Trojans are one of the most common types of malware. Defined by their use of social engineering as a vector for infection, they target unsuspecting victims. You may download a file that you believe is a legitimate piece of software, only for it to inject your computer with a trojan.

While all trojans use social engineering, though, some of them work in different ways. Trojans come in many forms, one of which being droppers. What is a trojan dropper exactly?

The Basics of Trojan Droppers

A trojan dropper is a type of trojan that’s designed specifically to install another type of malware. They typically don’t cause direct harm to the victim’s computer or data. Rather, trojan droppers serve as an intermediary for another type of malware. If your computer is injected with one, the trojan dropper will automatically install new malware on your computer.

How Trojan Droppers Work

Trojan droppers work by either installing or allowing for the installation of at least one another type of malware upon being deployed. Some of them contain other malware embedded within their code. Once deployed, they’ll execute the malicious code to create a new infection. Other trojan droppers work by creating a backdoor. A trojan dropper may exploit a vulnerability, thereby creating a backdoor for the hacker behind the attack. The hacker can then use this backdoor to deploy new malware.

Some of the most common means of infection for trojan droppers include the following:

  • Phishing emails
  • Malicious website links
  • Messages from hacked social media accounts
  • Compromised proxy servers

Tips to Protect Against Trojan Droppers

You can protect against trojan droppers by being more cautious of files and website links. Like all trojans, they use social engineering to target unsuspecting victims. Social engineering involves deception. A hacker will try to deceive you into downloading a file or clicking a website link that contains a trojan dropper. You can still download files and click links, but verify their legitimacy beforehand to protect your computer from this common form of malware.

Running antivirus software can lower your risk of injection as well. Most antivirus software products are designed to look for trojans. Whether it’s a dropper or any other type of trojan, it will likely catch it. The antivirus software may then remove or quarantine the malware.

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