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Sunday, September 29, 2013

How Trojan Malware Tricks Us Into Believing It's Safe


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Subterfuge tactics has had quite a bit of time to evolve. Stemming from the infamous tale of the Trojan war where the Greeks deceitfully bestowed a large trophy horse to the credulous fortress of Troy. The Greeks’ plan to infiltrate Troy was a successful one because the Greeks appealed to the Trojans’ own self-worth. That is, the trophy horse was viewed as Troy’s triumph after an idle 10-year siege between them and the Greeks.

Cyber Criminals and the Modern Day Troy

The legacy of the Greeks and their trophy horse extended far into the future, as one of the most popular types of viruses: Trojans. Like the Trojan Horse, trojan viruses emulate seemingly benevolent offerings that are in fact bundled with malicious tools, robbing your once secured network of all its precious and important information.

With the amount of viruses, malware and other malicious software that run rampant, we have become increasingly wiser to those who are trying to get us to invite a foe into our protected digital life. Most people are now quite reluctant to open attachments from emails riddled with poor grammar, bad spelling as well as from people who aren't in their address book.

As a response to our evolving perceptiveness, cyber criminals have become more diligent in the ways that they swindle computer users. From utilizing tools that force attachments to open automatically, and creating official-looking emails that mimic the emails from our family, friends and colleagues only to actually be a malicious email, infecting your machine with harmful software.

Much like the ancient Greeks, cyber criminals are experts in pervading otherwise secured, digital fortresses. Every technique used to their disposal hinges upon the idea that they can successfully engineer social situations that will allow for the exploitation their unsuspecting victims.

In other words, developing a stratagem to either invade a massive fortress or a digital blockade has not change--in each situation, the target is the person on the other side of a protective barrier.

Third-Party Cyber Criminals Confirm Viruses are Completely Safe

With the sophistication of trojan software, cyber criminals are able to take advantage of people on a massive scale. One way they do this is by delving into quality assurance practices.

When cyber criminals have these sophisticated tools to utilize, it’s as if the Trojan guard inspecting the trophy horse was in cahoots with the Greeks, informing them of all the ways that the Greeks could infiltrate Trojan walls. In the same way, VirusTotal, a widely used program by cyber criminals, helps these criminals perfect their malware that they're planning on excuting. The program shows them which antivirus software allows their malware to go undectected. The computer user then, as they're equipped with an antivirus software, believes the software will protect them from viruses and other malware. But the reality is that the cyber criminal has taken extra precautions to make sure their virus goes undetected. 

Cyber Criminals Are Building Security Businesses to Steal from You

Cyber criminals are evolving. They no longer confine themselves to the role of 'hacker' and can create entire industries by offering other criminals the tools they need to succeed. The next time that you use a tool for computer security, think twice about it. Can you really trust the results of that program for something as sensitive as your personal data?

It’s unfortunate that we cannot place total credence in the security tools we utilize--be it a relied guard at the entrance to our front gates or software we trust to protect our most private and important files. Although cyber criminals are becoming increasingly clever, computer users can be prepared for their attacks by merely being wise to their many tactics.
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Katie Morris is a freelance writer with experience writing in the technology, security, and historical fields.

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