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You’ve probably heard of the term Trojan horse virus if you’ve watched a Hollywood film involving hackers or spies. Often, hackers on TV use a Trojan horse to breach a target’s computer network. This cinematic depiction isn’t too far from the truth.
But let’s get one thing out of the way. Even though it’s called a Trojan virus — it’s not really a virus; Trojan horse malware would be a more accurate term.
A Trojan is a type of malware that uses deception, usually through social engineering, to breach a network’s defenses. In a nutshell, a threat actor tricks their target into installing a Trojan. Here are some common Trojan delivery mediums:
- Fraudulent websites
- Malicious links
- Malicious public WiFi networks
- Corrupt downloads
Types of Trojan Horse Attacks
You must be wondering what a Trojan horse can do after breaching your network’s defences. The answer depends on the type of Trojan infection your desktop, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, or any other device contracted. Here are just some of the more common Trojan horses:
#1 Ransomware Trojans
A Trojan horse can drop ransomware on your system. Ransomware will encrypt some or all of your storage drives and demand a ransom for the decryption key within a set time frame. Should you fail to pay the money on time, the ransomware will corrupt your data. However, paying the ransom is never a guarantee that you’ll get your files back.
#2 Spyware Trojans
When threat actors want to spy on you, steal your intellectual property, stalk you, or learn your usernames and passwords, they can use a Trojan horse to hit you with spyware.
#3 Backdoor Trojans
Some sophisticated Trojans can open a backdoor for a hacker on your system. A hacker can manage your computer, reboot it, delete files, or install more dangerous malware through the backdoor.
#4 Botnet Trojans
You’ve probably heard of the term DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. Hackers can take down online platforms by overwhelming them with traffic through a DDoS attack. They generate this traffic through bots that form a botnet of many computers. Hackers can create botnets by dropping bots on unsuspecting computer users with Trojans.
#5 Mailfinder Trojans
Trojans designed to learn the email addresses of your contacts are called Mailfinders. Hackers use these Trojans to launch spam and phishing attacks.
#6 SMS Trojans
SMS Trojans usually infect mobile devices. They’re designed to spy on your contact information and send and receive texts. A hacker can use such a Trojan for a man-in-the-middle attack and send fraudulent messages to your contact asking for money or personal information.
Symptoms of a Trojan Horse Attack
It’s advisable to use a Trojan horse scanner or removal tool if you notice that your computer is slowing down, activating at odd hours, or is being flooded with pop-ups out of the blue. You should be extra cautious if your system starts behaving erratically or your applications refuse to run.
Steering clear of suspicious emails, websites, downloads, and attachments can help you avoid Trojan horse attacks. You should also use sophisticated passwords and monitor your financial and social media accounts for suspicious activity to be extra safe from Trojans.