Computers, Viruses and Trojan Horses
History of the Trojan Horse
Named for a giant horse that was supposed to be a gift but was
filled with the Greek army, a Trojan horse program can be just as
deceptive. The story goes that the Greeks gave the Trojans a huge
wooden horse as a peace offering. The citizens of Troy accepted
the gift, brought the horse inside the city, threw a victory
bash, then went to bed. It wasn't until the Greek soldiers had
set the city on fire that they realized they'd been had.
What does a Trojan Horse have to do with a computer?
A Trojan horse that affects computers can contain some nasty
surprises as well. It can damage, delete, or destroy important files.
A Trojan horse may actually appear to be a useful application,
which is why so many unsuspecting people download them. A Trojan
horse might be disguised as a program intended to rid your
computer of viruses, yet actually be used to infect your system
instead. While the terms "virus" and "Trojan horse" are
frequently used interchangeably, they are actually quite
different. A virus replicates itself, while a Trojan horse does
Once a Trojan horse is activated, it can access files, folders,
or your entire system. Commonly, Trojans create a "backdoor" or a
"trapdoor," which can be used to send your personal information
to another location. To protect your system from a Trojan horse,
extensive anti-virus software is a good first step. Choose a
program that looks for Trojan horses and worms as well as
viruses, and make sure it updates definitions for each
frequently. Also, make sure your anti-virus scans email, and
gives an alert or automatically deletes any message that contains
suspicious code, even if the code is not specific malware that
the program has already identified.
The most effective option for protecting against a Trojan horse
may be installing a firewall if you do not already have one. A
good software firewall is usually the best type for a personal
computer. It can be configured to keep intruders out while also
keeping your system, or programs within your system, from sending
out personal or confidential data.
If you are unsure, test drive a trial version of a firewall or
download a free one to check it out. Run it for one day and
examine the log file. You'll be shocked by the amount of
information that goes in and out of your computer in twenty-four
hours. You may even detect a Trojan or other malware that got
past your anti-virus, since Trojan horses are frequently
difficult to detect.
Plush Stuffed Horses