Computer Crime Research Center


Get Up, Stand Up, Pharming Is On The Rise

Date: August 09, 2005
By: Gary Gresham

Pharming is one of the latest online scams and rapidly growing threat that has been showing up on the Internet. It’s a new way for criminals to try to get into your computer so they can steal your personal data.

Phishing and pharming are related online scams but pharming has evolved into a much more sophisticated trick. Phishing scams involve sending you bogus e-mails that look like they are from a bank or another online business.

The ideal thing the criminal wants you to do is click on an e-mail link that takes you to a web site that looks authentic. Then, the instructions ask you to enter your password and account number. Once you do they get your sensitive personal data and they help themselves to your money.

The new pharming scam is similar to phishing scams but with a bit of a new twist. The pharming scam works by actually redirecting your Internet browser. That just means when you type a legitimate website address into a web address bar you are redirected without your knowledge to a bogus site that looks identical to the genuine site.

Once you log in with your login name and password, the information is immediately captured by the thief. The real danger of the new pharming scam is that you no longer have to click an email link for your personal information to be stolen.

You can obviously see how serious this scam could be. So to avoid becoming a new victim of the pharming scam here is a list of recommendations that may help you.

• Always use a secure website when you submit credit card or other sensitive information via your Web browser. The beginning of the Web address in your browsers address bar should be “https://” rather than just “http://” • Log into your online accounts on a regular basis. Check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure that all transactions are legitimate. If anything looks suspicious, contact your bank and all card issuers immediately.

• Regularly check that your browser is up to date and new security patches are applied. Go to the Microsoft Security home page at The easiest way to stay updated is click on the “Get updates for Windows automatically” link.

• Always report an entire original phishing email with its original header information intact to the Federal Trade Commission at [email protected]. Then, notify the Internet Fraud Complaint Center of the FBI by filing a complaint at$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01.

New security measures must continually be added to the Internet because criminals probe for any weakness they can find. Be aware of the latest online pharming scam so you won’t becoming a victim of this new threat.
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