TROJAN / TROJAN HORSE Malware - Beware of Greeks bearing gifts!

We have all heard the legend from Greek mythology, Odysseus tricks the great King Priam of Troy, into thinking that the Greek army had retreated and that the 10-year long war was over.

As the story is told, it was customary in those times for the defeated to leave behind a gift for the victor. The Greeks left behind a huge wooden horse; the Trojans jubilant in victory wheeled the gift into their impregnable walls.

However, within the wooden horse 30 men laid in wait until nightfall, whist the Trojan army were blissfully sleeping, the 30 men led by Odysseus opened the gates to the city and allowed the rest of the Greek army in. Troy was no longer defenceless and crushed from within.

It is from this story the modern-day Trojan / Trojan Horse malware takes its name.

Rather than a particular piece of malicious code, the term “Trojan” is actually given to the technique used to get a user to install the malicious software.

The aim of a Trojan is to deceive the user in to believing that it is legitimate and to install the malware on to their device. It’s not just computers and laptops that are susceptible to malware, mobile phones and tablets are also at risk. Once installed on to your device, just like the story, the malware takes control from within.


How could my device get infected?

There are many ways in which your device could be infected with malware but trojan malware is installed directly by the user under the guise of something legitimate.

Maybe you have clicked the link on an email from Amazon with the promise of a free £50 gift voucher or you have installed that free software or music that seemed too good to be true, there’s a good chance it was and it was actually malware in disguise.

There are many types of malware that use the trojan horse technique, all designed to complete different actions once installed on to your device.

Malware is not designed to work for the greater good and is usually designed for use by cyber criminals.

Once your device has been infected the malware in programmed to do a specific task or a list of tasks. There are a vast number of tasks that malware may be programmed to do.

Some of these trojan malwares are more common than others

Remote Access Trojan (RAT) - This can allow the cyber criminal full access to your device and is often used to spy on victims through web cams or audio

IM - Designed to steal account credentials for Instant Messenger applications such as Facebook Messenger

Mailfinder – Acquires all the email addresses stored on your device. The email addresses are then used by the cybercriminal to send out more malware and spam.

InfoStealer – Used to steal login information, like usernames and passwords, common info stealers are key stroke loggers

Backdoor - Designed to create a backdoor into your device providing cybercriminal access to all of your data and information.

These are just a tiny selection of the kind of malware that you could unwittingly install on to your device via the trojan method.


How to avoid installing a “Trojan”?

Trojans masquerade themselves in many different forms therefore it can be difficult to immediately identify it as malicious software.

By taking a little extra care and time however it may save you from unwanted grief and despair.

  1. Be alert when you receive an email of message, especially from an unknown source. Is it asking you to click a link or download software? Be certain you know what your downloading.
  2. Avoid downloading pirated software or free programs from unknown sources these may be concealing malware.
  3. Don’t click on pop up windows that promise you something in return, you may not get what you bargained for.
  4. Ensure your anti-virus and anti-malware software from a trustworthy provider is up to date.
  5. Take the hardware approach, use a web cam cover and audio blocker, if your device has been unknowingly infected you can at least prevent the cyber criminals from actively viewing or listening to you.

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