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

662px-Theprocessionofthetrojanhorseintroybygiovannidomenicotiepolo

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 download.com, 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.

*     *     *

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 »

  1. Thank you Paul
    if some people had read Iliad http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iliad probably wouldn’t get infected.

    have a nice day

    greetings from Italy;)

    Like

    Comment by leofelix | June 9, 2010 | Reply

  2. leofelix,
    Way back in my day (back when T-rex was king) reading the Iliad and the Odyssey was a Middle School requirement.
    I don’t think it is anymore.

    Saluti dalla California, il mio amico.

    Like

    Comment by techpaul | June 9, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Paul
      LOL
      It is likely we come from the same era.
      and it seems that gentlemen like you aren’t still estinquished;)

      Like

      Comment by leofelix | June 9, 2010 | Reply

      • Ciao leofelix.
        I am a member of Generation X.
        I have been very lucky. Many older (and smarter) people have mentored, and/or are mentoring, me. All that I have done is maintain a willingness to learn.

        Like

        Comment by techpaul | June 10, 2010 | Reply

        • Paul…
          In comparison to me you are really young;)

          [quote]Generation X, commonly abbreviated to Gen X, is the generation born after the baby boom ended, ranging from 1961 to 1981[/quote]

          Ciao

          Like

          Comment by leofelix | June 11, 2010 | Reply

  3. I still recommend reading the Odyssey before graduating from Middle School. ;-)

    Like

    Comment by Adrian | June 10, 2010 | Reply

  4. nice tips, thank you Paul…

    Like

    Comment by damitri | July 6, 2010 | Reply

    • dimitri,
      I appreciate the support. Thank you.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | July 6, 2010 | Reply


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