Difference Between Phishing vs Pharming
Phishing is sending somebody a fake email and asking him to share the sensitive information such as username, password, and bank details and so on. The phishing website is totally unauthentic. On the other hand, the pharmers usually hack the Domain Name System (DNS) of a genuine website in pharming. The user opens an imposter site which is a replica of the real website. Phishing is a more commonly committed crime whereas pharming does not occur very frequently
You must be aware of the threats regarding cybercrime. These days the hackers have become very shrewd and are resorting to new techniques for stealing confidential information from personal computers and laptops. One of the methodologies adopted to achieve the unlawful act is Phishing. It is an illegal procedure through which a hacker or any person acquires information about confidential/sensitive subject secretly. It may be a username, password or credit/ debit card details, etc. Phishing is said to be a part of the cybercrime. It is to be remembered that the intention of acquiring sensitive information is malignant.
The aim of committing such a crime is to victimize the consumers through sending fraud emails which often contain the virus. As such the phisher sends bulk emails that may seem to be authentic in the first instance. For example, people may get emails that inform them of a lottery prize from a bank or any other renowned company. The sender usually asks for your personal information such as name, address, phone number, email and most importantly your bank details. Of late, phishing has become quite common, victimizing a number of people in the process.
However, various measures have been undertaken to curb this cyber threat such as making people aware and cautions from such fraud emails and not to trust them blindly, offering to train to users to tackle such incidents, improving the security level of the websites, legislation and much more. Phishing comes within the category of social engineering and as such it has also targeted social media websites like Facebook, YouTube or Twitter to swindle the users.
Advent of Phishing
The first major target of the phishers was American Online Accounts (AOL). They wanted to secretly get information on the accounts. With that intent in mind, they introduced themselves as AOL employees to their target victims and send messages requesting the later to submit their login and password. Once the user fell into their trap, it became easy to fulfill their evil intention. They got engaged in a number of cyber-related crimes such as sending bulk spam emails, software containing malware and so on.
Taking a step further in this process, they resorted to some other illegal activities like encouraging the internet users to browse fake websites whose URL was not legitimate. In fact, they also took undue advantage of the grammatical and spelling mistakes. With the passage of time, the phishing business became technologically advanced and it became very difficult for the authorities to detect the errors. But it is a matter of grave concern that several governmental and military websites are being targeted through phishing with the aim of stealing the confidential information.
Loss of Wealth Every Year
It is quite unfortunate that many financial institutions such as banks, renowned and trusted companies, and even governments are incurring huge losses per year due to the illicit activity of phishing. The loss has been estimated at billions.
Detailed Categorization of Phishing Techniques
Now it is important or you to understand the different types of phishing techniques that the hackers usually adapt to deceive the users. This will indeed, help you in remaining alert and attentive if you come across any such incident in the near future. In any case, do not respond to any such mail which claims to turn you into a millionaire overnight. Some of the important types of phishing techniques include-
When the phishers or hackers aim to target the senior executives and other high ranked officials of a well-reputed company such as Chairman, CEO or CFO, this activity is referred to as the whaling. It can be explained by a simple example. It is usually written to the higher authorities with a false claim regarding the company’s concern. The content of the email is usually some kind of customer complaint. The hackers can send a URL and request the authority to download and install the software so that they can view the subpoena. Therefore, the company management needs to be very careful about such emails so that they are not trapped in the net. This can lead to financial loss for the company.
Filter Evasion is a new method developed by the Phishers to perpetuate their unlawful activity. In this procedure, they make use of the pictures or photos rather than the text. This technique has been developed to challenge the anti-phishing authorities who identify fraud emails or spam. However, advanced technology has introduced medicines to combat such diseases. It has launched a more modernized version of anti-phishing filters to detect such images using Optical Character Recognition (OCR). On the other hand, these authorities also use Intelligent Word Recognition (IWR) helpful in identifying the cursive and various styles of handwriting. However, this technique will not substitute OCR.
These types of phishing techniques are conducted with intending to attack individual users or even a company. In fact, it has been recognized as one of the most common phishing processes in recent times. Hackers aim to gather personal information of the persons through fake emails. However, beware of any such email from an unknown person.
This is a kind of technical sham wherein a fraud email will ask to click on a link to a spoofed website of any bogus company. However, when you open the URL, you won’t doubt that it is a phished website. The hackers conduct this illegal act either by using wrong spellings on the link or by using a false sub-domain to trap their prey. When you open a particular page on a site, it seems that you are viewing that specific page but the truth is that it is linked up with some other website. In addition, you must have come across emails that show where the link will take you further. The phishers also take advantage of some international domain names which are tough to identify.
Phone phishing techniques are yet another common methodology that does not require any internet connection to commit the crime. The phishers first identify their victims and then make fake phone calls especially posing themselves as bank managers or their staff. They usually befool people by saying that their bank account has developed a problem and they ask for complete banking info including the credit or debit card details and pin number. They get an IP during the conversation and then take out all money from the person’s account leaving him bankrupt. Therefore, never share your banking details with an unknown person over the phone.
As the name suggests, it is a cyberattack on the website conducted with the help of an email or any link. The phishers often target a genuine email which was previously active. They develop an identical clone of that mail or link and replace it with the pirated version containing malware. Now they will send an email to their target from the forged id and the user presumes that it is an original email. To complete their malicious intentions, the hackers usually use a computer or laptop which is infected with the virus.
Covert Redirect is one of the phishing techniques through which these shrewd hackers get personal information from the victims when the later visits their fake website. However, this can only be done with the user allows authorizing the app on the site. When you do so, the phishers get a token from the accessibility to confidential information becomes very easy.
Aside from these phishing techniques, the phishers can adopt for some other methods too. These include Evil Twins, Tab nabbing and getting bank details information.
Now let us discuss pharming. In simple terms, it is described as a type of cybercrime in which the web traffic of a genuine site is transported to another malicious website. This kind of cyber attack is more associated with the technical aspects. In this case, the host’s file on the victim’s computer can be altered. The attackers can also take advantage of the drawback of DNS server software. Pharming becomes easier if the attackers get access to a computer system which is not secured. Therefore, computers installed at home can be easily targeted in comparison to the corporate systems having a protected server.
As phishing has been derived from the word ‘fishing’ similarly, pharming has been derived from the term farming. According to the latest reports, both phishing vs pharming has become one of the major looming threats for the internet and cyber word. Pharming basically victimizes online businesses such as E-Commerce websites and transactions via the internet. However, a few steps were initiated to curtail this malignant act by introducing antivirus software or spyware removal but, unfortunately, nothing proved to be effective.
Home Based Servers are Easy Targets
Home-based servers and personal computers are vulnerable and unprotected and thus, they easily come on the radar of the pharmers. There are a number of techniques using which the hackers can pharm but the most common is using the DNS cache poisoning method. The name of the website can be converted into digits which can be decoded with the help of the machine. For instance, www.product.com becomes a series of numerical like180.172. 1.1. This can pose bigger threats. One of the major reasons which make desktops easily vulnerable is their poor administration.
However, the concern does not end over here itself but there are some other vital drawbacks which certainly need to be pointed out. Often people compromise on the local network router. You need to understand that routers have a major role to play as far as cyber security is concerned. But if it is not a genuine router then it can spoil the DNS information. In such a circumstance, the pharmer will take control of the DNS server and all information will pass on to this illegal or bad server.
Another problem that may prop up is the change of firmware by the routers. In that scenario, the authorities will find difficulty in tracing the attacker. This is because the replaced firmware almost resembles the same including administration page, settings and so on.
A Few Incidents of Pharming
There have been a few major instances of pharming attacks which were reported and it came into limelight. Once such incident was the hacking of the domain name of New York ISP and it was linked with a website in Australia. However, no such financial loss was reported. It occurred in January 2005.
In yet another incident a complaint was lodged against a bank in Mexico indulged in pharming activity. The complainant was Symantec and it took place on January 2008. According to the report, DNS settings were altered from a customer’s computer at home after getting an email from Spain.
In phishing vs pharming both are a serious menace to the internet and cybersecurity. Although the software has been developed and new techniques are being introduced to eliminate such crimes, but people need to be aware, alert and attentive when they are using the internet in any form. Do not get trapped easily in the trap of these attackers.
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