Shutting the Stable Door – Keeping out Trojan Horse Software

Recent revelations about the News of the World’s misdeeds haven’t only been about phone hacking. It is also alleged that Trojan Horse programs were used to access computers and private e mail accounts, illegally gaining information. This highlighted the threat to both individuals and companies from these programs, and should be of concern to anyone interested in maintaining security.

A Trojan program appears harmless. It quietly arrives through email, websites, non-Internet data sharing sources and social networking sites, and installs itself. Once in place it damages and disrupts computer activity. It’s done without the knowledge or permission of the computer user, who may not be aware that the computer has been infiltrated.

There are two main types of Trojan. The spyware Trojan sends information from a computer to a third party. The backdoor Trojan gives access to a computer to others across the Internet. Both represent a threat to security and efficiency, and come in many sophisticated forms. However, solutions designed to detect and block them are also increasingly sophisticated, and help is at hand.

The best way to deal with Trojans sourced from the Internet is to detect and block them at the gateway to the office network. A solution is needed that inspects all incoming email, files and documents.  This includes apparently innocuous Instant Messaging (IM), peer-to-peer (P2P), file sharing and games applications not usually scanned by traditional anti-virus solutions. The SonicWALL Gateway Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware service does exactly that. All Internet sourced threats are blocked at the gateway and prevented from being downloaded. SonicWALL’s services also stop any Trojan programs already in the network from communicating with their hosts outside, providing an effective barrier.

Trojan software authors often target social networking sites, such as the very popular Facebook. Security and productivity can both be damaged by unrestricted access to such sites. SonicWALL Content Filtering Service (CFS) enables filtering and blocking of social and other websites that are inappropriate to the workplace, as well as reducing exposure to Trojan threats by preventing access to sites that may be their sources. CFS has a dynamic and constantly updated database of website addresses and domains. There are categories to choose from, and it’s flexible enough allow specific restrictions to be applied.

Trojans can also infiltrate a network from non-Internet sources. They may be on USB disks, CDs, memory cards, tapes or computers joining the network. In fact, any data-sharing method can potentially contain a Trojan. To deal with these threats, protection is needed within the network. A solution for this can be found with Sophos Endpoint Security. In this solution, up to date endpoint security software is installed on all desktop PCs The software then works to detect and remove threats. It can assess guest computers before they join the network. Smart phones and tablets may also be included, through the purchase of separate software.  Sophos provide regular security updates for the latest protection.

Although it may seem that the threat from Trojans is too complicated to combat, there are solutions that provide efficient and effective protection, and IT specialists who make it happen. If the specialists at Intraspace had been available to check out the wooden horse outside the gates of Troy, they would have advised the Trojans to keep their city gates shut, preventing the attack that lost them the war.

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