What is Rootkit?

Rootkits hide malicious code in your device. When a rootkit attack occurs, remote administrators can access the operating system without being detected.

What Does The Rootkit Change?

The purpose of rootkits is to gain privileged administrator-level access to computer systems, so rootkits can change anything an administrator can change. The following is a short list of things that rootkits can run or modify. 

  • Hiding Malware: Rootkits hide other types of malware on your device, making them difficult to remove. 
  • Get Remote Access: Rootkits provide remote access to the operating system without being detected. Rootkit installations are increasingly associated with remote access scams. 

Operating or disabling security programs: Some rootkits can be hidden from your computer's security program or completely disabled, making it difficult to detect and remove malware. 

Rootkit Protection

Many rootkits infiltrate computer systems by piggybacking on trusted software or infecting them with viruses. You can protect your system from rootkits by regularly patching known vulnerabilities. This includes an operating system, application, and current virus-defined patches.

Do not accept files from unknown sources or open email attachments. Be careful when installing the software and read the End User License Agreement carefully. 

Lane Davis and Steven Dake created the earliest known rootkits in the early 1990s.

  • NTRootkit - one of the first malicious rootkits to target Windows OS.
  • HackerDefender - This early Trojan changed/extended the operating system with very low-level function calls.
  • Machiavelli - It was the first rootkit for Mac OS X, which was introduced in 2009.

This rootkit creates hidden system calls and kernel threads. Eavesdropping in Greece-In 2004/05, an intruder installed a rootkit targeting Ericsson's AXPBX. First identified in July 2007, Zeus is a Trojan horse that steals bank information by recording browser keystrokes and capturing forms. Stuxnet is the first known rootkit for industrial control systems. 

Flame is a computer malware discovered in 2012 that attacks Windows operating systems computers. You can record audio, screenshots, keyboard activity, and network traffic. 

Some types of Issues that a rootkit can cause are:-

  • Data Theft: In most cases, cybercriminals use rootkits to steal data. Some hackers target individuals and collect personal information for theft or fraud. Others pursue corporate goals to pursue espionage and financial crime. 
  • Create a Permanent "Backdoor": Some rootkits allow hackers to create a cybersecurity backdoor in their system that remains open for later return. 
  • Eavesdropping: Rootkits can be used as a monitoring tool that hackers can use to eavesdrop. 

Privacy Invasion: Rootkits allow hackers to intercept Internet traffic, track keystrokes, and read email.

Rootkit Detection

Rootkits are difficult to detect. No commercial product can find and remove all known and unknown rootkits. There are several ways to check rootkits on an infected machine. Detection methods include behavior-based methods (such as searching for anomalous behavior on computer systems), signature scans, and memory dump analysis.

Types Of Rootkitsaze

Hardware or firmware rootkit

Hardware or firmware rootkits can affect the BIOS of your hard drive, router, or system. H. Software installed on a small memory chip on your computer's motherboard. Instead of targeting the operating system, it targets the device firmware to install hard-to-detect malware. 

These affect the hardware, allowing hackers to record keystrokes and monitor online activity. Although less common than other types, hardware or firmware rootkits pose a serious threat to online security. 

Boot Loader Rootkit

The boot loader mechanism is responsible for loading the operating system into your computer. Boot loader rootkits attack this system and replace the legitimate boot loader on your laptop with a hacked one. This activates the rootkit before the computer's operating system is fully loaded.

Storage rootkit

Storage rootkits are hidden in your computer's random access memory (RAM) and use your computer's resources to perform malicious activities in the background. Storage rootkits affect the RAM performance of your computer. 

They only exist in your computer's RAM and do not insert persistent code, so the memory rootkit disappears when you reboot the system. However, more work may be required to get rid of them. Due to its short lifespan, it is usually not perceived as a serious threat.

Application rootkit

Application rootkits can also replace standard files on your computer with rootkit files to change the way traditional applications behave. These rootkits infect programs such as Microsoft Office, Notepad, and Paint. 

An attacker could gain access to your computer each time you run these programs. Rootkit detection is difficult for users because infected programs continue to run successfully, but both antivirus programs work at the application layer and can detect them.


Kernel-mode rootkit

Kernel-mode rootkits are one of the most serious types of this threat because they target the operating system's core. H. Kernel level & # 41 ;. Hackers use them to access files on their computers and add their code to change the operating system's capabilities.


Virtual Rootkit

The virtual rootkit loads itself into the computer's operating system. The target operating system is then hosted as a virtual machine and can intercept hardware calls from the original operating system. This rootkit does not require kernel changes to destroy the operating system and can be very difficult to detect.

How To Prevent Rootkits

Because rootkits can be dangerous and difficult to detect, staying vigilant when browsing the internet or downloading programs is important. Many of the same protective measures you take to avoid computer viruses also help to minimize the risk of rootkits: 

1. Use a comprehensive cyber security solution

 Be proactive about securing your devices and install a comprehensive and advanced antivirus solution. 

2. Keep up to date

 Ongoing software updates are essential for staying safe and preventing hackers from infecting you with malware. Keep all programs and your operating system up to date to avoid rootkit attacks that exploit vulnerabilities. 

3. Be alert to phishing scams

Phishing is a social engineering attack where scammers use email to trick users into providing them with their financial information or downloading malicious software, such as rootkits. To prevent rootkits from infiltrating your computer, avoid suspicious opening emails, especially if the sender is unfamiliar to you. If you are unsure if a link is trustworthy, don't click on it.

4. Download files only from trusted sources

 Be careful when opening attachments. Avoid opening attachments from strangers to prevent rootkits from being installed on your computer. Download the software only from reputable websites. If the website you are trying to visit appears insecure, do not ignore the web browser warning.

1. Pay attention to your computer's behavior and performance

 Behavioral issues may indicate that the rootkit is working. Be aware of unexpected changes and understand why they occur. The rootkit is one of the most difficult types of malware to find and remove. Prevention is often the best defence, as it is difficult to find them. Keep learning about the latest cybersecurity threats to ensure continuous protection.