Tech – for Everyone

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

Download Danger – the “Trojan”

That’s a very important concept to grasp: an antivirus does not protect you from yourself, it helps protect you from the Internet..

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 ².

¹ “the user” = you


The best part about the Trojan method (from the cyber-criminal’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 are actually 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”. That Lady Gaga Song you downloaded may very well have had a virus attached. (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, majorgeeks, or filehippo.

² update: That description is from Wikipedia. A man I admire very much wrote and provided me with this clarification on what is a Trojan: “Historically, a Trojan horse attack is accomplished by the perpetrator providing the victim directly or indirectly with a useful computer program (the Horse) that may perform its intended purpose or not but also contains instructions (the soldiers hidden inside) to perform harmful actions for the benefit of the perpetrator. A variation is a program (the horse) that inserts (patches) computer instructions (the soldiers) into some other existing program to perform the harmful acts.

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

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Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.

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June 8, 2010 Posted by | advice, antivirus, computers, cyber crime, PC, security, tech | , , , , , | 9 Comments