Glossary

Trojan Horse

A Trojan Horse is a specific type of malware that misleads users about what it will do. It initially appears harmless, but once it infects a system, it releases a payload that may cause operational harm or expose sensitive data.

Terms related to Trojan Horse: Malware, Cybersecurity, Antivirus, Firewall, Vulnerability, Exploit, Patch, Phishing, Payload, Ransomware, Backdoor, Breach, Distributed Denial of Service, DDoS.

Trojan Horses are most commonly spread through social engineering and phishing attacks that fool a user into accessing and opening an infected file or piece of software. The Trojan Horse will then install itself and, if combined with a virus, can potentially spread across the network to other devices. Once specific conditions are met, the payload will be launched, causing further disruption.

Typical payloads include viruses, ransomware, other malware, keystroke logging, and backdoors. Backdoors are a way for a hacker to get open access to an organization’s systems and data, they can then use that backdoor to run malicious code, extract data, and perform a data breach. Another popular payload is turning the infected computer or network into a “Botnet” that can perform Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on other networks and systems.

Due to the way Trojan Horses can be configured, the malware may even delete itself or become dormant once it has achieved its specified function, making it more difficult to detect.

Defenses against Trojan Horses include robust antivirus and firewall tools, vulnerability scanning, security monitoring, and system and software patches. It is especially important to educate and train staff to spot potential exploitation attempts, as social engineering and phishing are the most common entry points for Trojan Horses.