Destructive Trojan

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What Does Destructive Trojan Mean?

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.

Techopedia Explains Destructive Trojan

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:

  • Windows: Commonly attacked platform
  • Linux: Increased attacks have been reported.

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.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.