These days, hackers don’t even need malware to steal from companies. They simply use social engineering methods like spoofing and pharming to target a company’s weakest links – its employees.

These methods are much easier for adversaries and can net them a ton of money.

For example, one man was arrested for stealing $100 million from two technology enterprises using spoofing.

This guy was caught. In most cases, however, attackers get away with it.

Can you prevent your company from falling victim to these attacks?

Yes! You have to start by learning more about them.

What is Spoofing?

Spoofing is essentially a spear-phishing attack where threat actors impersonate devices or users on a network to carry out their activities.

Spoofing attacks can steal data, insert malware, and avoid access controls as they compromise an enterprise. Unfortunately enough, there are several kinds.

  • Email ID – This is the most recognizable one and involves attackers disguising “sender” fields to appear as if they are coming from a trusted source.
  • Caller IDs Such attacks mask phone numbers to portray them as trustworthy. 
  • Websites – In such attacks, hackers can create duplicate websites to fool users and steal information.
  • IP Addresses – Several networks use IP addresses to authenticate their users. Attackers can spoof these addresses to mask their identity and breach your systems.  
  • ARP Spoofing – The Address Resolution Protocol or ARP is a protocol connecting MAC (Media Access Controls) to IP addresses. Man-in-the-middle attacks are conducted by spoofing this.
  • DNS Server Spoofing – Adversaries can spoof Domain Name Systems to divert your network traffic to different IP addresses. This attack can result in malware infection.

What is a Pharming Attack?

In a pharming attack, pharmers direct online users to fake websites to steal information from them: passwords, usernames, credit card information. And also installing malware. 

They tend to mimic financial websites such as those of banking institutions, e-commerce platforms, and payment gateways.

How do they manage to fool both users and computers? 

Pharming targets traffic at the DNS level. Domain names are translated into IP names at DNS servers. 

The actual location of a website is its IP address. Web browsers connect to servers with this IP address.

DNS caches form when you visit servers, and both these caches and DNS servers may be corrupted by pharming.

There are two kinds of pharming attacks.

A) Malware-Based Pharming: Here, your computers may get infected with malware from malicious emails or downloads.

When you type in a website’s address, the malware can then re-route you to fake sites that are owned and controlled by an attacker.

The malware corrupts your computer’s localhost files.

B) DNS Server Poisoning: Your website requests are directed to the corrected IP address using Domain Name Systems. A corrupt or rogue DNS, however, can direct network traffic to fake IP addresses.

Such a pharming scam exploits vulnerabilities in the DNS servers and occurs at that level. 

Now that we think about it… Is there any difference between Spoofing, Pharming, and Phishing?

Yes, there are.

Phishing attacks use social engineering to get users to click on malicious links or attachments.

Spoofing or Pharming, on the other hand, duplicates an address to bypass its defenses.

Much like phishing schemes, spoofing is often used as a gateway tactic that initiates a more massive cyberattack. 

Practical Guide to Preventing Spoofing and Pharming

By now, you must know that both spoof and pharming work by seeking to mislead you.

In the case of spoofing, attackers know that your employees are the weakest link in your security posture.

You can start protecting yourself against spoofing attacks by conducting employee education programs. Along with that, the following tools can also help prevent spoofing:

  • An antivirus program with packet filtering can analyze data packets to filter out data conflicting with source addresses. Packet filtering can prevent IP spoofing attacks.
  • Have a zero-trust approach so that all network connections are verified, and attackers are weeded out.
  • HTTPS everywhere, TLS, SSH, and other forms of encryption can prevent spoofing by encrypting data before transmission and authenticating on receipt.

That should help counter spoofing. Let’s move on to pharming.

To prevent pharming, there are precautions you can take like:

  1. Make sure that the sites you visit have <https> in their web addresses (Check for a lock sign).
  2. Stay away from suspicious websites (as grammatical errors and typos). 
  3. Avoid opening links and attachments you were not expecting.
  4. Enable Two-factor authentication (2FA) for all risky situations (financial transactions).
  5. Choose a reputable ISP to avoid DNS-based attacks. 
  6. Use a VPN service with proper DNS servers.
  7. Change the default passwords on routers and wireless access points.

Spoofing and pharming are dangerous but can be beaten.

That’s why we’re happy to announce that our cutting edge network security capacities ensure that you never fall victim to these attacks.

Want to work in peace? 

Contact us today to learn more about it!