The Internet is an extremely broad field that increasingly surprises us with its evolution. Its utility has benefited generations in routine activities where tons of processes were previously needed. Despite its wonders, it comes with downsides where a range of computer engineering techniques are developed daily to take advantage of the vulnerabilities of people, companies, and their employees.
In this article, we will focus on explaining a modern form of attack that could affect anyone within a company, where all are important preys.
If you inadvertently click on a mistrustful internet link or connect to an online account without ensuring the authenticity of the website, you may become a victim of an attack. Although users have become more careful about opening links in emails, attackers are constantly trying new methods, such as pharming.
Considered an evolution of phishing, pharming is a type of attack that consists of redirecting a user's requests to fraudulent websites. To host them, attackers operate huge "server farms," hence the name for this form of fraud. Its name spelling "ph" is borrowed from jargon in hacker circles.
How does pharming work?
The redirection of the user's request is done by manipulating the DNS protocol. The protocol converts the hostname (URL) to a numeric IP address. This conversion process offers criminals two points of attack to divert the allocation.
The difference between phishing and pharming:
In phishing, attackers take advantage of the good faith of email users, using social engineering methods. Users receive emails that, at first glance, provide plausible reasons to share the data, for example, to verify their account or to accept new terms and conditions.
In pharming, the attack is not carried out through email communication, but already in the browser. It is not necessary to infiltrate any type of malware in the victim's computer.
However, the result can be identical in both cases: the user inadvertently sends confidential information to the scammers, who use it for financial gain.
As we can see it has certain similarities with phishing. However, in this case, pharming is more sophisticated since it can generate a wider network and affect more users in a short period of time, targeting the entire company.
Although compared to phishing, pharming has a different modus operandi, and it is more difficult to detect because it is not just a fake link that we receive. In both cases, the victim would not be able to recognize, at least initially, a false page.
What negative effects does pharming bring to companies?
Every business should consider the negative impact of pharming and take its growing threat seriously. A data breach caused by pharming can have serious consequences for businesses, including devastating monetary losses and disruption of their normal operations.
Any work stoppage will result in even more negative financial repercussions and will negatively affect employee morale and efficiency.
Furthermore, there is nothing more valuable to companies than their confidential, internal, and customer data. If these are compromised, your operations and reputation will suffer. As a result, the company will lose current customers and have a harder time attracting new ones.
The National Cybersecurity Alliance disturbingly reported that up to 60% of small and medium-sized businesses that suffer a significant cyberattack will close within six months.
Tips to Protect Against Pharming
People who wish to protect themselves from pharming cannot take specific measures for each method. It is recommended to follow the same security tips that can also protect against many other cyberattacks.
Additionally, create an extra security barrier by activating a two-step authentication.
All people should be aware of these techniques to prevent hackers from accessing business accounts, using the data, or selling it on the black market. Common sense and the support of a cybersecurity company will allow you to face risks, avoiding being cornered by criminals.
THETA432 is committed to studying these attacks and fighting them for you. We will keep you informed on what is happening and will establish the best plans and strategies to safeguard the security of your information and systems. Do not wait until it is too late! Request an evaluation today and see why we are your best alternative!
Jorge Daniel Tejeda