What is a trojan?

A Trojan disguises itself as a trusted program or file in order to infiltrate your computer and cause damage. Every year millions of people become victims of criminals in this way. How does a Trojan virus work? And more importantly, how can you protect yourself from it??

Jan 13, 2022- 5 min. Reading Time

What is a Trojan?

Definition

To learn what a Trojan is, we first need to go back in history. During the Trojan War more than 3.000 years ago, the Greeks built a huge wooden horse and brought it to the gate of the city of Troy. The Trojans thought it was a gift and a war trophy to symbolize their victory.

What they didn’t know was that a bunch of Greek warriors were hiding inside the wooden horse. When the horse was dragged into the city, the Greeks got outside, opened the gate for the other troops and destroyed the city.

Trojan horses in the IT world work in exactly the same way: they pretend to be something they’re not in order to invade your system and lay siege to your computer. Hackers use various social engineering techniques to trick you into downloading malware – and their methods are getting more sophisticated every year.

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

A Trojan is often called a virus, but this is not necessarily true. A virus can multiply itself and spread its copies, while a Trojan horse cannot. Technically, a Trojan is a type of malware.

What does the Trojan malware?

A Trojan can steal your passwords, record your keystrokes, alter your data, and even download other malicious programs in the background. Some Trojans start their malicious actions immediately when they enter your computer, while others wait for instructions from a hacker. A hijacked computer can be used to build a botnet and perform DDoS attacks.

You can also accidentally download a Trojan that is bundled with another program or by clicking on a malicious email attachment. At first, you may not even notice that you have an invisible guest on your device.

These types of Trojans exist

There are different types of Trojan malware, depending on the goal a hacker wants to achieve and how a Trojan works. We have compiled the most important ones for you:

Backdoor Trojan. This type of Trojan gives the hacker remote access to your computer to execute commands, spy on your data and perform other malicious actions. A backdoor Trojan can introduce more malware into your computer and completely ruin your system.

Banking Trojan. Banking Trojans use keyloggers to steal your credit card details, passwords and authentication credentials. Hackers can impersonate a well-known bank, create a fake website and trick users into entering their credentials. Typically, these types of scams are carried out via a malicious link in an email or text message.

Download Trojan. These Trojans have only one task: to infiltrate your system and then download more malware.

DDoS Trojan. In a DDoS attack, a target network, server or service is flooded with a huge amount of traffic, causing the system to crash. These attacks are usually carried out by botnet armies, which is a bunch of infected devices that are unaware of the processes running in the background. DDoS Trojans are only interested in recruiting more "zombie" devices for the botnet army so a hacker can provide enough resources for an attack.

Fake antivirus Trojans. As the name suggests, fake antivirus Trojans pretend to be legitimate antivirus software. They panic users by claiming that their system is infected and urge them to pay for additional features. If you decide to pay, it can get even worse.

Extortion Trojans. This type of Trojan encrypts your data and extorts a ransom for it. If you refuse to pay the criminals, you may never get your files back. However, there is no guarantee that you will get your data back even after payment. Ransomware often targets healthcare facilities because they are more willing to pay money to get their systems up and running again.

SMS Trojan. SMS Trojans cause less trouble than some other types of Trojans, but they can still cost you a lot. They can send text messages to premium rate numbers and intercept your communications.

GameThief Trojan. Online gaming accounts are in high demand on the darknet, so criminals launch Trojans that steal users’ login credentials.

Mailfinder Trojans. Mailfinders extract email addresses from the victim’s device and then send them to a hacker, who can use them for further malicious attacks.

Spy Trojans. These Trojans are developed to spy on victims for various purposes, e.g. B. in order to steal sensitive data or collect information.

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