History of Trojans
Fun and Games
A program named ANIMAL, published in 1975, is usually considered the world’s earliest case of a Trojan attack. It presented itself as a very simple game along the lines of twenty questions. But behind the scenes, the game replicated itself onto shared directories where other users could find it. From there, the game can spread across whole computer networks. The most part, it can be unharmed prank.
From December 1989, Trojan attacks were not for pranks anymore. Several million floppy disks containing the AIDS Trojan, the earliest known ransomware, were sent to readers of PC Business World magazine and a World Health Organization AIDS conference mailing list.
In the 1990s, another notorious Trojan appeared disguised in the shape of an easy Whack-A-Mole game.
Love & Money
In 2000, a Trojan called ILOVEYOU became the most damaging cyberattack in history at the moment, with damages estimated around $8.7 billion. Recipients received an email with what seemed like a text attachment called”ILOVEYOU.” If they were interested enough to start it, the app would launch a script that would overwrite their documents and send itself to every email in the user’s contact list.
Throughout the 2000s, Trojan attacks continued to evolve, as did the dangers they carried. Rather than targeting people’s fascination, Trojans leveraged the growth of illegal downloading, Indices malware as music files, pictures, or video codecs. In 2002, a Windows-based backdoor Trojan horse named Beast appeared and was capable of infecting just about all versions of Windows. Then, in late 2005, another backdoor Trojan called Zlob was dispersed disguised as a required video codec in the kind of ActiveX.
The 2000s also saw a growth in the amount of Mac users, and cybercriminals followed suit. In 2006, the discovery of this malware for Mac OS X, a low-threat Trojan Horse called OSX/Leap-A or OSX/Oompa-A, has been declared.
The motives behind the Trojan attacks also started to change around this time. Many ancient cyberattacks were inspired by a lust for power, control, or pure devastation. By the 2000s, a growing number of attacks were motivated by greed.
In 2007, a Trojan called Zeus targeted Microsoft Windows so as to steal banking information by way of a keylogger. In 2008, hackers launched Torpig, also referred to as Sinowal and Mebroot, which turned off anti-virus software, enabling others to access the computer, change information, and steal confidential information such as passwords and other sensitive information.
Bigger & Badder
As cybercrime entered the 2010s, the greed lasted, but hackers began thinking bigger. The growth of untraceable cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin led to a growth in ransomware attacks. In 2013, the Cryptolocker Trojan horse was discovered. Cryptolocker encrypts the files on a user’s harddisk and requires a ransom payment to the programmer so as to get the decryption key. Later that same year, several copycat ransomware Trojans were discovered. The 2010s also have seen a change in the way victims are targeted. While many Trojans still use a blanket approach, trying to infect as many users as possible, a more concentrated approach appears to be on the upswing. Many of the Trojans we hear about now were designed to target a particular business, organization, or even government. In 2010, Stuxnet, a Windows Trojan, was discovered. It was the first worm to attack computerized management systems, and there are hints that it was designed to target Iranian nuclear facilities.
In the year 2016, Tinba made headlines. Since its discovery, it’s been shown to have infected more than two dozen leading banking institutions in the USA, such as TD Bank, Chase, HSBC, Wells Fargo, PNC, and Bank of America.