What Cops Know
Pharming

As if phishing scams aren’t worrisome enough, there’s another new twist to keep you awake at night: pharming.

Pharming’s a bit like phishing, but harder to detect. Phishing is when someone sends you an email claiming to be from eBay, Paypal or a bank or another company with which you do business. The emails includes a clickable link that takes you to a Web site designed to look like it belongs to the business. Once there, you’re urged to provide information ranging from account and social security numbers to passwords.

To avoid falling victim to a phishing scam, all you have to do is avoid clicking on the hot link and filling out the requested information. Pharming is different in that it actually implants software into the recipient’s computer itself or corrupts servers directing Internet traffic so that legitimate traffic is sent to fake addresses.

Pharming works because it replaces the numerical address of the site you are trying to reach with a fake one that takes you to another site mirroring the authentic one.

 How can you tell if you are on a real site? Try this:

·      Make sure the site displays a padlock symbol.

·      Click on the lock symbol.

·      Check the address displayed. Is it the one you are trying to reach?

·      Don’t neglect to check the portion that starts with: http. In this case, it should start as “https.”

The simple act of keeping your antivirus program and firewall up-to-date can go a long way toward preventing pharming.