ECS Computers

Welcome to the second blog in our Viruses and Malware series – today, we’re looking at Trojans and Ransomware.

What are Trojans?

A wooden trojan horse
‘Nope, definitely no men in here!’
  • Named after the Trojan Horse from the Greek myths, this type of malware works in a very similar way. Here’s an example: 
    1. You receive an email containing a PDF document about horses and a gift from your enemy who has apparently decided to forgive and forgot! That’s great because you love PDFs about horses!
    2. You download the attachment.
    3. But that PDF document about horses actually contained malware and your computer has now been infected!
  • Really easy right? So it’s not surprising that this is the most common way computers become infected.
  • Especially if the attachment or download is from a site or emailer you trust. The payloads of Trojans vary greatly as the label Trojan only describes how the malware gets onto your machine – not what its goal is.

Payload: what the malware’s purpose is (a.k.a the way it messes with your computer).

Common malware spread through Trojans

  • Ransomware
    • Ransomware is a type of malware that takes your data hostage by threatening to delete it, permanently encrypt it or publish it unless a ransom is paid. The ransom is normally in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency as they are harder for authorities to track.
The image shows the screen of a computer infected with the Wanacry. It's demanding bitcoin and counting down.
One screen you might want to avoid.
    • They are commonly carried out using a Trojan – but the famous Ransomware WannaCry that attacked the NHS amongst other businesses, universities, and governments in 2017 was actually spread by a worm! Find out more about worms here.
    • The number of ransomware attacks grows year on year, affecting both business and home users.
  • Backdoors
    • Although Trojans’ payloads can be anything, most modern forms act as a backdoor to a user’s computer.
    • A backdoor allows unauthorised access to the device – giving the attacker access to personal information such as banking information, passwords, or personal identity without you knowing.
  • Botnets
    • Botnets are a group of infected computers that can do the dirty work of criminals such as denial of service attacks on a website, creating false traffic on a website, or even mining for bitcoin.

Worried your home or business isn’t well enough protected against the threat of malware? We can help – give us a call on 01553 692727 to talk to one of our engineers and find out how we can help!

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