If you’ve ever owned a laptop or PC, chances are you’re aware of trojan horse and worm viruses. In fact, you may have even had to deal with one on your device before.
Both trojan horse and worm viruses are pieces of software known as malware. Unfortunately, they are fairly common and can cause issues ranging from annoying pop-ups to stealing confidential data.
But what exactly are the differences between a trojan horse and worm virus? And more importantly, how can you avoid them?
We’re going to take a closer look at these common computer viruses, and explain how you can protect your devices.
What are Software Viruses?
Trojan horse and worms are part of a type of software called malware, or ‘Malicious Software’. Malware is designed to infiltrate devices such as PC’s or laptops, to damage and disrupt networks or steal data.
Malware commonly infects our devices through downloading, where it is hidden in files or programs. In other instances, viruses can be installed through users visiting a website which uses software to infiltrate the browser.
These types of software viruses spread through your device by duplicating itself and attached to other files on your device.
There are several types of malware, two of the most common being Trojan horse and Worm. Let’s take a closer look at these two forms of malware and what impact they can have on your devices.
What is Trojan Horse?
A trojan horse is a type of malware that pretends to be a legitimate piece of software or program. Device users are tricked into installing the software onto their systems, which then gives the Trojan Horse full access to the device.
A Trojan horse can cause any number of issues. For some, this might be persistent pop-ups on your screen or changing users’ desktops – minor but annoying. For others, the trojan can cause more serious damage to the system. This can include deleting files, stealing data, and even giving the virus host access to your entire system.
This type of malware is not easy to spot, and many people fall victim to extremely legitimate-looking installations and programs. If you’re unlucky enough to end up with a trojan virus on your HP laptop, there are ways to remove it yourself.
Interestingly, the Trojan horse is actually named after a wooden horse that the Greek army used to gain access to Troy. Thinking it was a gift, the people of Troy allowed the wooden horse “Trojan”, into the land, unknowingly inviting in their attackers. So, a very appropriate name for this sneaky malware.
So, what about worm malware? How does it differ from Trojan horse?
What is Worm Malware?
Worm malware act very much like a virus infection in humans, in that they replicate copies of themselves to infect the entire device.
Worms are particularly malicious as they can function as malware without using a host program. Unlike trojan horse which needs a user to activate, or download it, worms attack through a weakness in your system. An example of this might be a user visiting an untrusted website without anti-virus protection installed on their device.
Worms can also access to your system through a process called ‘social engineering’. This is when malicious users contact companies to gain unauthorised access to their data.
So, how can you protect your devices from malware such as trojan horse and worms? Let’s find out.
How to Protect Devices from Trojan Horse and Worm Malware
The best way to protect any device from Trojan horse or worm malware is to install quality antivirus software on your PC or laptop. There are many of these programs to choose from, but the most popular are McAfee and Norton Antivirus.
A good antivirus program isn’t free, but it is much better than paying the price of an infected PC or laptop! An example of this is the new Avast anti-virus software which can recognise fake websites and even a password manager.
Of course, there are other steps you can take to keep your devices virus-free. This includes not opening emails from untrusted contacts and avoiding downloading from untrusted websites. Only proceed with downloads if you are 100% sure they are safe.
When it comes to contracting viruses on our devices, most of us know that PC’s and laptops are the most at risk. But can you get malware on your mobile devices?
Malware Threats: Are all Devices at Risk?
Whether or not mobile devices can become infected by malware such as Trojan horse or worm is a bit of a grey area.
Technically, you are unlikely to pick up Trojan horse or worms on your mobile phone. But it doesn’t mean they are not at risk.
As technology advances, malware advances too. It is possible that malicious users could attack your Android or iPhone through an app, so it is still better to take precautions.
Much like when protecting your PC and laptop, be careful what you download onto your mobile device. Stick to apps that look legitimate and that are verified. User reviews and a high-quality look are good indicators as to whether an app is legitimate.
Additionally, Android phones give you the option to complete a virus scan. Run a scan to ensure your device is not at risk, and uninstall any apps that are flagged as potential threats.
When it comes to the iPhone, they are generally quite secure. Although the practice of ‘jailbreaking’ phones – when a phone is essentially unlocked to allow edits to the internal system – can make your phone more vulnerable to viruses. So, it’s best to avoid doing this where possible!
If you’re looking into anti-virus software, it can be hard to know where to start. Take a look at the best anti-virus software for Windows 10, and find out if Avast or 360 Safeguard is best for your system.