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CAPEC-89: Pharming

Attack Pattern ID: 89
Abstraction: Standard
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
A pharming attack occurs when the victim is fooled into entering sensitive data into supposedly trusted locations, such as an online bank site or a trading platform. An attacker can impersonate these supposedly trusted sites and have the victim be directed to his site rather than the originally intended one. Pharming does not require script injection or clicking on malicious links for the attack to succeed.
+ Likelihood Of Attack


+ Typical Severity

Very High

+ Relationships

The table(s) below shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf, ParentOf, MemberOf and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as CanFollow, PeerOf, and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar attack patterns that the user may want to explore.

+ Relevant to the view "Mechanisms of Attack" (CAPEC-1000)
ChildOfMeta Attack PatternMeta Attack Pattern - A meta level attack pattern in CAPEC is a decidedly abstract characterization of a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. A meta attack pattern is often void of a specific technology or implementation and is meant to provide an understanding of a high level approach. A meta level attack pattern is a generalization of related group of standard level attack patterns. Meta level attack patterns are particularly useful for architecture and design level threat modeling exercises.151Identity Spoofing
CanFollowDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.142DNS Cache Poisoning
+ Execution Flow
  1. Attacker sets up a system mocking the one trusted by the users. This is usually a website that requires or handles sensitive information.

  2. The attacker then poisons the resolver for the targeted site. This is achieved by poisoning the DNS server, or the local hosts file, that directs the user to the original website

  3. When the victim requests the URL for the site, the poisoned records direct the victim to the attackers' system rather than the original one.

  4. Because of the identical nature of the original site and the attacker controlled one, and the fact that the URL is still the original one, the victim trusts the website reached and the attacker can now "farm" sensitive information such as credentials or account numbers.

+ Prerequisites
Vulnerable DNS software or improperly protected hosts file or router that can be poisoned
A website that handles sensitive information but does not use a secure connection and a certificate that is valid is also prone to pharming
+ Skills Required
[Level: Medium]
The attacker needs to be able to poison the resolver - DNS entries or local hosts file or router entry pointing to a trusted DNS server - in order to successfully carry out a pharming attack. Setting up a fake website, identical to the targeted one, does not require special skills.
+ Resources Required
None: No specialized resources are required to execute this type of attack. Having knowledge of the way the target site has been structured, in order to create a fake version, is required. Poisoning the resolver requires knowledge of a vulnerability that can be exploited.
+ Consequences

The table below specifies different individual consequences associated with the attack pattern. The Scope identifies the security property that is violated, while the Impact describes the negative technical impact that arises if an adversary succeeds in their attack. The Likelihood provides information about how likely the specific consequence is expected to be seen relative to the other consequences in the list. For example, there may be high likelihood that a pattern will be used to achieve a certain impact, but a low likelihood that it will be exploited to achieve a different impact.

Read Data
+ Mitigations
All sensitive information must be handled over a secure connection.
Known vulnerabilities in DNS or router software or in operating systems must be patched as soon as a fix has been released and tested.
End users must ensure that they provide sensitive information only to websites that they trust, over a secure connection with a valid certificate issued by a well-known certificate authority.
+ Example Instances

An online bank website requires users to provide their customer ID and password to log on, but does not use a secure connection.

An attacker can setup a similar fake site and leverage pharming to collect this information from unknowing victims.

+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2014-06-23CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2015-12-07CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2017-05-01CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Related_Weaknesses
2017-08-04CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Resources_Required

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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: July 31, 2018