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Defending Against the Trojan Horse

As in the days of ancient Greece, a Trojan horse sent to your computer comes disguised looking like something good, yet cleverly disguises something potentially deadly to your computer or your personal information.

The computer Trojan horse is a program designed to infect your computer. The most common way for them to arrive is in the form of an e-mail with an appealing subject line. Once the user opens the e-mail, the Trojan horse is executed and infects the computer. Chat systems such as Yahoo messenger, MSN, and ICQ can also be used to disburse Trojan horses.

Trojan Horse Viruses

A typical Trojan horse is not a virus, and cannot replicate itself, nor can it spread itself. It must depend upon some other program or mechanism to carry it from one computer to another.

However, there is a form of computer virus that spreads itself like a Trojan horse, hence the name. These viruses will normally trick a user into opening a file, disguised as something enticing much as a Trojan horse is concealed in an intriguing e-mail. Once the user opens the file, the virus not only infects the user’s computer, but replicates itself and sends itself to everyone in the user’s address book.

Effects of the Trojan Horse

The most common use of a Trojan horse is to explore a victim’s computer and extract data about the victim, such as user names and passwords. More sophisticated Trojan horses will also seek out such information as bank account numbers or credit card information. The mined information is then transmitted back to the attacker for illicit use.

In other instances, the victim’s computer becomes an attacker, joined with a network designed to attack other computers. Victim computers essentially become slaves of the attacker.

Preventing the Trojan Horse Attack

One of the simplest ways to protect yourself from attack by a Trojan horse is to never open any software, e-mail, or message from a sender you do not know. No matter how intriguing the message may be, your best bet is to delete the message without opening it.

Anti-virus software will defend against known Trojan horses. The problem with these programs is that there are many unknown Trojan horses leapfrogging their way around the Internet. These harmful programs are much easier to create than viruses, and are much more difficult for anti-virus software to detect. Many times the anti-virus software can scan an infected hard drive and still overlook a Trojan horse.

Another, more effective option is to employ the use of good anti-malware software, such as those offered by Paretologic, PC TOols & Webroot.. Their technologically advanced anti-spyware program that is designed specifically to hunt down and eliminate Trojan horses, spyware, adware, and a number of other harmful computer programs.

A 2005 study by Symantec software showed that online security threats affected 85% of personal computers, meaning yours most likely has some sort of spyware hiding on your hard drive, whether you realize it or not. Your safest bet is to take steps today to protect your computer – and your personal information – from harmful computer Trojan horses and other threats