Home » Alerts » What is Pharming and how can you stay away from it?

If someday you plan to go to a mall but end up in a vegetable market, then that’s a situation of bad directional judgment. In the digital world or computer world, but, we call it pharming!

What is the mechanism of Pharming?

Phishing is an online scam where a hacker sends fake emails to the targeted victim. The emails pose as real communication from a trusted firm such as a bank. The objective of these emails is to lure the victim into browsing a fake website and giving out sensitive data like bank account details.

Now, phishing has a sneakier cousin called pharming; it is harder to detect and is a greater threat to a person’s life and their valuable assets. Unlike phishing, it does not use a lure such as emails, but secretly redirects the victim to a forge website, even if they have manually typed in the real web address. In most cases, the forged website is developed to look like the real one, for instance a bank’s website. And if the user falls for it, then they might give away their confidential personal or bank account details, which would be then demoralized by the hacker.


To do pharming attack, a pharmer may either negotiate your PC by installing infected software in it, or by infecting the server linked to your PC.

Tips to secure Your PC from Pharming

  1. Whenever you explore a banking or e-commerce website, search for a “locked padlock” icon somewhere in the window of the URL, and make sure that the site’s URL starts with “https”. Presence of these two symbols signifies that you are on a secured website.
  2. It is also important to make sure that the website has a proper certificate of authority by a trusted service like Inc., VeriSign, Inc., GeoTrust, Inc., Entrust, etc. The certificate must show the correct name of the website you are in. You can verify this certificate by clicking on the “padlock” icon in the browser’s address bar, as you can explore in the screenshots below.
  3. After you land on a website, look at its URL. For example, if you type in “www.google.com” and land up on the Google homepage but with a URL “www.goglee.com”, then see it as a pharming thing. Do not go any further.
  4. Note that, pharming websites generally ask for “extra” details. For example, if your bank’s website asks for your user id, ATM pin, password, debit card number, transaction password, contact details, etc. all at once, then it is most likely to be a pharming website.
  5. Keep a track record of your bank statements every month.
  6. Use multilayer security for your PC, and always keep the safety software up to date. Also, use the latest version of your browser, as they come with fixes for recently identified security loopholes.
  7. Keep yourself updated about the newest safety threats and updates.

Although pharming is not as old or occur as phishing, it offers a large avenue for cyber criminals to target their victims. McAfee security solutions offer extensive security against phishing, pharming and numerous other cyber security threats, across mobile and desktop platforms. The after sale service of McAfee is also amazing. Simply contact McAfee Customer Support for any kind of issue regarding installation and configuration of McAfee Antivirus.