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All about trojans

Trojans, like the historical wooden horse, come disguised as useful utilities or applications but turn out to be harmful.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2003 15:44 IST

The name Trojan harks back to the famous Trojan War, in which the Greeks successfully invaded Troy by hiding some of their soldiers in a huge wooden horse.

In computer lingo, a Trojan is a malicious security-violating programme, which claims to do something useful but in reality is intentionally programmed to cause destruction to a computer without the user's knowledge.

Trojans come disguised as useful utilities or applications but turn out to be harmful. They usually work as key-loggers to trap passwords or transfer files from your hard disk.

Trojans are executable programmes, which automatically run themselves when opened and perform a function that they are programmed to do. These executable files usually have file extensions such as .exe, .vbs, .com, .scr, .bat or .js.

Trojans can spread in the guise of just about anything. They could reach you in the form of a screensaver, a picture file, a Flash greeting card or even games. IRC (Internet Relay Chat) channels and P2P programs such as Gnutella are a major source for spreading Trojans. A person can also specifically target you by sending a Trojan or a Web link with a Trojan activator embedded in the page script through e-mail.

Are Trojans more harmful than viruses?

Well, Trojans do cause more damage as they can steal your password and mail it to the sender. And more importantly, they allow hackers to gain complete control over your computer and perform actions such as DoS (Denial of Service) attacks. Hackers break into computers by using a Trojan horse and take advantage of human carelessness to steal passwords and other confidential information.

First Published: Nov 28, 2003 21:39 IST