The Trojans are coming !

Well it’s time to chat about those Trojans

FYI – for those who don’t know what Trojans are (frankly that is scary all by itself): Trojans are small programs that are inserted into other programs such as funny video clips or computer games or email greeting card. When you click on the funny video clip whilst it is playing the Trojan program is installed on your computer and there it lives. The Trojan is then programmed to perform certain tasks such as sending out copies of your documents, or going through your email, or opening up a backdoor that a hacker can get into your computer.

When you hear statistics like 250 000 new Trojans being developed, this worries me and it should worry you too.

In the past underground hackers wrote software for kicks and to be challenged to see “if they can”. These days, there are now companies trading in Trojans where you can buy Trojans to use.

Why would someone want to use it ?

Here is an example: If your company and a rival company has been chosen as the final two companies to supply the same product to a large national retail chain. If you purchase a Trojan that emails you the rival company’s confidential document, you can use that information to your advantage !

It is Illegal ? well here is the kicker – YES but which law enforcement agency will enforce this ?

Most of these programs are hosted somewhere obscure (like Panama or Peru) where they have more legal problems to worry about than a silly thing like cyber crime.

There was recently a case where someone in the US built a website and registered a domain that looked very similar to the Sydney Opera House official website. He sold tickets for shows and clearly was out to defraud the public. The Oz police were tipped and they contact the US police who simply ignored this !

How do Trojan make money ?

Trojan are sold. So that is simple to understand. Other people use Trojans to get information – they sell this information. Some Trojan hook into your cell phone and dial premium-rated numbers and send SMS to competitions that you premium rated The Trojan owner owns those numbers and competitions lines so they make money per SMS and per phone call that comes in.

Whilst typing this –  I came across this article published today !!!

“The fraud allegedly involved more than R20-million and pertained to the use of spy software on computers in several government departments.”


So what can you do ?

1. Don’t open/ click/ download anything you are not sure of. EVEN if it comes from a friend. Trojans are very clever in attaching themselves to email and sending it to everyone in the address book. The result is that you see an email that appears to come from a friend saying something along the lines “you have to watch this – it’s brilliant !”. Don’t be tempted !

2. Make sure your computer has a firewall – this will tell you if a program is trying to communicate with someone on the internet and you can block it.

3. Make sure you have the latest anti-virus updates.  Update the virus definitions daily !

4. Be Cell phone aware. Your Cell phone is a target much like your computer is !

Keep your guard up – there are some very funny things going on out there on the net and I am afraid the problem is only going to get worse !

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