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Pharming

Friday, May 25th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms
 
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Pharming

No, I didn’t spell it wrong! Pharming (with a “ph”) is actually a term used in the computer world. I know you’ve heard of phishing before, because we’ve talked about it in the newsletter and well, pharming sort of goes along with that. It’s just another example of how hackers try to manipulate computer users via the Internet. Keep reading for a more detailed definition.

Basically, pharming is the act of redirecting users to fake Web sites, without them ever knowing it happened. When you want to visit a Web site, you type its domain name into your Web browser and that is then translated into an IP address by the means of a DNS server. After all of that goes through, the information is then stored in your computer’s DNS cache. Hackers then use that to redirect you to a false site, one determined by the hacker.

Pharming can also occur as an e-mail virus that can destroy a user’s DNS cache. Other pharmers can ruin whole DNS servers as well. Luckily, most DNS servers have good security features, but it still doesn’t make them immune. So, if you’re on a Web site that looks strange, you may be caught in a pharming incident. If that happens, restart your computer to reset your DNS settings, run your antivirus scan and then try going to the same site again. If it still looks odd, contact your ISP and tell them what’s been going on. No, pharming is not as commonly known as phishing scams, but it can still be very dangerous. So, always be on the lookout and keep yourself safe!

~ Erin

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