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Spyware and Trojan Horses

Spyware has greatly impacted the way we surf the internet.  Visiting any and every website without a care in the world is now something that can put both your computer and identity at great risk.  One of the most common forms of spyware is a deceptive program that has been causing trouble for years ... the Trojan horse

The name was derived from the gigantic wooden horse given to the citizens of Troy by the Greeks as a piece offering to end their ongoing war.  As the story goes, Troy accepted the gift and saw it as a sign of their victory.  The citizens of Troy celebrated throughout the night before falling fast asleep.  It wasn't until hundreds of Greek soldiers emerged from the horse and set the city ablaze that Troy realized they had been fooled.  Similar to the horse of ancient times, the Trojan program can be very dangerous as well.                                                                    

In most cases, a Trojan horse appears to be a useful program; the reason why so many users are tricked into downloading the infection on their computer.  It may actually be disguised as an anti-virus program, yet is intended to infect a system with malware instead.  Though often associated, a Trojan horse is quite different from a computer virus which has the ability to self-replicate.  Trojans are however, known to deliver viruses and other types of malware. 

When a Trojan horse is activated, it may access certain files, folders or even an entire system.  It often creates what is known as a "trapdoor" or "backdoor", which can then be used to thieve a victim's sensitive information and forward it to another location.  This characteristic is what relates Trojans to basic form of spyware. 

eBlaster                     

eBlaster is a well known Trojan application developed by SpectorSoft, a company that has established a reputation for developing various spywawre programs.  This infection is frequently distributed via email and targets individuals and businesses using a Windows operating system and Hotmail or Yahoo mail accounts.  Once installed, eBlaster has the ability capture email contents, instant messages, chat sessions, any web sites the user visited and keystrokes entered on their computer.  This data is then automatically forwarded to the email address of the Trojan creator. 

eBlaster has been marketed as a utility for savvy businesses and over-protective parents, but actually functions as a script-kiddie tool used to exploit unknowing users.  SpectorSoft merely warns that any user infecting a computer they do not own is in violation of their terms. 

Keeping Trojans Out

Security experts suggest that the most effective defense against Trojan horses is a firewall application.  These programs can be easily configured to keep away intruders looking to install spyware and thieve your personal information.  By examining the log files, you can learn just how many outside sources are looking to access your computer.  Another recommended option is the aid of an anti-spyware application.  This type of program is usually more advanced than the average anti-virus program and is capable of detecting Trojans and other malware that easily slides through a virus scanner. 

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Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person\92s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person\92s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information
*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet
*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.