Pharming is a phishing scam designed to infect numerous users simultaneously by redirecting them from a legitimate website to a fake alternative.

The fake website can be used to push malware to the victim device to compromise this and seek out account credentials or even personal data which may assist with identity theft.

The first method an attacker may use to attack a user is to install malicious code on a device with the intention of redirecting traffic from its intended target (e.g. Natwest) towards a fake version of that website so the attack can view this information.

The second, which is especially important if the attacker is aiming to circumvent the likelihood of detection from users running anti-malware software, is to use DNS poisoning.

A DNS poisoning attack involves manipulating vulnerabilities within a DNS server to redirect users to the fake, attacker version of a website rather than the legitimate one.

It is imperative that you use anti-virus software, and ensure it remains up to date so it can flag fraudulent websites that you might visit.

If you encounter a website that looks illegitimate, or if the website asks for an unusual amount of personal information, ensure that there is a green padlock in your address bar to ensure your data is encrypted, and validate that the address bar is spelt correctly.

Lastly, avoid navigating to websites from any links you may receive via email. Many of these links will take you to a login page or ask for some validation to authenticate with the service. However, this is an attacker’s prime opportunity to spoof the website to fool a visitor. When in doubt, do not click the link. Instead, type it out yourself into your address bar to verify that it is legitimate.

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