Cyber security is becoming an increasing threat for businesses of all shapes and sizes, no matter where they’re located in the world or which sector they operate in. This is because more and more companies are being hit by cyber attacks such as Trojan viruses, with statistics from 2017 showing that every year, there are more than 130 large-scale targeted breaches in the US. According to Accenture, this number is growing by 27% per year.
Trojan viruses, malware, phishing emails and other cyber attacks can cost businesses greatly, resulting in substantial financial loss in the form of disruption to trading, loss of trust from customers and other companies you do business with, and (of course) the actual theft of money. In fact, it’s predicted that the global average cost of a data breach will be $150 million in 2020. Currently the average cost of an incident stands at $3.86 million, and the size of a breach is increasing by an average of 2.2% each year.
Though all cyber attacks can have devastating effects on businesses, Trojan viruses (also known as Trojan horses) are one that you and your employees are likely to come into contact with, and potentially fall victim to. Named after the famous wooden horse led to the fall of the city of Troy, Trojans masquerade themselves as a legitimate piece of software so that you download them. This enables hackers to gain access to your system so they can steal your and your customers’ personal information.
Trojan viruses have been around since the 70s, but they’re becoming an increasing risk due to the fact that most organizations are moving their business infrastructure online, making it easier for hackers to find the information they want in one central location.
Fortunately, you can prevent Trojans from gaining access to your systems and devices by taking a few simple steps. These include educating your staff so they know not to download software from a source they don’t know or trust, ensuring Trojan antivirus software is installed on all devices, or blocking staff from downloading software to work devices without permission completely.
To give you an insight into just how dangerous they can be, check out our round-up of the top 3 Trojan viruses and the affect they had below…
First identified in 2006, this Trojan horse was sent to users through emails, and was dubbed the ‘Storm Worm’ due to the fact that one of the famous emails it appeared in had the subject line, “230 dead as storm batters Europe”. This particular Trojan virus tricks people into downloading it to their device by pretending to be a link to a current news story. Once a computer is infected, it becomes a zombie and the hacker is able to gain remote control of the device.
In 2007, it was estimated that between 1 million and 15 million computers around the world had been infected. The Storm Worm has reappeared many times over the years, such as 2008 when emails used an earthquake in China in the subject line to encourage people to open the email.
Unlike other viruses on this list, the OSX/RSPlug Trojan didn’t cause a large amount of damage, though the intention of the application was to aid in identity theft and drive traffic to other websites. What it did do, however, was highlight the fact that Mac devices could be infected by viruses; something that many people mistakenly believed wasn’t the case for too many years.
The OSX/RSPlug Trojan targeted web forums by posting links to ‘pornographic content’, which instead took the user to a page encouraging them to download the newest version of QuickTime to access this content. Once this Trojan has infected a system, it can hijack web requests, directing them to phishing websites for the likes of Ebay, PayPal and banking websites.
The Klez virus takes the form of a worm or a Trojan horse when it attacks systems, and it first appeared in 2001 when it was spread through attachments in email messages. Due to the fact that each email’s subject line and messages are different, the Klez virus is hard to identify which only contributed to its reach. Nonetheless, in many cases, it takes the form of a Klez removal tool.
According to Symantic, Klez has the potential to disable virus-scanning software, making it particularly dangerous. It also has the ability to remove other important files from a user’s hard drive, and it spread by replicating the email and sending this to those in the victim’s address book. In 2002, it was reported by Geek.com that 7.2% of all computers had been infected by some form of the Klez virus.
With businesses moving more of their files and processes online and remote working becoming the norm, cyber attacks like Trojans are only going to become a bigger risk. Check out the TelcoCompare blog for more tips on cyber security.