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Pharming: What it is and how to protect your business

Some cyberattacks can be fairly easy to notice. A phishing email might be identified by the sender’s address, formatting, or the address of a link, while vishing could be identified by someone asking prying questions over the phone. Some attacks, however, may be tougher to spot. There are a few types of these, one of the most notable being pharming.

What is pharming?

Pharming is similar to phishing in that they result in the victim being shown a fraudulent webpage in an effort to get their personal information; the difference, however, is that pharming doesn’t require the user to click on a link to be taken to the attacker’s page. Instead, the user attempts to navigate to a website’s legitimate page, but the connection is hijacked and redirected to the attacker’s fake page.

There are two types of pharming. While both pose a serious risk, one is significantly more dangerous than the other. The first of these entails malware or a virus being installed on your system first, which in turn redirects your attempts to access legitimate sites to a fraudulent version. The second, more serious subtype, involves a cybercriminal hijacking an entire DNS server. This redirects traffic to a legitimate website to a fraudulent one, even if there is no virus or malware working on the user’s machine to do so. This means that even someone who runs antivirus software and keeps their system up to date can still fall victim.

How can you protect yourself?

Unfortunately, there’s no one way to protect yourself from pharming. Virus and malware protection can go a long way in ensuring that no vulnerability on your system is exploited in order to redirect your web traffic. To protect yourself from DNS-level pharming attacks, there are a few methods by which you can prepare. One such was is to ensure that your browser is set to show you the entire address of a webpage you visit, as some newer browsers shorten the displayed address for simplicity. When visiting a site where you might enter important information, such as personal details or a username and password, take a look at the URL displayed to both ensure that it is the correct address, as well as to make sure that the URL begins with ‘https’, indicating a secure connection. It may also be worth checking which DNS resolver you use. If you’re not sure, you can check your device’s internet settings, where you can manually specify a more secure DNS resolver, such as 1.1.1.1. Constant monitoring of your systems on a 24/7/365 basis can also go a long way to preventing an attack.

Bottom Line

Keeping yourself and your business protected from looming cyberthreats has never been more complicated. If you’re looking for a partner to develop and implement a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, Cyber Sainik offers a variety of security solutions that can ensure your business faces no unnecessary downtime. Reach out for more information

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