A new threat called drive-by pharming, in which a cyberattacker takes control of a user's home router, has been identified.
Zulfikar Ramzan, senior principal security researcher at Symantec, outlined drive-by pharming in a post on the company's website.
He explained that Symantec had discovered the threat in partnership with the Indiana University School of Informatics, which has calculated that up to 50 percent of home users could be at risk.
The DNS system uses resolvers — servers on the internet — to translate domain names to IP addresses, allowing a user to type in the name of the website they want rather than remembering its precise IP address.
Ramzan warned that users could easily fall victim to this attack.
"All you have to do to become a victim is simply visit the web page that hosts this malicious code. You don't have to click OK on any dialogue boxes or accidentally download and install malicious software. Simply viewing the page in question is enough to cause the necessary damage," Ramzan wrote. The company advised that the simplest way to defeat the problem was to change the router password.