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Protecting Yourself from Trojans
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One of the oldest kinds of computer infections, Trojans are the nastiest and most difficult malware to detect and kill. They’re named after the Trojan Horse of Greek mythology because of the way in which they initially spread.

The original Trojan pests hid inside supposedly useful or entertaining programs, such as games. When you ran the game on your system, you would unleash the Trojan and it would silently do its damage.

For now, Trojans can’t make copies of themselves and infect other computers. They have to be spread manually in some way. Today, Trojans usually come as an email attachment that claims to be a picture or document. In one particularly insidious kind of attack, the email attachments appear to be a security update from Microsoft. When you open the attachments, you set the Trojan loose.

Trojans infect your system in other ways as well. They can be sent as attachments to instant messages or as files over file-sharing networks. And they can also be downloaded to your computer silently in the background when you visit a website. The website includes malicious code that downloads the Trojan using a java applet or a piece of script, without your knowledge. Worse, the website need not be a malicious one. Someone can plant the malicious code on the website without the owner’s knowledge.

Trojans typically give someone else control over your computer, or automatically perform actions of some kind, such as downloading other malware, or stealing your passwords and sending them to someone via email. Trojans can do the following damage:


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