You’ve heard the story before.
For years, ancient Greeks tried to infiltrate the coveted city of Troy. After a series of failed attempts, they feigned surrender and sent a giant wooden horse to their enemies. Troy opened its gates to accept the gift. Then, night fell—and soldiers emerged from within the hollow “peace offering” to take the Trojans by storm.
Fast forward more than 3,000 years, and cybercriminals are recreating the ancient tale using a modern weapon of their own: remote access trojans (RATs).
True to their name, RATs are a particularly sneaky type of malware designed to trick unsuspecting users. Once on a computer, they give cybercriminals complete, anonymous control—from anywhere in the world.
As the ancient Trojans would surely attest, you don’t want to be on the receiving end.
The dangers of remote access trojans
What are remote access trojans able to do, specifically? The short answer: a lot. Here are just a few ways that hackers can wreak havoc with remote access trojans:
One of history’s biggest RATs
Now that we’ve answered the question “What are remote access trojans,” let’s look at a real RAT in action.
This one’s called Blackshades—and by 2014, it had infected more than 500,000 computers in over 100 countries.
One of those computers belonged to an American beauty queen named Cassidy Wolf: the 19-year-old victim of a sextortion case. In 2013, a 20-year-old hacker from California seized control of Cassidy’s webcam and took a series of compromising photographs. He then demanded that Cassidy send him more photos and videos, threatening to publish the existing photos if she didn’t comply.
This may sound like an elaborate movie plot. But remote access trojans are real-life dangers—commonly infiltrating computers through email attachments or add-ons to legitimate software.
According to the FBI, potential signs of a Blackshades or general RAT infection include:
At the end of the day, strong cybersecurity may be all that stands between you and digital destruction.
Stay protected with SiteLock
As a global leader in website security, SiteLock protects websites from malware and other cyber threats on a daily basis. Contact our team of experts today to keep cybercriminals at bay.