What is a Computer Virus?
Computer viruses or malware (malicous software) are malicious software that take control of your computer. Viruses and malware run in the background and can spread to other networked computers, people you email, and can destroy all your files.
What is a Trojan?
"It is a harmful piece of software that looks legitimate. Users are typically tricked into loading and executing it on their systems", as Cisco describes.
What is Adware?
A Trojan horse may modify your computer to display advertisements in unwanted places, such as the desktop or in uncontrollable pop-ups, or it may be less notorious, such as installing a toolbar on your Web browser without prior notice. This can create revenue for the author of the Trojan, despite it being against the Terms of Service of most major Internet advertising networks.
Trojan horses can be installed through the following methods:
A Trojan horse may itself be a computer virus, either by asking other users on a network, such as a instant-messaging network, to install the said software, or by spreading itself through the use of application exploits.
- Software downloads
- Bundling (e.g. a Trojan horse included as part of a software application downloaded from a file sharing network)
- Email attachments
- Websites containing executable content (e.g., a Trojan horse in the form of an ActiveX control)
- Application exploits (e.g., flaws in a Web browser, media player, instant-messaging client, or other software that can be exploited to allow installation of a Trojan horse)
Operations that a hacker can perform on your computer include:
Trojan horses can allow a hacker remotely access your computer. Once a Trojan horse has been installed on the target computer, a hacker can have access to your system perform various operations, limited by user privileges on the target computer system and the design of the Trojan horse.
- Use of the machine as part of a botnet (e.g. to perform automated spamming or to distribute Denial-of-service attacks)
- Data theft (e.g. retrieving passwords or credit card information)
- Installation of software, including third-party malware
- Downloading or uploading of files on your computer
- Modification or deletion of your files
- Keystroke logging (recording your typing)
- Watching your screen
- Crashing the computer
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