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Online transactions? Beware of 'pharming'

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May 07, 2008 19:32 IST

Internet users now will have to be more watchful while carrying out their online financial transactions as pharming -- a new security threat used by hackers for making financial gains, has started surfacing in the country with the proliferation of Internet subscribers.

"Pharming attack is a new security threat for the Internet users, which is developing in the country and it is primarily launched by the hackers on the websites for getting financial gains," Cyber Security Research Centre, Associate Coordinator, Divya Bansal said.

Pharming is a term used when criminal hackers redirect Internet traffic from one web site to a different, identical-looking site in order to allure the user into entering his user name and password into the database on their fake site, Divya said.

Criminals or hackers try to acquire personal information in order to access the user's bank account, steal his identity, or commit other kinds of fraud in his name, so banking and similar financial sites are often the targets of these attacks, she said.

Although there are some incidents of pharming happening in the country, they have not been largely reported, she said, while adding that the problem could further deepen because of growing usage of Internet in India.

India has about 4 million Internet subscribers and 11 million users. Agreeing that it is a new security threat, Microsoft Corporation Limited, Director (Corporate Affairs) Deepak Maheshwari said, "This is just an extension of phishing which has a motive of making money."

While delivering a lecture on 'Building trust in computing' organised by CII in Chandigarh, Department of Information Technology, Additional Director, Sanjeev Sofat said that in India at present spam, phishing attacks and identity theft are the major threats being faced by Internet subscribers.

He said that India is ranked 14th amongst countries hoisting phishing websites, while it accounts for 1 per cent in terms of spams emerging in 25 countries.

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