The one thing most responsible for defeating a computer’s security is the user, strange as this may seem. All it takes is clicking on a link that contains a trojan or a keylogger to mess up a system. Most of the time, these arrive in official looking emails, claiming that there’s something in it that needs to be taken care of. Usually these show up something other than a phishing email, since the intent is to either spread more copies of a program or to trap passwords.
Trojans are probably the most clever creation hackers have ever devised. They look like they’re a program that can do some good on a computer, such as cleaning up viruses and malware. It presents the user with an interface that looks legitimate. What’s really going on is that while the trojan is presenting an innocent face, it’s really spreading all kinds of garbage around on the hard drive. Hence the term trojan, as in the Trojan horse from mythology. Damage can range from annoying advertising that’s almost impossible to eliminate to being part of a denial of service attack.
Keyloggers tend to get into computers through trojans or other forms of viruses. There is no one set method for how a user gets them, making it difficult to track back where it originated from. They work insidiously on the computer, tracking the keystrokes of the unsuspecting user. Unlike a standard trojan, a keylogger runs in the background, never making its presence known. By the time the user discovers that they’ve been hacked, it’s too late. Every account that was logged into is now open to the hacker behind the logger. The only hope to avert complete disaster is that the sensitive websites have strong security on their end and can tell when a user has been hacked.