Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Phishing is Yesterday’s News – Get Ready for Pharming

From today’s perspective, phishing attacks seem simpler and much less of a threat than the new breed of on-line attacks that are now being experienced. Phishing attacks, while adopting the persona of known on-line organizations, are easy to identify and can be shut down relatively quickly. Interestingly enough, organized crime has taken over perpetration of these attacks and their sophistication has increased significantly. Today, users face much more insidious forms of attack that are more difficult to detect and defend against.

This new breed of attack is commonly referred to as "pharming." Instead of simply tricking the user to respond to a bogus e-mail which directs them to a counterfeit web site, pharming uses much more subtle ways to trick the user in to surrendering their identity and sensitive information. These attacks use Trojan Horses to install keystroke readers and redirectors that allow an attacker to capture passwords and credit card numbers without the user having to do anything out of the ordinary.

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