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How to Identify Trojan Malware

A Trojan horse is a type of malware that disguises itself as a legitimate software download, game, or other computer related application. A Trojan horse can also hide in website links, banner ads, or pop-up advertisements. Once it enters your computer the Trojan horse can execute a variety of malicious acts that include taking control of your computer, downloading additional malware into your computer, changing the computer settings, disabling your antivirus software, and monitoring your keystrokes, to name a few things.

Trojan Horse Origins

Trojan horses are created by criminals who are quite sophisticated in computer programming. This type of malware can be programmed to perform just about any malicious act you can think of as a computer programmer. Since a Trojan horse must be run before it can do any damage to your PC, it usually originates from the Internet and hides behind software applications. In addition to manifesting itself in your PC it can also travel through USB peripherals and then install itself on other PCs from those devices.

How to Identify a Trojan

The first sign that a Trojan has entered your PC is that your PC will act really strange and start doing some very uncommon things.

  • Screen Change: The screen color will change along with the screen resolution or the screen will turn upside down for seemingly no reason.
  • Antivirus Disabled: A Trojan can disable your antivirus program and deny you access so you cannot take the necessary steps to remove the malware.
  • Taskbar: You will notice changes in your taskbar or the taskbar disappears altogether.
  • Browser: The home page on your browser will change or when you try to access a website you get redirected to another website that is promoting some kind of offer.
  • Pop-Ups: Pop-ups will begin to appear on their own offering advertisements or promising a way for you to fix errors if you click on the pop-up. Often if you click, it downloads more malware into your computer.
  • Task Manager: Unknown programs will begin to run in the task manager.
  • Wallpaper: The wallpaper on the desktop may change along with the format scheme for icons and other desktop applications.
  • Mouse: You may notice the mouse moves by itself or not at all and the functions on your mouse buttons will reverse.
  • Email Client: Your email client may start sending messages to your contact list in the form of spam. Often the messages contain malware and entice the recipient to click so the malware can install itself.
  • Messages: Your computer begins to display mysterious messages and unusual graphic displays.

These are only a few of the symptoms of a Trojan horse. It also important to note that some legitimate software applications can cause some of these events so it is important to keep your antivirus updated and perform regular scans.

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Spyware has many ways of getting onto your computer, such as:

When you download programs - particularly freeware, or peer-to-peer sharing programs.

More covertly, spyware can install itself just by you visiting certain sites, by prompting you to download an application to see the site properly.

ActiveX controls. These pesky spyware makers will prompt you to install themselves while using your Internet browser