What are Trojan Attacks?
In cybersecurity, a type of malware is called a Trojan horse or simply, a Trojan. Trojan attacks can come in many different forms, but their essential purpose is to take over a user’s computer and control their data. Trojans are not viruses. Unlike viruses, Trojans do not infect computers but, instead, need to be executed first by the user in order to then open a path for malicious software to be downloaded.
Types and Methods of Trojan Attacks
Trojans can take over control in different ways. A user may click on an ad or pop up that looks legitimate but is actually a ploy for you to download something to kick start the malware. Another common method is through email. The attacker will send the user an email with a link or an attachment. Once the user opens the email attachment (opening an email attachment occurs by downloading it first), the Trojan has penetrated the computer. The trick is that Trojans do not look suspicious – the point is to masquerade as a legitimate attachment or program.
A Trojan can complete a variety of actions with a computer including, but not limited to, copying, deleting, and stealing data, and installing other malware. In fact, a Trojan can be suited to meet a multitude of needs. For example, backdoor Trojan attacks are used by attackers to gain complete control of a computer. The attack gains control of the user’s data and files and can download subsequent types of malware. The latter part is similar to a downloader Trojan, which can install even more malware onto a user’s computer. There are also ransom-style Trojans, which block or change the user’s data and force the user to pay a ransom in order to restore the change. They care about financial information, too. A Trojan banker, once downloaded, can parse through online activity and steal the user’s banking and financial information. Likewise, a spy Trojan can track a user’s actions by monitoring their screens and keyboard.
Protecting Against Trojan Attacks
Users can use anti-malware software to prevent possible malware attacks. However, users should protect themselves beyond just anti-malware software. Some of the simplest steps include maintaining the most up-to-date operating system. These systems contain updates that are meant to protect against security threats. Users should also periodically go through the programs on their computers. Trojans can download programs without the user knowing and these suspicious downloads tend to be a signal for a Trojan. Moreover, users must always check what they are downloading and ensure it is from a legitimate source. Trojans enter through fake email addresses, misleading articles and ads, from third-party websites, and tend to not appear legitimate or professional.