A TALKING TROJAN is a type of Trojan horse virus that invokes (and sometimes repeats) an audible message while corrupting the operating system or hard disk of a computer. These viruses are commonly implemented by way of email and other social devices and are characterized by their guise as legitimate software.
History of the Talking Trojan Virus
The story of the Trojan horse originates with Greek mythology in which a wooden horse was used to conquer the city of Troy. After a decade long campaign, the Greeks concluded that the walls of Troy were much more formidable than anticipated, and that they needed another point of entry. In a final attempt at victory, they packed the most elite of their soldiers inside a wooden horse and left it as a “gift” for the Trojans, pretending to sail away in retreat.
Once the Trojans thought it was safe, they wheeled the wooden horse inside the city walls and began to celebrate. But by nightfall, the Greeks would emerge from both the wooden horse and sea, descending upon the city and defeating the impregnable defense of Troy.
Trojans in the World of Tech
The Trojan horse virus and its Talking Trojan counterpart work similarly to their mythological roots. They invade an otherwise well-defended system by way of user gullibility, and proceed to pillage and destroy it. The Talking Trojan, in particular, uses an audio/video message while attempting to wipe the contents of an entire system—as if to mock the user about their state of helplessness.
It can be argued that the concept of a Talking Trojan appeared theatrically before it did in actuality. Exploits with similar characteristics were depicted in popular films like The Matrix and Skyfall, and later, in television series like Mr. Robot. Even popular anime flicks like Ghost in the Shell and Death Note incorporated similar themes. As one might imagine, the Talking Trojan virus is a particularly devastating class of the Trojan horse computer virus.
It is generally accepted that the first of these viruses were spotted around 2007. BotVoice.A, which is often credited as one of the first, was discovered by Panda Security and put many active Windows Operating Systems of that day at risk. It was noted for repeating the following message:
“You have been infected, I repeat, you have been infected and your system files has [sic] been deletes [sic]. Sorry. Have a nice day and bye bye!” – Click here to listen
Because of the high stakes nature and sophistication of a Talking Trojan virus, the average computer user is usually not targeted. Instead, popular talking infections are in the form of ransomware which utilizes a pop-up and prompt a user for credit card information in exchange for a malware removal solution.
These types of ransomware pop-ups, along with other Internet channels for nefarious software, are usually avoidable by using a pop-up blocker. Most browsers are shipped with this native capability. The good news is that unlike typical computer viruses, the spreading of a Talking Trojan (or Trojan horse virus, in general) usually lacks the ability to propagate itself. To prevent infection and spreading, it is important to avoid downloading software from unknown and/or non-trusted sources. It is equally important to remain diligent and avoid introducing unknown storage devices, such as USB drives and CD-ROMs, to a system.
The mechanisms and high levels of sophistication of Talking Trojans were unprecedented when they first arrived in the wild. Even to this day, they remain a fixture in the world of malicious software.