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Pharming Attacks Pose New Threat

Pharming Attacks Pose New Threat


Pharming attacks are on the increase and pose a similar level of risk as phishing scams.


High street banks have already been the target of so called pharming attacks. The scams involve the use of a virus to divert online banking customers to fake websites which ask for their personal details in a similar fashion to regular phishing scams.

The difference between the two methods revolves around the use of a virus or otherwise malicious script to divert users in pharming attacks.

The "Troj/BankAsh-A" virus is a recent example of one such pharming attack and UK banks - Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and Natwest were all targets of the scam.

The virus that triggers the attack is installed on the victims' computers before the attack takes place. Once the victim attempts to logon to their online banking site, the virus script is triggered and they are forwarded to the malicious account detail-capturing website.

The greatest problem in pharming attacks is detection: browsers cannot detect the presence of pharming viruses and will give no warning when the victim is forwarded to the fake website.

A representative from the British payment clearing services body APACS stated that no banks as yet had reported losses from pharming attacks and stated that the organisation continuously looks into ways to improve security options.


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