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Some Internet threats try to access your computer when you are surfing or navigating websites on the Internet. Several online activities need your extra-caution in order to avoid falling victim to a malicious website.

Pharming is a relatively new malicious technique directed to stealing personal information and sensitive data. It is similar to phishing but eliminates the e-mail “baits”, instead compromising the victim’s system by secretly installing malicious code on the computer or modifying the hosts file (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosts_(file)#Location_in_the_file_system for location of the hosts file). Alternatively, the cyber offender use DNS cache poisoning to compromise the DNS server. On a computer that fell victim to a pharming attack, that means that you can enter the web address yourself, without clicking a suspicious link, but unknowingly land on a malicious website that looks like the real thing. One example of a sign that your computer might have been compromised is that your Internet banking website suddenly looks slightly different in layout, or some links do not work properly. Also, make sure that the secure website you visit (identifiable by the “https” instead of “http” in the beginning of the address) has a valid certificate form an authority service such as VeriSign and that the name of the certificate corresponds to the site you are viewing. Should you have any doubts, avoid using the website until you are 100% sure it is the legitimate one.