A Trojan is a type of malware or virus that masquerades as a useful, interesting, or routine program in order to encourage the user to download or install it. Also known as a Trojan horse—from the mythological wooden horse synonymous with Greek subterfuge—this type of malware has been around since the early 1980s, becoming increasingly prevalent as the opportunities for downloading software online have grown. In fact, Trojans are now among the most common and dangerous types of malware currently in existence, posing a threat to both computers and mobile devices.
There are many different types of Trojan and each effects varying types of threat or payload. Most commonly they are spread by users unwittingly, appearing in the form of an email attachment or as drive-by-downloads that prey on the user’s ignorance of the respective payload. Unlike standard computer viruses and worms, they do not generally self-propagate. This characteristic makes them particularly difficult to detect. What’s more, it allows them to act as a backdoor by contacting a controller that allows unauthorized access to your computer. This also makes them extremely successful and subsequently extremely common – accounting for an estimated 83 percent of malware detections worldwide.
Trojan malware falls into these main categories:
This type of Trojan horse virus will crash your computer or device; modify or delete files; cause data corruption; or in the worst case scenario, format your disks and permanently destroy all data.
Identity & resource appropriation
Trojans within this category appropriate the machine’s identity and resources to perform automated spamming as part of a larger botnet. Other threats include using your computer for mining cryptocurrencies and infecting your computer and using it as a proxy for illegal activity, including attacks on other computers.
Theft & ransom
These threats install a type of Trojan designed to steal electronic money or otherwise extort money from the user using ransomware. Typically, this will lock your computer and demand payment to the malware operators before it is lifted – often posing as some kind of law enforcement agency or other authority.
This category includes the theft of data from computers and other devices. Used for stealing passwords, payment and other information, data theft spans the gamut from personal to commercial and includes even industrial trade secrets.
Spying & surveillance
Keystroke logging, watching the user’s screen, accessing the user’s webcam and controlling the computer system remotely are just a few of the many threats within the spying and surveillance category of Trojan.
How Trojans infect your system and the symptoms of infection
Trojans may be propagated through a number of channels, however, by far the most common is simple human error. They may also exploit weakness in older software or applications in order to enter your system; typically as seemingly innocent updates, add-ons, or other routine installations. Attachments and image/video content within email is also susceptible to this type of attack, and it is particularly important to monitor and manage any incoming threats. Thankfully, mail.com offers you a number of security solutions to help keep your communication safe from Trojans and other malware.
Due to their duplicitous nature, Trojan horses are notoriously difficult to detect and the sheer number of different threats currently circulating makes each an unknown quantity. However, there are a few tell-tale signs that your computer or device is infected. These include pop-ups, computer lagging, and a slow internet connection. Any other strange behavior from your computer or device may also indicate a Trojan infection, although it is equally likely that it is caused by some other type of malware. If you do notice any symptoms such as these, then it is important to perform a virus scan that subsequently guides you through Trojan horse removal.
Peace of mind with mail.com’s powerful antivirus
Here at mail.com, we understand that the security of your computer and data is of paramount importance. We use a superior virus scanner and spam filters as a part of our malware protection strategy to ensure you are never left unprotected. The virus scanner monitors your emails and their attachments to make sure that, if a Trojan is lurking, it will be identified and removed before it enters your computer. With mail.com, you can rest assured that Trojan virus removal comes as a standard part of our security package.
Whilst we endeavor to provide you with the most up-to-date security measures for your machines, it is also important for you to understand the risks involved with any online activity. Always double check the files you are opening or the software you are installing for authenticity and legitimacy. Additionally, it is always worth informing yourself of the latest known threats so you can be prepared in the eventuality of infection. Learn how to remove a Trojan virus and much more with mail.com.
Get your new email account here! It's free