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Phishing vs. Pharming

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With more people relying on technology for most aspects of their lives, it is important to be aware of cyber security threats. Two common cyber threats are Phishing and pharming. Both can cause significant damage, but they have different methods of attack that should be understood. Let’s look at the differences between these two threats so you can be better prepared to protect your online information.


What is Phishing?

Phishing is a kind of cyberattack in which a perpetrator tries to coerce a victim into divulging private information, such as passwords or credit card details, by seeming to be a reliable source.

It is one of the most widespread types of online fraud and can be applied to identity theft or other nefarious actions. The attacker will typically send out an email with a link to a fraudulent website that looks like the real thing but is not. If the recipient clicks on the link, they may be asked to enter personal information such as usernames and passwords, which can then be used to steal money or other assets.

Phishing attacks can also come in text messages, instant messages, or even phone calls pretending to be from legitimate companies or organizations such as banks or government agencies.


Working of Phishing

In a phishing attack, a hacker pretends to be a trustworthy organization, such as a bank, email service provider, or social networking platform in order to fool a user into disclosing personal information, like login passwords or credit card details.

Phishing exploits the user’s trust in a familiar or trusted entity. The attacker typically sends an email, instant message, or text message that appears to be from a legitimate source, with a message that creates a sense of urgency or fear, such as warning the user of an account compromise or an impending deadline.

The message will usually contain a link to a fake website that mimics the appearance of the legitimate site. When a user submits their login credentials or other sensitive information on the bogus website, the attacker can intercept that information and exploit it to gain access to the user’s account or commit other fraudulent activities.

Phishing attacks can also take the form of phone calls, known as “vishing,” or text messages, known as “smishing.” In these attacks, the attacker will pose as a representative of a legitimate entity, such as a bank or a government agency, and attempt to elicit the user’s sensitive information over the phone or via text message.

To protect against phishing attacks, users should be cautious when receiving unsolicited messages and verify that the message is from a legitimate source. They should also hover over links in messages to check that the URL matches the legitimate site. They should only enter sensitive information on a website if they are certain it is legitimate. Organizations can also implement multi-factor authentication and provide security awareness training for their employees to help prevent phishing attacks.


How Can You Protect Yourself Against Phishing Attacks?

Being cautious whenever you share personal information online is the best defense against phishing attacks. Be suspicious of any emails or text messages that request your personal information even if they appear to come from legitimate sources.  You should also ensure your computer has up-to-date antivirus software installed and avoid using public Wi-Fi networks whenever possible since these are more vulnerable to attack than private ones.


What is Pharming?

Pharming is a cyber-attack that uses malicious software to redirect people to fraudulent websites without their knowledge or consent. It is an increasingly common attack, with criminals using it to steal personal information, spread malware, or even commit financial fraud.


How Does Pharming Work?

In a typical pharming attack, criminals will use malicious code to hijack a website or server’s Domain Name System (DNS). This means that when someone types in a URL or clicks on a link in an email, they are redirected to a different website than they intended. This new website may be designed to look like the legitimate one, but hackers have created it to steal personal information or commit other forms of fraud.

It is vital to remember that pharming attacks can target mobile devices like smartphones and tablets in addition to online browsers. Furthermore, pharming can be used with other cyber-attacks such as Phishing and ransomware. It is also possible for attackers to gain access to your computer through malware-infected emails or downloads.


Protect Yourself from Pharming Attacks

You can take a number of precautions to safeguard yourself from pharming attacks:

  • Use strong passwords: Use complex passwords that include upper case letters, numbers, and symbols whenever possible.
  • Keep your software up-to-date: Ensure all the software on your device is kept up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates from the manufacturer.
  • Avoid clicking on unfamiliar links: Only click on links sent via email or text message if you recognize the sender. It is always best practice to type in URLs manually into your browser instead of clicking on them directly in emails or messages.
  • Install antivirus software: Installing antivirus software on your device can help detect any malicious programs before they have a chance to cause any damage.

Comparison between Phishing and Pharming


In phishing, the attacker makes an unauthorized attempt to access victims’ sensitive information through electronic communication. Pharming is a more sophisticated method of obtaining users’ login information by making an effort to log them into the website.
It is an attempt to defraud individuals via email or instant message. To steal information, it merely diverts traffic from one website to another that has the exact same design.
It is fraudulent email. It shares characteristics with email phishing.
In this kind of fraud, the victim is duped into sending personal information by email or text message. It is a fraud that uses domain spoofing to collect sensitive information about individuals.
It is really simple to start and recognize. It is more challenging to complete and pinpoint.
It involves a phoney email with a link to a website that requests users’ personal information. It taints the DNS server and directs users to various websites.
It uses mail It uses websites.
Vishing, smishing, and fax phishing are some other data stealing techniques used in phishing. Data theft techniques used in pharming include DNS spoofing, DNS hijacking, and DNS cache poisoning.
False links and other lures are used in phishing. In phishing, the DNS server is negotiated with to direct consumers to a phoney domain. Once the hacker has successfully attacked the website’s DNS during pharming, the main stream of traffic is rerouted there.
It targets individuals one at a time. It concurrently targets big populations of people.


Understanding the difference between Phishing and pharming can help you stay safe online. Phishing involves receiving emails that appear legitimate but have malicious intent. At the same time, pharming refers to redirecting users from trusted websites without their knowledge for malicious purposes, such as collecting personal information for identity theft or financial gain.

By staying alert for suspicious emails or website addresses, avoiding clicking links in emails unless you know where they will lead you, using up-to-date antivirus software on your devices, and making sure your browser automatically updates itself with security patches regularly, you can help protect yourself against these types of cyberattacks. With a little education and preparation, you can stay safe online.

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