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What is pharming?

pharming
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What is pharming?

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Every web site on the internet has a so-called unique IP Address; much like phone numbers, these IP Addresses identify servers across the global internet and permit the routing of traffic from one network to another. In order to simplify the process of accessing data and information across the World Wide Web, a Domain Naming System (DNS) was established for the assignment and translation of simple names, for example “www.google.com” or “bfsfcu.org” to unique IP Addresses. By manipulating domain naming entries via exploits in DNS servers, hackers attempt to redirect a web site’s traffic from the valid IP Address to an alternate site; typically faked to appear legitimate in the hopes of “phishing” for valid authentication credentials and/or personal information such as e-Mail addresses.

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Perpetrators who ‘pharm’ for information do so by hacking into DNS server software. (DNS servers are the giant computers that ‘run’ the Internet). These computer hackers look for any vulnerability in the DNS software through which they can acquire the domain name of a website and re-direct traffic from that website to another fraudulent website.

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This is when a phisher uses things like Trojans or worms to attack your Internet browser address bar. You might type in a valid web address but the Trojan, for example, will redirect you to the phishers website instead.

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Pharmers redirect as many users as possible from the legitimate website they intend to visit and lead them to malicious ones, without the users’ knowledge or consent. A malicious site can look exactly the same as the genuine site. But when users enter their login name and password, the information is captured. Emailed viruses that rewrite local host files on individual PCs, and DNS poising have been used to conduct pharming attacks. Even if the user types the correct web address, the user can be directed to the false, malicious site.

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Pharming is similar to phishing, but rather than spamming you with email requests, pharming redirects your Web browser to a fraudulent website. Unlike phishing, you do not have to click an email link to be directed to a spoof website.

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