A Trojan disguises itself as a legitimate program or file so that it can enter your computer and carry out malicious activities. While no one wants to be hacked, millions of people fall prey to criminals every year. How does the Trojan virus work? And, more importantly, how can you save yourself?

Definition of Trojan.

Let’s start with a story. During the Trojan War 3,000 years ago, the Greeks built a huge wooden horse and brought it to the gates of Troy. The Trojans thought it was a gift and a war trophy to symbolize their victory.

Little did they know that a group of Greek warriors was hiding inside the wooden horse. When the horse was dragged into the city, the Greeks came out, opened the door for other armies, and destroyed the city.

This is exactly what Trojan horses do in computing: they pretend they don’t fit into your system and block your computer. Hackers use a variety of social engineering techniques to trick people into downloading malware, and their methods are becoming more and more sophisticated each year.

What is the main difference between a virus and a Trojan?

Trojans are often called viruses, but this is not entirely true. A virus can replicate itself and spread its copies further, while a Trojan horse cannot. Technically, Trojan horse is a type of malware.

What does Trojan malware do?

Trojan malware can steal your password, record your keystrokes, edit your data, and even download more malicious programs in the background. Some Trojans start their malicious activities as soon as they get inside your computer, while others wait for the hacker’s instructions. A hijacked computer can be used to create boot nets and carry out DDoS attacks.

You may accidentally download a trojan bundled with a program or click on a malicious email attachment. At first, you may not be aware that there is an invisible guest on your device, and, for some, it may take some time to realize that something is wrong.

Types of Trojans

There are different types of Trojan malware, depending on the purpose the hacker is trying to achieve and the way the Trojan works. Let’s talk about the most common.

Backdoor trojan. This type of Trojan provides remote access to your computer so that hackers can execute commands, spy on your data and carry out other malicious actions. Backdoor Trojans can invite more malware into your computer and completely destroy your system.

Banking Trojan. Banking Trojans use key loggers to steal your credit card details, passwords, and authentication details. Hackers can imitate a reputable bank, create a fake website, and trick users into typing their credentials. Typically, these types of scams are perpetrated through malicious links in emails or text messages.

Trojan downloader. These Trojans have only one mission: to get into your system and then download more malware.

DDoS Trojan. In a DDoS attack, a target network, server, or service becomes overwhelmed with traffic, causing the system to crash. These attacks are usually carried out by botnet forces, a group of infected devices that do not know anything about the process behind the scenes. The DDoS Trojans are only interested in recruiting more “zombie” soldiers into the botnet army so that a hacker can have enough resources to carry out an attack.

Fake anti-virus Trojan. As the name suggests, fake anti-virus Trojans pretend to be legitimate anti-virus software. They spread panic among consumers by claiming that their system is compromised and forcing them to pay for additional features. Things can get even worse if you decide to pay.

Ransom Trojan. This type of Trojan encrypts your data and keeps it for ransom. If you refuse to pay criminals, you may not be able to get your files back. However, there is no guarantee that you will get your data back even after making the payment. Ransomware often targets healthcare providers, as they are more likely to pay to get their system working again.

SMS Trojan. While SMS Trojans are less annoying than some other types of Trojans, they can still cost you a lot more. They can send text messages to premium rate numbers and interrupt your communication.

Game Thief Trojan. Online gaming accounts are in high demand on the Dark Web, so criminals launch Trojans that steal users’ credentials.

Mail Finder Trojan. Mail finders extract e-mail addresses from the victim’s device and then send them to a hacker, who can use them for other evil attacks.

Trojan Spy. These trojans are designed to spy on victims for a variety of purposes, such as stealing sensitive data or gathering intelligence.

How to detect Trojan

It can be difficult to tell if a Trojan is present on your device. But, if you are experiencing any of the issues mentioned below, you may have an unwanted guest:

  • Pop-ups and warnings that you have a virus.
  • Your computer slows down and occasionally crashes.
  • Some programs may not work or launch themselves.
  • You are being redirected to suspicious sites.
  • You find programs on your computer that you don’t remember to install.
  • Your default browser changes without your consent.

How To Remove Trojan

  1. Disconnect your computer from the Internet so that hackers can no longer execute commands remotely.
  2. Restart your computer in safe mode.
  3. Check all apps running in the background and exclude malicious apps.
  4. Go to your app list and remove the ones you don’t recognize.
  5. Scan your computer with anti-virus software.
  6. Reinstall your browser.

How To Protect Yourself From Trojans

No one can be 100% safe from Trojan horses, and every one of us can fall prey to criminals. However, with some software and some common sense, you can reduce your risk of infection. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself from Trojans and other malware:

1- Always update your software on time. Hackers often exploit vulnerabilities in software, while developers try to patch them up. If you postpone updates, a criminal could infect you through a security breach that was fixed months ago.
2- Never click on suspicious links in an email or text message. Phishing emails are the primary source of malware on your device. Never click on a link unless you know and trust the sender.
3- Don’t click on attachments. Email attachments are also a popular way to deliver malware, yet many people fail to pass this test.
4- Avoid torrent sites. Malware can be bundled with other programs or files, so avoid using torrenting sites, as you may never know what you will find there. Stay tuned to official app stores.
5- Create a unique password. It’s great to have the same password for all accounts. Be sure to use uppercase and lowercase letters in your passwords, along with special characters and numbers.
6- Enable two-factor authentication. Whenever you can, always use two-factor authentication as it will add an extra layer of security to your accounts.
7- Use anti-virus software. Although most devices come with local security software, having extra antivirus is definitely not a bad idea.
8- Avoid suspicious websites. If a website starts bombarding you with weird ads, leave immediately. An accidental click, and you may end up with a herd of Trojan horses or adware.
9- Scan external devices before running them. An infected USB or external drive is a popular way to transfer malware from one device to another, so always do a security scan first.
10- Use VPN. A virtual private network encrypts your Internet traffic and hides your IP address, thus improving your security. This is especially useful on public Wi-Fi, as hackers can set up fake hotspots and remotely infect your device.