Pharm's Way

Learn how to protect yourself from the latest internet attack.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the July 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Just when you finally figured out how to deal with viruses, worms, and , along comes pharming. Pharming is like phishing on steroids. A pharming attack maliciously redirects a web browser to a spoof site that harvests personal information. Banking sites are top targets. "It's less of a visible threat, because there is no e-mail. It operates behind the scenes," says Scott Chasin, with -based e-mail security company MX Logic. Unlike phishing, pharming has no social engineering lure. That makes it a more dangerous and stealthy method of attack.

Chasin cites several ways pharming can take place. DNS-cache poisoning, which exploits faults in DNS servers, and are the main vehicles that have been identified so far. And a Trojan was identified earlier this year that targeted several major banks.

Pharming attacks can be completely transparent to the unsuspecting user. "Pharming, from a threat perspective, has the potential to rival that of phishing," says Chasin. "We're dealing with sophisticated attackers, with very organized criminal enterprises."

There isn't much end users can do to protect themselves other than be aware of the problem. Netcraft offers an anti-phishing toolbar that also works for pharming, alerting users to the geographic location of the site they're accessing. You'll know something is wrong if your U.S. bank suddenly seems to be hosted in Russia.

Chasin says it will take industrywide cooperation and efforts to come up with solutions and better authentication schemes. In the meantime, entrepreneurs should keep an eye out for news on the latest pharming attacks and keep their guard up, especially when accessing financial sites.

loading...

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
From business to marketing, sales, design, finance, and technology, we have the top 3 percent of Experts ready to work for you. Join the future of work and learn more about our Expert solutions!

Latest on Entrepreneur