Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

The Trojan Horse was a tale from the Trojan War…

The Trojan Horse was a tale from the Trojan War. It was the stratagem that allowed the Greeks finally to enter the city of Troy. But the term “Trojan Horse” has come to mean any trick that causes a target to invite a foe into a securely protected bastion or place, and is now often associated with “malware” computer programs presented as useful or harmless in order to induce the user¹ to install and run them.

¹ “the user” = you

662px-Theprocessionofthetrojanhorseintroybygiovannidomenicotiepolo

The best part about the Trojan method (from the cybercriminal’s perspective) is that the user¹ willingly clicks the “Install” (or “Run”) which bypasses any protections they may have — firewall, antivirus, “security suite”.
(That’s a very important concept to grasp: antivirus does not protect you from yourself, it helps protect you from the Internet.)

So where do you run into software downloads that contain Trojans?
A: Sadly, in the current state of our un-policed Internet, just about anywhere.. but some places to download are safer than others (and some even strive to be 100% safe).
* If you use a peer-to-peer (“torrents”) file-sharing approach to getting free programs, movies, and music – such as LimeWire or BitTorrent – it is not a question of “if”, it is a question of “when”. (Please don’t write and tell me how you’ve stolen property with file sharing for years and never been infected..)

* Reputable download sites (aka “trustworthy”): there are several, but when I need to download something, I generally go to download.com, majorgeeks, or filehippo.

Also – I never click “Run” on a download, but click “Save”, and save the file to my desktop. Then I scan it with my antivirus. And then I double-click it to launch the setup/install.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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January 27, 2010 - Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, hackers | , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Hey, the Tale Of The Trojan Horse… right on…

    A great parallel,reminder/example of how careful we have to be to avoid Trojan’s.

    G.

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    Comment by Gaia | January 28, 2010 | Reply

    • Gaia,
      Yes, and that is exactly how it works too. They plant a download for a program/file that is attractive (like, say, a free copy of Windows 7.. or, the “director’s cut” of Avatar.. or something as innocous as a ‘nascar wallpaper’), but also included is a small file which ‘bots‘ your machine and/or tries to steal your “identity”

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | January 28, 2010 | Reply

  2. TechPaul,

    Your comment; “Also – I never click “Run” on a download, but click “Save”, and save the file to my desktop. Then I scan it with my antivirus. And then I double-click it to launch the setup/install.”

    This is the best advice out there! I see so many users doing the opposite, which is a major risk.

    Rick

    Like

    Comment by Ramblinrick | January 28, 2010 | Reply

    • Rick,
      My experience has been that whenever I work with a new client and they see me do that, they invariably ask me, “why did you do that?”
      Nobody ever told them.

      After I explain, they ask me, “how did you do that?”
      And I explain that almost every antivirus/security vendor adds a right-click > “scan file” option to their context menus.
      “That’s pretty neat!” they say. Because nobody ever told them.

      (I believe the fundamental misconception is that, because they pay for it to be brought into their home, it is “filtered” and “quality tested for safety”.. like their water is. When in fact, they are just buying a monthly access pass to a “virtual” version of the world. [And like our RL world, there are unpleasant characters out there.])

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | January 28, 2010 | Reply


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