Online Security - What is Pharming and how can you Prevent this Online Fraud?

When we look around we are amazed at the speed with which the world is changing. Online fraud techniques such as Pharming and other cyber-crime attacks are at all time high. To overcome such challenges, we need to at least have some basic understanding of these terms. The intention of this informational document is to approach the problem with a solution.


What is Pharming


Pharming redirects Internet users from legitimate websites to malicious ones using a strategy called DNS Cache Poisoning – where corrupt data is inserted into the cache database of a DNS.


The attacker uses several ways to carry out pharming attacks, one of the most popular way is to modify the Host file. The Pharmer covertly hijacks your computer and takes you to a forged website. Your browser may display the legitimate URL, but you will not be on the legitimate server. This, in most cases, is a page that looks identical to that of your bank, financial institution or online shopping websites like, eBay, or Amazon. Here, the attacker seeks your confidential information like credit card numbers, account passwords, etc.


The Hosts fi­le allows storing IP & domain names to speed up sur­fing and avoid consulting a DNS server. So, every time a user enters the address into the browser, the PC accesses the Hosts fi­le fi­rst and, if it ­finds this domain name, it takes up the IP address of a website. Now if the Hosts file is modified, the user will be redirected to the wrong website, where the attacker will be waiting to steals the credentials.


To carry out a pharming attack, the attacker typically makes use of the following:


1.       A Batch Script to write the malicious IP and domain names onto the Hosts ­files.


2.      A Joiner to join the batch ­file onto another fi­le


3.      A Code Obfuscator to help the executable escape detection from anti-virus software.


Phishing vs Pharming


You need to be clear about the difference between Pharming and Phishing. Phishing attacks start with the receipt of an e-mail asking you to visit a website where you may get compromised. Pharming attacks start at the DNS server level where you are redirected to a malicious website.


How to mitigate Pharming attack


Use an anti-virus program which protects you from unauthorized alterations of the Host file is one way. Also, you should regularly patch your operating system and the installed software.



More sophisticated pharming attacks target the DNS server which is usually handled by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). In such a scenario, a user has few options at hand to handle the risk and he can do little against it, except using trustworthy DNS servers.


Online Security The Email Edge: The New Cyber Crime

An email pops up in your inbox, saying you have a date in court. And it uses your first name. Pretty alarming, no? Not to worry — courts don’t communicate that way. It’s a scam — a variant of one that apparently has spread from Australia and the UK. But the purpose isn’t to bilk you out of money — it’s to steal your identity and get you to click on malicious links.


Welcome to the new spam, a phenomenon that threatens consumers and companies alike. Such schemes have long existed, but they are now more insidious, thanks to improved technology and the boundless creativity of the perpetrators.  


For example, the Internal Revenue Service warned this week that thousands of taxpayers’ W-2 records have been compromised. 


“This particular scam, sometimes referred to as business email spoofing (BES), reportedly first appeared last year, said the IRS,” reports. “Cybercriminals send emails to employees in payroll and human resources (HR) using slightly modified email addresses to make it appear as if the emails are coming from an organization executive, said the IRS. The email requests a list of all employees and their W-2 forms.” continues that the scam has “evolved beyond affecting just the corporate world and has spread to other sectors, including school districts, the health care sector, temp agencies and nonprofits, among others.”


It used to be that fraud artists rented an email sucker’s list: Many still do. But it’s expensive, and not as reliable as it once was. Anyway, why risk the liability to both sender and vendor? There are better ways.


Take the “snowshoe spamming” allegedly conducted by Michael A. Persaud. Persaud was indicted on federal charges this week, according to Krebs on Security.


“The Justice Department says Persaud sent well over a million spam emails to recipients in the United States and abroad,” Krebs on Security writes. “Prosecutors charge that Persaud often used false names to register the domains, and he created fraudulent “From:” address fields to conceal that he was the true sender of the emails. The government also accuses Persaud of “illegally transferring and selling millions of email addresses for the purpose of transmitting spam.”


It gets worse.ZDNet reported yesterday that spammers can spoof Gmail accounts, and that Gmail can’t stop them. Renato Marinho, a researcher from Brazilian security firm Morphus Labs, claims that Gmail “doesn't filter or indeed even warn users about dodgy messages from a spoofed address,” according to ZDNet. “That is, the email appears to have come from a Gmail account, but actually came from a non-Gmail server. It's not hard to imagine the fun that hackers and spammers could have with this behavior.”


The solution? Stronger cybersecurity at companies and institutions of all kinds — to protect customers, employees, and everyone. 


Online Security - Keep your Online Identity Safe

No one is safe online. Everyone is vulnerable and it is your responsibility to establish precautionary measures to protect yourself against cyberattacks. Make yourself well informed and updated on different schemes which cybercriminals used to deceive online users.


The simple tips below should help ensure your security online without ruining the convenience online access offers:


1. Your passwords should be strong enough that it cannot be easily guessed by hackers. Do not use obvious passwords using your personal information or do not use the most common passwords that are ridiculously easy to guess. Moreover, make sure that you use different passwords for your online accounts because having similar passwords on all accounts makes it easier for hackers to steal your identity.


2. Updating your software is very important. There are many good reasons why you need to update your software, thus make sure to take time updating and installing new versions of it.


3. Phishers do have the capability to copy the exact interface of a certain website and lure you into one. They will do everything to obtain personal information from you using those fake sites. Closely examine the site you are accessing before logging in your account and before giving out any personal and financial information.


4. A recovery contact is very important at times where you can’t login to your account. Make sure to set an account recovery contact in case you can’t access your own account.


5. Take advantage of setting up a two-step authentication as it serves as an added security to your accounts and will prevent hackers from accessing your account easily.



Dangers and threats are lurking on the Internet and hackers are always on the hunt looking for someone to victimize. Make yourself invincible and hard to hack, follow the basic ways above and be updated on latest schemes cybercriminals used.


Tyre&Auto Southbourne Group Review - How to Choose the Best Tyres for your Vehicle

There is a multitude of tyres available on the market today and it might seem difficult to choose the right tyre for your vehicle. Tyre&Auto Southbourne Group, as a company committed to taking care of your car, can help you choose the best tyre for your car with their knowledge and skills in car servicing.


But first, just a short introduction to Tyre&Auto Southbourne Group - it is a family run company that offers services such as helping you look for good tyres without getting scammed, car servicing, MOTs, brake checks and free seasonal checks. For more than a decade, it has also been trading on the South Coast of Hampshire.


If you’re planning to renew the tyres of your vehicle and you need help in choosing the right one, Tyre&Auto can assist you. There are certain elements that should be taken into consideration regarding this matter, and it includes the size, climate and how you drive your vehicle.


You’ll not have a hard time knowing the size of the tyre because it is already indicated in its wall. There are also different types of important information that the sidewall of a tyre holds wherein you can determine the following:


- Date and place of production


- Speed


- Load capacity


- Size


Other significant details that you can find on the wall of the tyre include its section width, aspect ratio or profile, as well as its radius.


There are particular factors that could affect the life of your tyre and it involves when your mileage per annum is high or low, or when you drive in inner city conditions instead of motorways. Based on the criteria you gave, Tyre&Auto Southbourne Group can help you with your choice even if you drive in a sportier manner that could also affect the life of your tyre.



For further inquiries, give them a call today or visit their local depots, and their team will be happy to help you.


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