Threat Explorer

The Threat Explorer is a comprehensive resource consumers can turn to for daily, accurate, up-to-date information on the latest threats, risks and vulnerabilities.



11 December 1997
13 February 2007

AOL.Trojan is a generic detection for a group of Trojans that are made specifically to work under America Online. Some variants of this Trojan might also open ports to allow a hacker to gain access to the infected system.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version 11 December 1997
  • Latest Rapid Release version 07 May 2019 revision 006
  • Initial Daily Certified version 11 December 1997 revision 002
  • Latest Daily Certified version 07 May 2019 revision 008
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date pending
Click here for a more detailed description of Rapid Release and Daily Certified virus definitions.

If AOL.Trojan is executed, it is possible for a hacker to perform any of the following actions:
  • Reboot or shut down the computer
  • Move the mouse pointer
  • Enable and disable Ctrl+Alt+Delete
  • Enable and disable the Start button
  • Open or close the CD-ROM drive tray
  • Read or delete AOL mail
  • Hide or show the task bar
  • Locate a member on AOL
  • Monitor AOL Instant Messages
  • Send a Instant Message

Most of these AOL Trojans are written in Visual Basic, which will not run on systems that do not have the Visual Basic run time libraries. Also, most of these AOL Trojans create copies of themselves in the following folders:
  • \Windows
  • \Windows\System

In most cases, the Trojan creates a registry value in one or more of these registry keys:


These registry keys are common loading points to make sure that the Trojan is run when you start Windows.

Some also add lines to the Win.ini file or the System.ini file so that they run at startup; this works only under Windows 95/98/Me.

For information about common loading points, read one of these documents:


Symantec Security Response encourages all users and administrators to adhere to the following basic security "best practices":

  • Use a firewall to block all incoming connections from the Internet to services that should not be publicly available. By default, you should deny all incoming connections and only allow services you explicitly want to offer to the outside world.
  • Enforce a password policy. Complex passwords make it difficult to crack password files on compromised computers. This helps to prevent or limit damage when a computer is compromised.
  • Ensure that programs and users of the computer use the lowest level of privileges necessary to complete a task. When prompted for a root or UAC password, ensure that the program asking for administration-level access is a legitimate application.
  • Disable AutoPlay to prevent the automatic launching of executable files on network and removable drives, and disconnect the drives when not required. If write access is not required, enable read-only mode if the option is available.
  • Turn off file sharing if not needed. If file sharing is required, use ACLs and password protection to limit access. Disable anonymous access to shared folders. Grant access only to user accounts with strong passwords to folders that must be shared.
  • Turn off and remove unnecessary services. By default, many operating systems install auxiliary services that are not critical. These services are avenues of attack. If they are removed, threats have less avenues of attack.
  • If a threat exploits one or more network services, disable, or block access to, those services until a patch is applied.
  • Always keep your patch levels up-to-date, especially on computers that host public services and are accessible through the firewall, such as HTTP, FTP, mail, and DNS services.
  • Configure your email server to block or remove email that contains file attachments that are commonly used to spread threats, such as .vbs, .bat, .exe, .pif and .scr files.
  • Isolate compromised computers quickly to prevent threats from spreading further. Perform a forensic analysis and restore the computers using trusted media.
  • Train employees not to open attachments unless they are expecting them. Also, do not execute software that is downloaded from the Internet unless it has been scanned for viruses. Simply visiting a compromised Web site can cause infection if certain browser vulnerabilities are not patched.
  • If Bluetooth is not required for mobile devices, it should be turned off. If you require its use, ensure that the device's visibility is set to "Hidden" so that it cannot be scanned by other Bluetooth devices. If device pairing must be used, ensure that all devices are set to "Unauthorized", requiring authorization for each connection request. Do not accept applications that are unsigned or sent from unknown sources.
  • For further information on the terms used in this document, please refer to the Security Response glossary.

Run LiveUpdate to make sure that you have the most recent virus definitions.
  1. Start Norton AntiVirus (NAV), and make sure that NAV is configured to scan all files. For instructions on how to do this, read the document How to configure Norton AntiVirus to scan all files.
  2. Run a full system scan. Delete all files that are infected with AOL.Trojan.
  3. Remove any references (to the infected files) that were added to the Windows registry.
  4. (Windows 95/98/Me only) Remove any references to the infected files that were added to the Win.ini and System.ini files.