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What exactly is a Trojan Virus?

Trojans are "back doors" into a system. A hacker may disguise a Trojan as another program, or game, in order to 'trick' a user into installing it on their system. Once the user accepts the file and tries to open the file the Trojan will be installed on the computer. When the Trojan installs itself, it will make copies into different places around the system making it harder to clean once infected, and can even disable a virus scanner so it isn’t detected at all. The most famous of these Trojans to date is probably Back Orifice. This Trojan was believed to have infected thousands of computers around the world. Hackers have programs to make two programs join together, so when the user opens this file the Trojan is run and to cover up the fact that it is a virus it opens the other file at the same time.

Once installed, a hacker may have access to all of the files on your hard drive. The hacker will be able to delete or create files, open your CD-ROM drive, reboot your computer, make pop-up messages appear, get your passwords to almost everything on your computer, make you go to web sites, and many other things.

How can I protect myself against the Trojans?

First do not execute any code which you get from people you do not know, like Internet download, or email attachment, of floppy disk from "somebody". Always be careful about who is giving you the files you are going to run on your machine, and make sure it's the official source. Like computer vendors, official company web sites, and get an Antiviral scanner, which with the up to date virus database and regularly do a scan of your system. Trojans can be sent through email in the code of the message, if you get a warning message from your scanner listen to it, don’t take any chances.

These steps should protect you from most of the attacks, regular scanning, running only certified software, and be more aware about what is coming to you, through the email and other Internet services.

If you want to do more, you can install a shield against hacker attacks. A shield is basically a tool, which will monitor all the attempts to attack your PC and it will notify you in case of any suspicious activity in your system. It can also log the IP address and the time of the attack, so you can pass this data to your ISP for further action.