Trojan Horses and How to Protect From Them
Trojan Horses are just one method used by hackers but given that there are various types, they tend to be a popular weapon of choice for taking down websites or stealing information.
What makes them different from viruses is that Trojan horses are created in order to target specifically rather than a full system, whether it’s to shut down a website or steal a company’s financial information.
The most common types of Trojan horse can be found below.
Rootkit: Rootkits allow malware to run undetected on your devices and can be quite difficult to remove once they’re already installed. Since they’re running in the background, rootkits are able to run for longer and cause much greater harm than other types of Trojan.
Ransomware: Ransomware is typically the hack of choice for those taking on big organizations like governments and health services like the NHS. This type of Trojan locks users out of important financial information and customer details and access can only be resumed once a ransom is paid.
DDoS: A DDoS attack, or distributed denial of service, aims to overload a website’s servers by flooding it with traffic. These Trojans take over a network of computers that are accessing the website in order to overload the target a lot quicker and more effectively.
Spyware: Key and screen loggers are aimed at targeting information like your online banking details, logins, and more. You often won’t even know when they’re running on your devices which is what makes them so scary. Without any preventative software in place, you’re exposing a lot of your crucial and private data every time you type into your keyboard.
How Trojan Horses Work
Every time a trojan horse is developed, its creator typically has an objective in mind and will use the type that’s most effective for getting the job done.
Whether it’s a DDoS or ransomware, each Trojan horse comes with a specific task in mind and a person or company is usually targeted intentionally.
The sort of information a hacker will try and steal with Trojan horses might include:
- Passwords and login information: Having your login information will give them access to some of your most personal conversations, financial information, and more.
- Stealing banking and credit details: Your banking information is at risk of being exposed when a Trojan horse infects your device. Accounts could be emptied and credit taken out in your name.
- Your Confidential Data: Any and all data that belongs to you and is stored on your devices could be taken by hackers and held against you for a ransom.
- Biographical Information: All the important information about you can easily be taken by hackers to commit identity fraud against you, making purchases and opening lines of credit at your expense.
How to Tell if Your Computer Has a Trojan Horse
Trojan horses are highly sophisticated and if they weren’t so malicious, people would probably be praised for designing such innovative tools.
They’re not so sophisticated that they don’t have a few telltale signs when a system’s been infiltrated, however. In fact, if you know what to look for, Trojan horses can be quite easy to spot.
Some of the most obvious signs to look out for can be found below.
- Unrecognizable Programs: One of the ways to recognize something’s not right is if you notice new and unwarranted programs installed on your smartphone or desktop. There’s a good chance that it could be something that your OS requires to run efficiently so always check first, but unknown programs are a warning sign and could be where the root of your device’s infection lies.
- Failing Systems: Sometimes, the Trojan that’s infecting your devices can take a big toll that’ll start to reveal itself the more you’re active. You might start to experience crashes or just an overall slower performance and if that’s the case, there’s a good chance it’s down to a Trojan. Be sure to use effective cybersecurity software to whittle out any attacks that are harming the smooth-running of your system.
- Strange Performance: It’s always good to perform checkups on our devices once in a while. It helps you to stay on top of your protection and makes it clearer when something’s not running right. For example, if your CPU usage is operating at a suspiciously high level, while there might be a valid reason for this, this is cause for concern and should be investigated. Simply search online for any processes that you don’t recognize and you’ll be able to find out if they’re required by the OS or if they’re acting maliciously.
How to Protect Your System From Trojan Horse Attacks
Trojan horses can cause a lot of damage when executed properly, but that isn’t to say that you can’t protect yourself from them. Below are just some of the most effective ways of thwarting Trojan horses and keeping your data private.
- Watch Out For Third-Party Links and Downloads:
Whenever you’re downloading software or accessing links, make sure you can trust the source.
Some sites exist just to offer third-party links to seemingly legit software that’s actually there just to infect your computer.
Even visiting a website that’s infected by a Trojan horse is enough for your device to contract the virus.
Always keep an eye out for odd-looking links and emails that don’t seem to add up.
Use a Firewall:
Most operating systems tend to come with a built-in firewall but there’s a good chance it won’t deliver the level of protection you need.
Firewalls monitor all activity through the internet and prevent anything untoward, whether on websites or software, from getting in.
To ensure your device has total protection, it’s better to go with full hardware firewalls as opposed to pre-installed alternatives.
Install Antivirus Software:
The best antivirus software will keep your computer protected from even the most harmful viruses.
The software will scan your device for any malicious goings-on and after quarantining the threats, you’ll be alerted and have the chance to view and delete them.
There are great antivirus providers on the market that offer some seriously innovative protective solutions, many of which have been favorites among consumers for decades.
A few of the most popular antivirus providers can be found below.
Top Three Antivirus Programs for Trojan Protection
Norton: Likely the most well-known and established provider in the list is Norton. Founded in 1990, Norton provides multiple options for tackling cyber threats, from antivirus and Trojan protection to its own exclusive VPN.
Customers can try a free version before selecting from its standard, deluxe, and premium services, each offering an all-in-one solution for online protection.
Up to five devices can be secured simultaneously and that includes all popular smart devices and operating systems.
Eset: Systems have been protected from Trojan horses, malware, and viruses for the last 30 years, thanks to Eset.
The award-winning service comes highly recommended by its users for responsive, comprehensive security protocols that are easy to use and operate seamlessly in the background.
Eset offers packages for both homes and businesses and each comes with solid protection against viruses, Trojan horses, and more.
Bitdefender: Though it’s been in business around a decade less than the other providers, Bitdefender has protected more than 500 million systems since its beginning.
Its solutions are optimized to support the evolving needs of homes and businesses, adapting to new technologies and keeping up with hackers.
You can trial Bitdefender’s award-winning service for free before signing up for one of its premium memberships.
Always be mindful of Trojan horses and the ways to identify them. The internet is a dangerous place and there are various ways you can become the target of hackers, and they don’t always use Trojan horses.
There are some high-quality providers available that deliver seamless and efficient software that does all the hard work for you.
That way, you can focus on using the internet for improving your business and communicating with friends without fear of getting hacked.