What does Pharming mean anyway?

Pharming is a portmanteau of the words “phishing” and “farming”, is an online scam similar to phishing but can often be more difficult to spot.

This is where a website’s traffic is manipulated, and confidential information is stolen.

In essence, it is the criminal act of producing a fake website and then redirecting users to it.

What is Pharming?

Pharming is a type of social engineering cyberattack in which criminals redirect internet users trying to reach a specific website to a different, fake site.

The “spoofed” sites aim to capture a victim’s personal information log-in credentials and possibly financial information.

Pharmers often target websites in the financial sector, including banks, online payment platforms, or e-commerce sites, usually with identity theft as their objective.

Different types of

Pharming Attacks

DNS Take-Over

DNS Take-Over is the process of the DNS Servers that your Internet connection uses to bring up web pages.

This allows hackers to infect a larger amount of people at once, instead of an individual machine they can corrupt the DNS and infect more people.

If you were just casually browsing websites and everything looked legit, you may have no way of knowing you were compromised.

DNS Take-overs used to be quite popular with Malware and ad-injecting systems that would take over search engines.

The fact this is possible highlights the importance of Cyber Security within your business.

Also imagine if the infection wasn’t just specific to your computers, what if your web server was compromised?

That would mean any visit to your website would have the potential to infect those clients / potential customers.

The prospect of other people losing data is scary, isn’t it?


As mentioned earlier, there was a time when Adware and Malware constantly took over search engines, this frequently led to altered DNS entries but this fraudulent activity has only increased recently.

These days the Malware is often planted by malicious software getting installed on either:

Smartphone, Tablet, or computer, typically from an email received but we’ve seen Malware attached itself to simple Pictures (Jpg images).

How to spot a Pharming attack?

Always attempt to take the steps to protect yourself.

Like phishing attacks, a pharming attack is often difficult to know you’re a victim until it is too late.

Here are a few signs that you may have been a victim:

  • debit card, Credit Card, or PayPal payments showing on your account that you haven’t authorised.

  • Social Media Posts or Messages you do not recognise and friend requests you don’t remember making.

  • Passwords altered on online accounts you’ve no idea about.

  • New Apps appear that you didn’t install or recognise.

If any of these throw red flags in your mind then I would contact your bank, run checks on your devices for Malware or anything unrecognised installed.

You should clear your DNS Cache or speak to your Internet Service Provider or IT Support Company.

I hope we answered what is Pharming for you.

Remember it can be very dangerous to your devices and business and even for your clients or prospects.

You can avoid becoming a victim by having great IT Support in place that can be trusted.

Let Hamilton Systems Solutions perform a Cyber Security Risk Assessment, this will help you know your business is secure.

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Published On: January 2nd, 2022 / Categories: Security, Business Security, Windows 10, Windows 11 / Tags: , /