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Where Might One Find a Trojan?

Technically, a trojan could appear almost anywhere, on any operating system or platform. However, with the exception of the inside job mentioned previously, the spread of trojans works very much like the spread of viruses. Software downloaded from the Internet, especially shareware or freeware, is always suspect. Similarly, materials downloaded from underground servers or Usenet newsgroups are also candidates.

Sometimes, one need not travel down such dark and forbidden alleys to find a trojan. Trojans can be found in major, network-wide distributions. For example, examine this excerpt from a CIAC security advisory ("E-14: Wuarchive Ftpd Trojan Horse"), posted to the Net in 1994:

CIAC has received information that some copies of the wuarchive FTP daemon (ftpd) versions 2.2 and 2.1f have been modified at the source code level to contain a trojan horse. This trojan allows any user, local or remote, to become root on the affected UNIX system. CIAC strongly recommends that all sites running these or older versions of the wuarchive ftpd retrieve and install version 2.3. It is possible that versions previous to 2.2 and 2.1f contain the trojan as well.

wftpd is one of the most widely used FTP servers in the world. This advisory affected thousands of sites, public and private. Many of those sites are still at risk, primarily because the system administrators at those locations are not as security conscious as they should be.

TIP: Pick 100 random hosts in the void and try their FTP servers. I would wager that out of those hosts, more than 80% are using wftpd. In addition, another 40% of those are probably using older versions that, although they may not be trojaned, have security flaws of some kind.

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