Hey guys,

In cybersecurity, the term ‘Trojan horse’ may sound ancient and out of place, but it’s a modern-day threat with significant implications. To understand this concept fully, we first need to delve into its origin, understand what it technically means, and how it can personally affect you.

Origins of the Term ‘Trojan Horse’

The term ‘Trojan horse’ is steeped in ancient Greek mythology. During the Trojan War, the Greeks built a large wooden horse, hid soldiers inside it, and left it outside the city of Troy as a supposed peace offering. The unsuspecting Trojans pulled the horse into their fortified city. Come nightfall, the hidden Greek soldiers climbed out of the horse, opened the city gates for their comrades, and ultimately led to the downfall of Troy. This story is a metaphor for a seemingly harmless entity that hides malicious intent.

What is a Trojan Horse in Cybersecurity?

In the world of cybersecurity, a Trojan horse operates on a similar principle. It’s malicious software (malware) that pretends to be or is hidden within, a legitimate program or file. Users are duped into downloading and installing the Trojan horse because it appears useful or entertaining software.

However, once installed, a Trojan horse can create a backdoor in your system, giving cybercriminals access to your computer. Unlike computer viruses, Trojan horses don’t replicate themselves, but they pave the way for cybercriminals to steal your data or take control of your computer.

How Can a Trojan Horse Affect You?

A Trojan horse can have severe implications for your personal cybersecurity. It can lead to losing personal and financial data, identity theft, damage to your files, or even using your computer to carry out illegal activities without your knowledge. In a worst-case scenario, a Trojan horse can give a hacker full control of your computer.

Examples of Trojan Horses

  1. Backdoor Trojans: These provide hackers access to your system, allowing them to control your computer, steal data, or install more malware.
  2. Infostealer Trojans: These are designed to gather and send information from your computer to the hacker. This could include passwords, credit card details, and other personal information.
  3. Remote Access Trojans (RATs): These are a type of backdoor Trojan that provides complete control of the victim’s system to an attacker. An example of a RAT is the infamous BlackShades which was widely spread in 2010-2014.
  4. Trojan-Banker: These are designed to steal account data for online banking, e-payment, and credit or debit cards.

Defending Against Trojan Horses

Awareness is the first line of defense against Trojan horses. Understanding their nature and the risks they pose helps you adopt more secure practices. Below are some practical steps to bolster your defense against Trojan horses:

  1. Trustworthy Sources: Only download software and files from websites and sources you trust. Unverified sources are often riddled with malicious software, including Trojan horses.
  2. Antivirus Software: Make sure you have robust antivirus software installed on your device and keep it updated. Antivirus programs have databases of known malware, including Trojan horses, and can often detect them before they cause harm.
  3. Firewall Protection: A firewall can prevent Trojan horses from sending information back to the hacker, limiting the damage they can cause. Enable your system’s firewall and consider getting additional firewall software for added protection.
  4. Software Updates: Regularly update your operating system and all software. Updates often contain patches for security vulnerabilities that Trojan horses might exploit.
  5. Email Caution: Be wary of opening email attachments from unknown senders. These attachments are a common method for distributing Trojan horses.
  6. Strong Passwords: Use strong, unique passwords for your accounts. Even if a Trojan horse compromises one of your accounts, unique passwords can prevent the issue from spreading.

Taking these precautions can drastically reduce your chances of falling victim to a Trojan horse. In the fast-paced digital world, it pays to be vigilant and proactive in your approach to cybersecurity.

You now know what a Trojan horse is!

All the best,