Pharming, and the threat of identity theft


Article from Issue 67/2006
Author(s): , Author(s):

The pharmers and phishers are after your precious financial infor-mation. We’ll show you how to protect your interests.

Phishing is the art of tricking unsuspecting Internet users into giving up personal and financial information. This nefarious game has brought big rewards to a new generation of cyber con men. But phishing is only one of several tools in a bigger bag of tricks. This article examines some popular techniques for identity theft and shows what you can do to stay ahead of the threat. Phishing and Pharming Phishing uses tricks like spoofed email to tempt unsuspecting users into visiting rogue sites, where they are asked to enter personal data such as passwords or PIN numbers. Phishing attacks occur in two phases: in Phase One, the user is tricked into visiting the attacker’s web server. Attackers use various initial vectors to attract victims. In Phase Two, the user is prompted to enter the personal data. This part of the attack is often referred to as visual spoofing. The best known initial vectors are email spoofing and cross site scripting (XSS), where the attacker misuses the website of a trusted third party to initiate the attack. In all of these cases, the attack relies on the victim playing along and would fail without the victim’s compliance.

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