Gone are the days when we had to drive to purchase groceries or wait in long lines to transfer money between banks. We don’t have to get annoyed from irritating phone conversations with travel representatives to book our flights. Today, we can simply log on the Internet and make our transactions online. Thanks to these advances in technology, we can now enjoy conveniently checking off tasks from our to-do-list in the comfort of our home. However, this increase in online transactions also made it possible for identity theft to become more widespread.
Thieves and online hackers have created sophisticated schemes to access personal information that we send over the internet. Two of the most common schemes in this line are phishing and pharming. Now, phishing has been more common and easier to spot, but how about pharming? Here are some of the key things you need to know about pharming and do’s and don’ts of credit card protection against pharming.
Phishing is at the forefront in online id theft. Phishing is more commonly identified as bogus e-mails or spams meant to hook you into voluntarily revealing your personal information. The bogus email is the scammer’s bait to lure you, the “phish.” The bogus email usually contains a message about instructions to click on a link where unsuspecting victims should enter their information. The phisher may pose as a bank trying to verify your details or something of the sort. Because of the popularity of phishing, more consumers are now aware about this type of id theft.
Thus, thieves have created a more sophisticated way to get your information: pharming.
What is Pharming?
What is pharming attack? Pharming is similar to phishing but it could work without having a victim open an email attachment or click on a link. It is phishing minus the bait. It could infect your computer through a simple act of opening an email message. You may think you have avoided an attack by not clicking on the link. However, pharming emails contain viruses that install a software program on your computer that poisons your DNS server.
Pharming works by mimicking a genuine website and redirecting you to fake one when you try to visit it. You don’t notice it because you don’t see the change in the DNS server. You only see the URL which is as exactly as you typed it. Unfortunately, what you don’t know is that you’re not in your bank’s website: You’re in the pharmer’s website. Thus, when you enter personal information, the pharmer will be able to capture it and you are compromised.
How can you prevent a pharming attack?
There are solutions to prevent pharmers from getting hold of your personal information. You can start by installing updated software that fends off phishing and pharming fraudulent sites. However, make sure you are installing authentic software patches. Do not immediately install software patches from unknown websites or pop-ups on your computer. You should also look for signs that indicate a site’s authenticity such as the lock icon and https instead of http in the URL. You can also look for the site’s digital certificate to test its legitimacy. To be safer, you can type the IP address of the site instead of the URL.