“A Trojan horse, also called a Trojan, is malware that masquerades as a useful program.
Its name comes from the Trojan horse in The Aeneid. In the story, the Greeks, who had
been at war with Troy for 10 years, construct a large wooden horse and offer it as a “gift”
to the Trojans. The Trojans, viewing the gift as a peace offering, bring the horse into
the city. That night, as the Trojans sleep, Greek soldiers hiding in the belly of the hollow
horse climb out and open the city gates to admit the rest of the Greek army into the city.
The Greeks soundly defeat Troy that night.

Similarly, Trojan horse programs use their outward appearance to trick users into
running them. They look like programs that perform useful tasks, but actually, they hide
malicious code. Once the program is running, the attack instructions execute with the
user’s permissions and authority.

The first known Trojan was Animal, released in 1974. Animal disguised itself as a
simple quiz game in which the user would think of an animal and the program would
ask questions to attempt to guess the animal. In addition to asking questions, however,
the program copied itself into every directory to which the user had write access.
Today’s Trojans do far more than just save copies of themselves. Trojans can hide
programs that collect sensitive information, open backdoors into computers, or actively
upload and download files. The list of possibilities is endless.” (Kim and Solomon, 2012)

 

Resources:

Kim, D. and Solomon, M. (2012). Fundamentals of Information System Security, Jones & Bartlett Learning.
eText: ISBN-10 1-4496-4248-9

 

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