Pharming (Definition)

Pharming is the deliberate corruption of DNS (domain name service) caches so that when a user types the name of a particular website into their browser (or other program), the user is misdirected to a forged website — typically with the intention of capturing personal user information.

SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificates offer some protection against pharming, since the https protocol can authenticate the identity of a website. However, a naïve user may not spot that a website should be secure when it isn't, or that this is a symptom of a pharming attack.

It should be remembered that protocols other than HTTP (e.g. POP3, IMAP, FTP) are vulnerable to pharming. Pharming can also be used to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks against vulnerable protocols.

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