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A destructive Trojan is a virus designed to destroy or delete files. Destructive Trojans have more typical virus characteristics than other types of Trojans but do not always result in data theft.
Destructive Trojans may not be detected by antivirus software. Once a destructive Trojan infects a computer system, it randomly deletes files, folders, and registry entries, often resulting in OS failures. A destructive Trojan is usually in program form or manipulated to strike like a logic bomb programmed and specified by the attacker.
Destructive Trojans are viruses, but they do not self-replicate like other viruses or worms. Destructive Trojans are written as simple crude batch files with commands like "DEL," "DELTREE" or "FORMAT." This code is usually compiled as ".exe" or ".com" files, such as BAT2COM. Thus, it is difficult to determine if a computer system infection is caused by a destructive Trojan.
Computing platforms that are susceptible to destructive Trojans include:
Apple firmware has been attacked by destructive compiled AppleScript Trojans that invade privacy and compromise security. Additionally, personal digital assistants (PDA) reportedly have been attacked by destructive and data-stealing Trojans.
Certain tools help prevent destructive Trojans, including rollback software, antivirus software and anti-Trojan software.