Pharming combines the words “phishing” and “farming” to indicate large scale phishing attempts.
Phishing is online fraud where a scammer tries to trick you into giving them your personal information e.g. login and password, bank details etc. The scammer does this by pretending to be someone you would trust – e.g. a government department or a high street brand or BT or British gas etc.
The scammer gets you to click a link, believing it is to a reputable organisation but it is the scammer’s website and will steal your confidential information.
Pharming is the large scale version of this and involves either downloading malicious code to your computer which then redirects your browser to the scammer’s website, unbeknownst to you. Or it can involve changes to your Internet router that again automatically redirect your browser without your knowledge.
The Panix Attack
On 15th January 2005, the domain name for a large New York ISP, Panix, was hijacked and redirected to a website in Australia. The domain was restored two days later and ICANN’s review blames Melbourne IT. It appears they received a DNS change request and did not did not get express authorisation from the registrant in accordance with ICANN’s Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy.
Protection Against Pharming
Make sure you have strong passwords in place, anti-virus and anti-malware installed and staff are trained to avoid suspicious websites, links in emails, not to open unexpected attached files etc.
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