Trojan horses are commonly known as harmful programs, and Remote Access Trojans (RATs) are the latest evolution of such programs. Typically, a Trojan horse would access a computer system in the disguise of some other software and transfer data from user’s computer to the hacker’s computer in the background. Remote Access Trojans are one step ahead, they offer remote access to the hackers. RATs are kind of like access gateway to a computer, without the consent of the computer user. RATs are quite difficult to detect even using anti-malware programs, but there are ways you could prevent RATs from getting into your system.
RAT Working Method
Like typical Trojan horses, a RAT would get settled into a computer through an executable installer file and install in a computer like any regular program. RATs would have the face of some other program and they are so carefully implied, even careful and experienced computer users might often mistake a RAT for a regular program. However, like any regular software installation, a Remote Access Trojan will make registry and system service entries as well. This way, even an antivirus program will treat a RAT as a regular computer program and exclude the data transmissions from suspicion list. Trojan horses communicate through the ports so internet connection is required for a RAT to operate.
By following the methods mentioned here; a computer user could stay safe from RATs.
- Active Firewall and Antivirus Programs: Firewalls keep eye on the internet connection and data transmission, and hence they have the ability to track RATs. Any unauthorized port setup and opening request will be tracked by a firewall and the user would be prompted to take an action. Upon verification of the legitimacy of the request, computer user could block or allow a program with the port request.
- Assess Running Processes: Chances are, a RAT won’t appear in the running applications list in Task Manager window; however it can’t conceal itself from the running processes. Open Task Manger by holding down Ctrl+Alt+Del together and clicking on Task Manager from the window that appears, or simply right click on the Taskbar and click Task Manager. Click on Processes tab and find out any suspicious process that doesn’t look right, and click on ‘End Process’.
- Unusual Programs in Startup: To begin with, lots of programs in the Startup list isn’t a very healthy computing practice because it makes a computer slow when it boots up. However, look for the program list and check whether any unusual program is enable for Startup initiation. A user won’t click on RATs to execute them so automated execution is necessary, and that’s why these programs typically use the Startup option.
- Abnormally Slow Internet: If your internet connection remains slow most of the time for no good reason, chances are some programs in the background is using the bandwidth. If it’s not a regular update activity by your security or other installed programs, chances are a RAT is using the bandwidth for intrusion.
- Check Installations: Check the list of installed programs in your computer inside Programs and Feature. Uninstall all the programs that you don’t need.
User awareness could alone save a computer from RATs, and using a security program always comes useful for safe computing.