What is Pharming? Understanding and Safeguarding against Cyber Attacks

What is Pharming? Understanding and Safeguarding against Cyber Attacks
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Table Of Content

  • Introduction
  • Understanding How Pharming Works
  • Two main types of pharming attacks
    1. DNS Cache Poisoning
    2. Hosts File Pharming
  • Safeguarding Yourself from Pharming Attacks
    1. Keep Your Software Up to Date
    2. Use DNSSEC
    3. Be Cautious with Email Links
    4. Use HTTPS
    5. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
    6. Monitor Your Online Accounts
    7. Use a Reputable DNS Service
  • Conclusion


Cybersecurity has become a crucial aspect of our lives. With the increasing use of the internet for various activities, cybercriminals are finding more sophisticated ways to target unsuspecting individuals and organizations. One such method is "pharming," a cyber-attack that can be extremely deceptive and damaging.

Pharming is a type of cyber-attack wherein attackers manipulate the Domain Name System (DNS) to redirect users to a fraudulent website. The ultimate goal of this attack is to steal sensitive information, such as login credentials, financial data, or personal details from the victims. Unlike phishing, which involves sending deceptive emails to individuals, pharming operates on a larger scale by redirecting website traffic.

Understanding How Pharming Works

To execute a pharming attack, cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in the DNS system or compromise the victim's computer to manipulate DNS settings. They modify the DNS records associated with a particular website, so when users attempt to access the legitimate site, they are unknowingly redirected to a malicious website controlled by the attackers.

Two main types of pharming attacks

  1. DNS Cache Poisoning: In this type of attack, attackers poison the DNS cache of a DNS server with fraudulent IP address-to-domain name mappings. As a result, when users request the IP address of a legitimate website, they are provided with the IP address of the malicious website.

  1. Hosts File Pharming: In this attack, the attackers compromise the hosts file on the victim's computer to redirect domain names to the IP address of the malicious website. The hosts file is a local file on the computer that contains IP address-to-domain name mappings, and altering it allows attackers to hijack legitimate domain names.

Safeguarding Yourself from Pharming Attacks

Pharming attacks can be challenging to detect because users are redirected to fraudulent websites without any indication that something is amiss. However, there are several measures you can take to protect yourself and your organization from pharming attacks:

  1. Keep Your Software Up to Date: Ensure that your operating system, web browser, and antivirus software are always up to date with the latest security patches. This helps to mitigate vulnerabilities that attackers may exploit.

  1. Use DNSSEC: Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) is a suite of extensions that add an extra layer of security to the DNS. DNSSEC ensures that DNS data is authenticated and cannot be tampered with, reducing the risk of DNS cache poisoning attacks.

  1. Be Cautious with Email Links: Avoid clicking on links in emails, especially those that appear suspicious or unsolicited. Instead, type the URL directly into your browser's address bar to ensure you are accessing the legitimate website.

  1. Use HTTPS: Look for the "https://" in the website URL, along with the padlock icon in the browser's address bar. HTTPS encrypts data transmitted between your browser and the website, making it more challenging for attackers to intercept sensitive information.

  1. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enabling MFA to add an extra layer of security to your accounts by requiring multiple forms of verification before granting access. Even if attackers obtain your login credentials, MFA prevents unauthorized access.

  1. Monitor Your Online Accounts: Regularly review your online accounts for any suspicious activity. If you notice any unauthorized transactions or changes in account information, report it immediately to the respective service provider.

  1. Use a Reputable DNS Service: Ensure that you use a trusted and reputable DNS service provider that employs security measures to prevent pharming attacks.


Pharming is a sneaky cyber-attack that can have severe consequences for individuals and organizations alike. By understanding how pharming works and implementing preventive measures, you can safeguard yourself from falling victim to such attacks. Stay vigilant, keep your software up to date, and follow cybersecurity best practices to protect your online presence and personal information from malicious actors. In the digital landscape, a proactive approach to cybersecurity is the key to staying safe and secure online. Stay one step ahead of cyber threats. Contact CyberNX now to fortify your defenses against Pharming attacks and secure your online presence. Don't wait, protect your data today!

Author - Rutuja


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