Pharming

August 3, 2018

Pharming is a type of online fraud intended to redirect a website’s traffic to a fake site with the purpose of gaining access to personal information that can be used in online identity theft. This scam can be so convincing that even what may appear to be a real website address can be “poisoned.” Once the user enters personal information such as their credit card or email address, this is where the real problems can occur.

Continue reading below for more information on the different types of Pharming as well as tips to protect yourself while browsing online.

2 Types of Pharming

Malware-Based Pharming

Attackers can take advantage of a user by installing malware on their device that will redirect the user to a bogus website. The site will be made to look identical to a legitimate website, but may have a slight variation to the address (i.e. www.Amazn.com). When the user enters in their personal information such as credit cards or email addresses they can be made vulnerable to identity theft.

Website Takeover

Another type of Pharming is when the hacker gains access to a legitimate site by exploitation of a vulnerability in the DNS server software. DNS servers are computers responsible for resolving Internet names into their real addresses. With this compromise, the hacker can then divert website traffic from a real website to a different IP address. In this case, the visitor would have a very difficult time identifying that they have even been redirected from the intended website. 

Precautions to Avoid Pharming

1. Use Antivirus Software. By making sure that you have an antivirus program on your computer it can help decrease your chances of being exposed to scams caused by malware.

2. Check for Spelling. The spelling of a website address can inform you if it is a fraudulent one. Bogus websites often times contain typos and misspellings throughout not only the website address, but also throughout the content on the page.

3. Check the URL. Make sure that the URL that you are visiting is the one that you intend to use. Be sure that there are no additional characters in the URL that do not look familiar.

4. Check the ‘HTTP’ address. Verify that the website you are visiting uses “https” at the beginning of the address. The extra ‘s’ means ‘secure’.

5. Look for Padlock. If there is a padlock icon before the https, that means that the website is secured. However, if there is an unlocked padlock and a broken key this means that the site is not secure.

How Can iLOCK360 Help?

Did you know that your iLOCK360 membership can help alert you if your personal information may have been sold in online identity theft forums?

iLOCK360’s proprietary CyberAlert can help you monitor your identity 24/7/365 for possible compromise on the Dark Web (i.e. the Internet’s black market). Available monitored elements include: Bank Accounts, Credit/Debit Cards, Email Addresses, Phone Numbers, Medical ID Numbers, Social Security Number, Driver’s License and Passport.

Want to know if your information may have been compromised by a cybercriminal on the Dark Web? Be sure to log into your iLOCK360 account to setup this feature today.

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