Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Pharming

Pharming, pronounced farming, is a means of directing you to a fraudulent web site without your knowledge. The primary objective is to convince you to enter confidential data.

This is accomplished by setting up a fraudulent Web site that contains copies of pages from a legitimate web site. By hacking into DNS (Domain Name Service) servers and changing IP addresses, or changing the DNS server that your computer accesses, you are automatically redirected to the bogus site, at least for some period of time until the DNS records can be restored.

For example, if a bank's DNS were changed, you could be redirected to a Web site that looks familiar. The bogus site could collect usernames and passwords, or it could allow access to the site and, using some false pretense, request financial information. Unlike phishing schemes that use e-mail to make people go to the phoney site, pharming is more natural and you will not be aware of this change. Clients go to the site on their own and are not suspicious because the pages look familiar.

Most financial institutions present predefined images, shared secrets, and or questions that only you know. Make sure when you login to these sites that your shared secret is presented properly.