike, not the actual website. The scary thing is that at any moment you may be misdirected and you won't even notice it. Then everything you type in will end in the hands of the hacker, like your login details and passwords. That's the insidious nature of pharming.


What are Pharming Attacks?


Pharming is similar of "phishing" and "farming" terms. It is similar to phishing, but some key differences remain. Through phishing, victims are typically fooled into clicking on suspicious links, leading to fake pages and viruses download. The victim is also targeted at a fake website in pharming, but there is no need for the victim to click on any links as the traffic is redirected without intervention. Yes, there may be no signs of alarm that you are on a spoofed website!


The lookalike website catches your information as you type and send it directly to the attacker after redirecting legitimate website traffic. Imagine being on the website of your bank and entering your login details, passwords, and financial information on what you think. You can lose your hard-earned cash or even your identity with this personal information in the wrong hands.



Examples of Pharming Attacks


You will learn about two forms of pharming assaults.


  1. On your mobile device. A hacker would first have to download a virus or Trojan horse on your computer to succeed in this attack. This can be achieved with phishing or other methods of social engineering. Once the virus is in your network, your host file will be modified and your traffic will be diverted from the intended website. Today, a fake identical page will appear instead when you try to access your social media account by entering the appropriate URL. You would have no idea that a copy that is ready to steal your information is given to you.

  2. Pharming with a database of the Domain Name System (DNS). While there are ways to prevent the above-mentioned attack, if the DNS server is hacked, it is almost impossible to do so. DNS servers convert URLs into the IP addresses you need to find your website. If the DNS server is compromised, the request will be forwarded to another IP address. You would still be presented with a site that looks identical, though. Hackers enjoy attacks on the DNS server. These are much more difficult to pull off, but they have a higher rate of success. Instead of having to compromise multiple devices individually, they are simply flocking a large number of internet users to a malicious site. The word "pharming" comes from here.


Protecting Yourself Against Pharming Attacks

Hunting fake websites, particularly at the DNS level, is mostly the job of your internet service provider. You shouldn't depend on them alone, though. Pharming can be avoided by:

  • Identifying attempts at phishing and not clicking on suspicious links.

  • Using antivirus software that could pick up Trojans and other viruses.

  • Practice good conduct on the internet; search the URL.

  • Make sure you are visiting HTTPS websites (look in your URL bar for the padlock). Additionally, check the spelling and other signs for spoofing of the URL.

  • Use of a VPN. It encrypts your traffic and routes it to solve your DNS query through a VPN-owned DNS server.



Interested in improving your online security even further? Consider getting a VPN! Subscribe and download Hotspot VPN today at low costs for unlimited browsing and ultra-fast streaming.

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