More from the Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid (No Really, I Mean It) Dept: Trojans are nasty bits of software and you’re not necessarily safe, even with a firewall and a virus checker (my previous post notwithstanding). According to a white paper by U.K.-based software vendor GFI, previously unknown Trojans can slip past your defences even when you or your system techies are wearing rubber gloves and have multiple virus scanners working at once.
Now of course GFI, after scaring you silly with their white paper and a somewhat demented-looking woman on their homepage, want you to buy their software, but they have a point about the Trojans. Trojans are nasty beasts and they can inveigle their way on board surprisingly easily. Once there, they can do some serious damage, not just to your computer but your bank account, confidential data and general joie de vivre (that’s French for ‘what’s a virus scanner?’). Here’s what they can do or get hold of:
- Credit card information (often used for domain registration or shopping sprees)
- Any accounting data (email passwords, dial-up passwords, Web services passwords, etc)
- Confidential documents
- Email addresses (for example, customer contact details)
- Confidential designs or pictures
- Calendar information regarding the user’s whereabouts
- Using your computer for illegal purposes, such as to hack, scan, flood or infiltrate other machines on the network or Internet.
What to do? Well, check your techie administrator is not asleep at the wheel, because it is he/she who should be keeping all this stuff out. If you don’t have one, you’re the techie administrator or you’re connected from home, run a firewall and a virus checker. Indeed, GFI recommend running more than one virus checker. I was always told that was detrimental, a bit like brushing your teeth twice. I’ll ask around about that and get back to you. Meanwhile, read the white paper. It’s actually quite useful.