Trojan malware is one of the most widespread forms of cyberattacks. Named for the ancient Greek legend of the deceptive horse that led to the fall of Troy, Trojans present themselves as innocuous programs but can steal data and destroy networks.
Infections typically result in poor device performance, pop-up interruptions, or unexplained processes running on the computer or mobile phone. Learn how to identify and remove Trojan malware on your devices.
While a Trojan horse virus may seem harmless, this malware is used for various cybercrimes like data stealing, espionage, and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Trojans stealthily implant themselves in regular download files, allowing bad actors to change their security settings and spy on you.
Named after the wooden horse, the Greeks hid soldiers inside to sneak into Troy, and Trojan malware uses social engineering to trick unsuspecting users into installing and running it. Unlike viruses, which self-replicate, trojans hide malicious codes within legitimate programs and apps. They impersonate trustworthy file attachments in emails or free-to-download programs, such as music files, movies, or video codecs.
They are then hidden in the user’s device and run when opened. A bad actor can then take command of the computer, granting them backdoor access to systems and allowing them to steal sensitive information.
This is one reason why it’s essential to watch for phishing attempts and to avoid downloading unknown or suspicious files. Even the most high-tech setup can’t protect you from a social engineering attack, which is why data breach reports found that breaches involved a human element. Luckily, trojan virus removal using antivirus software can identify trojans and other dangerous malware and help prevent them from damaging your device or stealing your personal information.
Like its ancient Greek namesake, Trojan malware sneaks into computers by disguising itself as harmless. It often appears as a free game, music file, or program and functions normally so the victim doesn’t notice it’s there. This is one of the simplest ways hackers access computers, especially home networks. The malware may be distributed via phishing emails with infected attachments or found on third-party app download sites and illicit Dark Web storefronts.
Once the malware is on a device, it can perform many harmful activities, such as information cancellation, information censorship, information alteration, and data replication. It can also cause obstructions within the operation of computer systems or network devices and serve as a launching pad for other types of cyberattacks, such as ransomware attacks, cryptojacking, DDoS attacks, or malware distribution.
Typically, Trojans require the victim to install it on their device so attackers can take over the system and steal their data. This is why it’s essential to avoid third-party app download sites, avoid suspicious email attachments, and not click links in unsolicited emails. Also, ensure your antivirus software is up to date and enables your firewall. Regularly back up your data to prevent the loss of critical files should a cyberattack occur. For additional cybersecurity training, consider earning a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification.
Like their namesake from Greek mythology, Trojan horse cyber-threats can cause significant damage beneath the surface. Trojan malware can be downloaded and launched from various sources, including phishing emails with infected attachments, banner or pop-up ads on websites, or illicit Dark Web storefronts. Once on the device, Trojans hide where they are unlikely to be spotted by security protocols or antivirus software.
Trojans can attack devices differently because they rely on the user to download them. Some types of Trojans spy on a device and transmit passwords or credit card data to hackers. Others can use a device as part of a botnet to perform DDoS attacks or steal cryptocurrency from an infected computer. Others can infect a mobile device and take over text and instant messaging programs, stealing sensitive information from the victim.
Signs of a Trojan infection are similar to those for other malware, including changes to the wallpaper or program icons, frequent crashes, and slow and erratic performance. If you think your computer or phone is infected with a trojan, back up your important data regularly. In addition, stay vigilant about clicking links or downloading files, and don’t accept programs sent to you through IM apps.
A Trojan horse is malware that hides in an innocent-looking file. It’s named after the hollowed-out wooden horse the Greeks used to sneak soldiers into Troy, and it works similarly to a backdoor: It opens a door for attackers to use the device behind your back. The payload can be anything from stealing data to launching distributed denial-of-service attacks.
Trojans usually infiltrate systems through social engineering. The most common methods are banner ads and pop-ups on websites, email attachments and links to infected files, or Dark Web storefronts. Once downloaded, the malware starts its work. It may download additional malware, steal data, spy on the user, or act as a backdoor for attackers to access the device and its contents remotely.
Backdoor trojans can give attackers remote control of the compromised system, while ransom trojans encrypt data and demand payment to decrypt it. Other trojans can turn the infected device into a bot for DDoS attacks or crypto mining; some can even kill the user’s antivirus.
The best way to spot a Trojan is to check your computer settings regularly. Watch for changes to your wallpaper or program icons, and note what’s eating up CPU resources. Unusual activity is also a giveaway, significantly if your computer’s performance deteriorates. If you suspect a Trojan, reboot the machine into safe mode and search the folder for evidence of the malware.