Trojan Horse

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 security patches.
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.