A Remote Access Trojan (RAT) is a type of malicious software (malware) that cybercriminals use to gain unauthorized access and control over a victim’s computer or network. The term “remote access” indicates that the attacker can control the infected system from a remote location, often over the internet. RATs are a subset of the broader category of trojan horses, which are malware disguised as legitimate software.
Here are some key characteristics and functionalities of Remote Access Trojans:
- Unauthorized Access: RATs are designed to provide attackers with unauthorized access to a victim’s computer or network, enabling them to perform various malicious actions.
- Stealthy Installation: RATs are typically installed on a victim’s system without their knowledge or consent. They often disguise themselves as legitimate files or software to avoid detection.
- Remote Control: Once installed, a RAT allows the attacker to remotely control the infected system. This control can include viewing the victim’s screen, accessing files and data, executing commands, and even manipulating the mouse and keyboard.
- Data Theft: RATs can be used to steal sensitive data from the victim’s computer, such as login credentials, personal information, or proprietary business data.
- Surveillance: Attackers can use RATs to monitor a victim’s activities, including web browsing, email communication, and instant messaging.
- Malicious Activities: RATs can be used to carry out various malicious activities, such as launching further attacks, spreading malware to other computers, or participating in botnets for coordinated cyberattacks.
- Persistence: RATs often include mechanisms to maintain persistence on the infected system, ensuring that they continue to operate even after a system reboot.
- Communication: RATs establish a connection with a remote server controlled by the attacker, allowing for command and control (C&C) communications. This enables the attacker to send instructions and receive stolen data.