What Is Pharming?
Pharming is a new method of identity theft. Pharmers are hackers that combine phishing with DNS hacking. The two are very similar, but pharming can be more dangerous. Pharming changes the IP address associated with a particular URL, either in the host file on your computer or on the local DNS server, to that of a fraudulent site. When this happens the DNS is said to be poisoned. A poisoned DNS server has the potential of being much more dangerous than a phishing attack. Once a pharming attack is implemented successfully, a typed-in URL could bring up a bogus site set to steal personal information.
Concerns for Parents
Pharming is not as likely to be directed at children, because they usually aren't making purchases on the Internet. However, be sure you are the one making purchases on Web sites and that you, not your children, are handling your personal information. Furthermore, educate your children on proper ways to use the Internet safely.
How Can I Stay Safe?
To avoid this problem, be sure that the URL window shows a page name (e.g. www.ebay.com), not an IP address (e.g. 126.96.36.199). Avoid pages that throw a Web certification error.
Where Can I Learn More?
- Windows IT Pro Magazine is a good resource for learning more about pharming.