A trojan Horse virus is so called because of its reference to the Greek legend of Troy. The legend goes that a large wooden horse was left outside the gates of Troy as a peace offering from the Greeks, whom the trojans were at war with. Once inside, the horse burst open to reveal Greek soldiers who then destroyed the city.
trojan Horse viruses are similar because they appear to be a harmless program but once installed on your computer can wreak havoc with a number of viruses potentially hidden in its code. There is a slight difference between a Trojan Horse and an actual computer virus however. Unlike typical computer viruses, a Trojan Horse does not replicate itself.
One type of Trojan is known as Spyware. This type of program is designed to monitor your Internet surfing habits and use that information for things such as targeted marketing.
Another common problem that Trojan cause is the installation of a backdoor. This means that hackers have a hidden entrance to your computer in which they can send you spam, take control of your computer, or even destroy it. These types of Trojans can be very hard to detect and eradicate.
How Trojans are Distributed
You may be wondering how to protect yourself against Trojans. The first line of defense is knowing how they are distributed.
One of the most common ways is via a useful program such as a computer utility. Once you run the program with the hidden Trojan it can do what it wishes with your computer. Another common way to get a Trojan is through an email attachment. Many people receive executable files through email and don’t think twice about running it on their computer. Once the program is run, you have a Trojan. If you ever get an attachment with an .exe at the end make sure you run a virus scan before opening it.
It is even possible to embed an image with a Trojan. Once you view the picture the Trojan has invaded your computer. It is best to never open files, regardless of type, if you don’t know where they came from. Even well-meaning friends can accidentally email you an attachment which contains a Trojan.
Trojans often take advantage of your computer’s operating system and ports which connect it to the Internet. Some Trojans even allow others to take remote control over your computer and steal keystrokes which may just be your credit card number.
Other than being wary of what you open and install, the best defense is an up to date anti-virus program. It is important that you ensure your anti-virus software is always current since new viruses come out each day. You can typically download free updates from the software provider. You should also ensure you have a firewall to protect you while online.