Old Macdonald’s Guide To Avoiding Pharming

Old MacDonald had a farm, ee-eye, ee-eye oh
And on that farm he had a case of identity theft, ee-eye, ee-eye oh
With an email, email here and an email, email there
Here an email, there an email
Everywhere an email, email
Old MacDonald had a farm, ee-eye, ee-eye oh

Oooh-ah, Old Macdonald here and today I wants to be telling ya’s all about Pharming.


Pharming, ya see, is somefing I knows a lot about.

I ain’t talkin’ about ‘farming’ which is all about me sowing me seed, oooh-ar, no sirs this here pharming is somefing altogether different.

I hopes you alls got good protection for your computers already see.

Ya need a scarecrow to ward off those pesky antiviral things and those bugs ya see.

What I means, like, is antivirus programs and antispyware cos they will keep your vegetable patch safe from all sorts of harm. Oooh-ah.

Once you’s got ya field in order ya almost home but pests they are smart ya see.

Them there pharmers are jealous of you’s and they want your fields all to themselves. Ooooh-eck.

Now it don’t be making many odds how good ya scarescrow is cos it ain’t got stop the pharmers, no sir.

You’s need to have far more smarts so I’ll leave ya’s with the olde webmaster who speaks proper city talk like you folks and he’ll tell you’s more. Oooh-ah.


Thankyou Old MacDonald, I almost understood what you were talking about!

Avoiding pharming, which is a type of identity theft, is reasonably simple.

As Old MacDonald mentioned though, antivirus programs, antispyware and registry cleaners are all for nought against this crime.

Common sense, however, will take you a long way.

As will these tips –

1. Pay attention.

You should never enter your personal information on a website that isn’t secure.

You can determine whether a website is secure or not by looking at the beginning of it’s URL – if it starts with ‘https’ rather than the more common ‘http’ then it is indeed secure.

Such sites should also display a padlock icon somewhere in your browser’s status bar.

If a site isn’t secure then they are either a little fishy or they simply don’t deserve your business.

Move along.

2. Choose your browser wisely.

Switch to Mozilla’s Firefox browser.

Do it now.

You can then add the ‘petname’ plugin which allows you to assign a pet name to any site that you visit.

If you then visit one of those sites which is in fact an imposter of the original then you will be notified.

Firefox is also far more secure than other browsers I could mention.

3. Check security certificates.

If your browser warns you that the key certificate on the site you are visiting has expired then bail out.

The same goes for certificates from ‘unknown’ publishers too.

Entering your personal information into such sites is just asking for trouble.

Don’t do it.

No, really, don’t do it.

4. Secure your router.

If you connect to the internet through a router then you really must ensure that the router itself is secure.

Routers are shipped from the factory with a default password which will be common to all of that model, maybe even common to the entire range of routers from that manufacturer.

Funnily enough, this means they are rather easy to guess if you don’t change them.

Change your router’s password but make sure you change it to something that is secure.

After all, you wouldn’t want to make a bad password mistake, would you?

These simple measures will make you far far safer from pharming.

Do them and you can be better than the pharmer.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. Aaaarghhh, you’ve ruined the suspense.. I have such an article in the draft phase already!

  2. If I had a million quid I would have bet the lot on you spotting that line!!!!

  3. Col beat me to noting the funniest bit 🙂

    Good article though. I think you could have combined this with an article on Phishing, and got a good Moby Dick comment in too :p


  4. Best bit – “which is all about me sowing me seed, oooh-ar” 😀

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