What is a Trojan horse?
According to legend, during the Trojan War the Greeks gave a large
wooden horse to the Trojans. The Greek's hid soldiers in the horse
to sneak into the well-guarded city of Troy. In today's computer age,
a Trojan horse is a destructive program that masquerades as a benign
application. For example, a Trojan can be disguised as literally anything,
such as a game, music, or movies, ETC.
What can a Trojan horse do?
A Trojan horse can be very destructive and allows anything from
damaging your software, accessing your financial accounts, or may
even prompt law enforcement to investigate you. A Trojan horse normally
installs a back door program. This back door is what a malicious hacker
or “cracker” uses to access your computer so that anything
they do on your computer will be traced back to you. Examples of this
malicious behavior include:
- Stealing passwords
- Installing a key logger
- Running denial
of service attacks
- Disabling your anti-virus
- Cracking into other computers/networks
- Installing an e-mail proxy to send unsolicited e-mail
- Storing Illegal files or pictures
How do I get infected?
Typically Trojan's are downloaded from a web site, newsgroup,
e-mail attachment, or peer to peer network. Trojans are executable
files, which means they will have an extension like ".exe",
".bat", ".com", ".vbs", etc. Use caution
when opening executables and only download files from people or oragnizations you trust.
How Can I protect myself from Trojans?
1. Do not open a file unless you know what the program is and
trust the sender.
2. Keep your operating system up to date by installing the latest
3. Protect your computer by running current anti-virus software.
4. Run a firewall. While this does not protect your computer from
being infected it helps alert you when strange applications try to
access the Internet.
5. Use secure passwords on your computer. Secure passwords should
be alphanumeric and at least six characters. This helps to prevent
damage when a computer is infected.
6. If you think you may have a Trojan on your computer run a program
like “The Cleaner”
to try and remove it.