What Exactly Is A Trojan?

What Exactly Is A Trojan?

When you think of the word ‘trojan’ your mind may not immediately conjure up any images related to computing. Instead it is far more likely you will think of the Trojans who tricked their way into the city of Troy whilst hidden in a large wooden horse.

What Exactly Is A Trojan?

Computer trojans are, in fact, based on a similar premise, hence their name.

A trojan will appear to be a useful program, application or file but there’s more to them than that. What may appear to be a harmless download could in fact be a file containing a small trojan program which will infect your computer and then allow it’s controller to install further malicious software or even directly infiltrate your system via a back door. Many people confuses trojans with viruses but there is a distinction in that a trojan does not replicate itself.

Instead trojans propagate themselves across the internet by using deceptive practices in order to get people to download them, typically through being attached to some other type of file that the user genuinely wants -thats why I urged caution when downloading in the post I wrote yesterday.

Trojans first began appearing in the mid 1990s and were deemed a reasonably severe security threat back then. Since then, much like viruses, they have become far more sophisticated and so the chances of downloading one are probably now greater than ever.

Fortunately there are a huge number of internet security packages on the market now so finding one that suits your needs shouldn’t be too much of a problem and it will greatly minimise the risks of having an undetected trojan on your system. No system is totally infallible though, and trojan creators are always one step ahead of the countermeasures, so commonsense is always needed when downloading files, especially the likes of torrents.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. […] to the report somewhere between 30% to 40% of all password stealing Trojans focused on virtual worlds and gaming, showing that there are huge profits to be made from the […]

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