What do we mean when we say ‘Trojan Horse’?

Taking its name from the Ancient Greek story about the deceptive wooden horse gifted to the city of Troy as a way of sneaking soldiers past the guards, in the world of computing the term refers to a kind of malware. Much like its namesake, a trojan horse is a malicious piece of code disguised as something much more friendly that relies on the user allowing it entry to their computer.

How are they getting into our computers?

A trojan acts like a legitimate document, file or application in order to trick you. Duping a victim into loading and executing the seemingly innocent malware on their device. Once installed, a Trojan can perform the action it was designed for… causing hard and disruption to your computer, device or network.

  • Advertisements. Some trojans use convincingly realistic pop-ups and banner ads to coerce victims into downloading something they think to be an application or document but is in fact malicious malware.
  • Spam email is a favourite for cyber criminals using trojan horse malware. One form of trojan that is currently causing a lot of problems the banking malware Emotet.

“The primary distribution method for Emotet is through mail spam. Emotet ransacks your contacts list and sends itself to your friends, family, coworkers and clients. Since these emails are coming from your hijacked email account, the emails look less like spam and the recipients, feeling safe, are more inclined to click bad URLs and download infected files.”

How can we defend ourselves against them?

  • Be vigilant! Don’t take anything you see on the internet at face value and do plenty of research into the latest phishing scams that cyber criminals are using. Don’t click links directly from emails – instead, find your way to the website yourself so you know there hasn’t been any sneaky redirects.
  • Download quality anti-spam software. By using anti-spam software on all of your devices you can protect against malware. This doesn’t just mean trojan horse malware, but also other forms of virus and phishing scam. MailCleaner is an anti-spam gateway installed between your mail infrastructure and the internet that can offer you professional protection against scams by eliminating up to 99% of spam.