Agnitum Software is a company out of Russia that makes the very good firewall program Jammer. I have Jammer on both my desktop and laptop, in combination with a couple of other firewall/Internet security programs, but by far, it’s my personal favorite.
So, when Agnitum let me know there was a companion to Jammer called Tauscan, which detects and kills Trojan Horses (no, not the wooden kind), I was more than happy to review it. Like Jammer, Tauscan is a fairly small program and is very easy to install and use. It can only be downloaded from the Agnitum Web site, but believe me, it’s worth it.
Before I get into how Tauscan works and its effectiveness, here’s a short lesson in Trojan Horses for those of you who aren’t quite sure what I’m writing about.
A Trojan Horse is a form of a virus that opens a “back door” to your server or computer when it’s online. The catch is that you, the user, must be the person to unwittingly install it. This is usually via an attachment in an e-mail, when you download a zip file that’s been infected with a Trojan, or it could even come from a software program you purchased through a retail outlet (this last situation happens rarely, but it does happen).
You won’t even know you’ve infected your computer. But once infected, your computer becomes the “host” and is accessible to any remote user, usually called a “cracker” or “intruder,” that has the client part of the Trojan. The intruder can then do anything you can do on your computer, from getting passwords to copying/deleting files, keeping track of every keystroke you perform, etc. There is a longer and more detailed explanation about Trojans and what types there are at the Agnitum site.
What Tauscan does is continually monitor your computer, checking it to see if any application you run is infected with a Trojan virus. If it is, Tauscan can remove the virus so that you can use the application safely. Agnitum updates their database of known Trojans frequently, which can be downloaded from their site at any time (I highly recommend doing this at least once a week).
There is a great “Wizard” that takes you step-by-step through the scanning process or you can just jump right in and set your preferences for the program.
When I ran Tauscan for the first time, it scanned all of my hard drives – luckily, there weren’t any Trojans. When I went online, there were a few times when I got a warning that an e-mail attachment had a Trojan, but Tauscan quickly took care of the problem (and easily, I might add).
One of the best things about Agnitum is that if you have any questions or need support, they get back to you within a reasonable amount of time and are very responsive.