Pharming In Cyber Security: Protecting Against Online Attacks

What Is Pharming In Cyber Security And How To Protect Against It?

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by Evelyn Addison — 2 months ago in Security 4 min. read
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In the digital age, where online transactions and data dividing have become commonplace, ensuring cybersecurity is paramount. Among the myriad of threats lurking in the virtual realm, pharming stands out as a particularly insidious form of cyber attack. This article seeks to give insight into the conviction of pharming in cybersecurity, its ramifications, and, importantly, strategies to defend against it.

Defining Pharming in Cyber Security

Pharming, a blend of “phishing” and “farming,” constitutes a cyber Invasion where internet traffic is invalidly diverted from authentic websites to deceitful ones, all without the user’s awareness. Unlike phishing, which relies on luring individuals to fake websites through deceptive emails or messages, pharming manipulates the Domain Name System (DNS) or host file to reroute users to malicious sites automatically.

Attackers achieve this redirection by exploiting vulnerabilities in DNS servers or compromising users’ devices with malware. Upon redirection, individuals might inadvertently disclose sensitive data like login credentials, financial information, or personal details, which perpetrators subsequently misuse for nefarious intents.

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Impacts of Pharming in CyberSecurity

The consequences of falling victim to pharming attacks can be severe and far-reaching. Financial losses, identity theft, reputational damage, and even legal reactances are among the potential outcomes. Furthermore, breached systems can act as springboards for additional cyber assaults, presenting persistent security threats to both individuals and entities.

Protecting Against Pharming in Cyber Security

Given the gravity of pharming attacks, implementing robust security measures is imperative. Here are some strategies to safeguard against pharming.

  • Use Secure DNS Servers: Opt for reputable DNS servers provided by trusted entities or consider using secure DNS resolution services that offer enhanced protection against pharming attacks.
  • Deploy DNSSEC: Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) add an extra layer of security by digitally signing DNS data, preventing unauthorized alterations and thwarting pharming attempts.
  • Employ HTTPS: Sites protected by HTTPS encode information altered between the user’s browser and the server, increasing the difficulty for attackers to intercept or tamper with the traffic.
  • Keep Software Updated: Regularly update operating systems, web browsers, and security software to patch known vulnerabilities and mitigate the risk of pharming attacks exploiting outdated software.
  • Exercise Vigilance: Stay alert while surfing the internet, carefully examine URLs for irregularities or dubious components, and exercise caution when clicking on links or downloading content from sources you don’t trust.

Types of Pharming Attacks in CyberSecurity

Pharming attacks can manifest in various forms, each with its unique characteristics and methods. Common types include:

  • DNS Pharming: Attackers compromise DNS servers or manipulate DNS cache poisoning to redirect users to fraudulent websites.
  • Hosts File Pharming: Malicious software infects devices and alters the host file to redirect traffic to harmful IP addresses, circumventing DNS resolution entirely.
  • Router Pharming: Attackers compromise routers and modify their DNS settings to redirect all traffic passing through them to malicious sites.
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How to Protect Yourself from Pharming

To shield oneself from the perils of pharming attacks, individuals can take proactive steps.

  • Install Antivirus Software: Deploy reputable antivirus solutions and antimalware solutions to detect and remove malicious software that may facilitate pharming attacks.
  • Enable Firewall Protection: Activate firewalls on devices and network configuration to monitor and filter incoming and outgoing traffic, depolarizing unauthorized access and malicious activities.
  • Educate Users: Raise awareness among users about the risks of pharming attacks, impart knowledge on recognizing phishing attempts, and encourage the adoption of cybersecurity best practices.

Pharming in Cyber Security Examples

Illustrating real-world instances of pharming attacks can provide valuable insights into their methods and consequences.

  • The DNSChanger Malware: This notorious malware infected millions of devices worldwide, altering DNS settings to redirect users to malicious websites and generate illicit advertising revenue for the attackers.
  • The Comcast Router Attack: In 2010, cybercriminals absorbed permeabilities in Comcast routers to hijack users’ web traffic and redirect them to fraudulent websites hosting malware.
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Conclusion

In conclusion, pharming poses a significant cybersecurity threat, exploiting vulnerabilities in DNS infrastructure and user devices to redirect unsuspecting victims to malicious websites. By grasping the concept of pharming, its consequences, and effective preventive measures, individuals and organizations can strengthen their security measures and reduce the vulnerabilities associated with this malicious cyber threat. Vigilance, education, and the implementation of robust security measures are crucial in safeguarding against pharming attacks and preserving the integrity of online interactions in an increasingly interconnected world.

FAQs

What is pharming and how does it differ from phishing?

Pharming involves redirecting users to fraudulent websites without their knowledge, while phishing relies on deceiving individuals to visit fake sites via email or messages.

How can I tell if a website is affected by a pharming attack?

Look for discrepancies in the website URL, such as misspellings or unusual characters, and ensure the site is secured with HTTPS to mitigate the risk of pharming.

What steps can I take to protect my devices from pharming attacks?

Implement robust security measures such as using secure DNS servers, deploying antivirus software, and keeping software updated to safeguard against pharming vulnerabilities.

What should I do if I suspect I've fallen victim to a pharming attack?

Immediately disconnect from the internet, run a full scan with antivirus software to detect and remove any malware, and reset DNS settings to default to mitigate the impact of the attack.

Are there any tools or services available to help prevent pharming attacks?

Yes, consider using DNSSEC to enhance DNS security, employ reputable antivirus and firewall software, and enable HTTPS on websites to minimize the risk of pharming attacks.

Evelyn Addison

Evelyn is an assistant editor for The Next Tech and Just finished her master’s in modern East Asian Studies and plans to continue with her old hobby that is computer science.

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