Feeds

Phishing morphs into pharming

Nascent threat worries security researchers

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Fraudsters and mischief makers are developing more insidious techniques for tricking users into visiting bogus websites. Rather than using spam to con prospective victims into clicking their way to illicit sites - so called phishing attacks - internet ne'er-do-wells are using DNS poisoning or domain hijacks to redirect users to dodgy urls.

The trick - dubbed pharming - is potentially more sinister than phishing because it avoids the need to coax users into responding to junk email alerts. The attacks also occur across a broader front, potentially misdirecting all email and web traffic away from victims. Gerhard Eschelbeck, CTO of Qualys, cited the recent hijack of New York ISP Panix as typical of the type of threat that might emerge. Eschelbeck reckons the use of redirection attacks remains largely the domain of mischief makers. Other security commentators ascribe darker motives. "Pharming is a next-generation phishing attack," Scott Chasin, CTO of MX Logic, told Government Computer News.

Both experts agree that pharming is simply a new application of well-known security weaknesses. It highlights security loopholes that can only be partly addressed by better browser security. Improved browser security to prevent address spoofing or crypto plug-in to verify the digital certificates of sites might help. Banking sites could adopt two-factor authentication as a comprehensive defence. More fundamentally, the nascent threat of pharming re-emphasises the need to revamp DNS systems and domain registration that critics argue is long overdue. ®

Related stories

Probably the simplest phishing trick in the world
Panix recovers from domain hijack
The aftermath of a domain name hijack

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?