Emil Sköld
EXPLOIT.BLACK

EXPLOIT.BLACK

What Does Rootkit Mean?

What Does Rootkit Mean?

Emil Sköld's photo
Emil Sköld
·Jul 1, 2022·

25 min read

Subscribe to my newsletter and never miss my upcoming articles

Table of contents

  • Varieties of rootkits
  • How to defend yourself from rootkits
  • How do rootkits work? Rootkit explanation
  • Is rootkit a virus?

Emil Sköld

What Does Rootkit Mean?

Rootkits are a type of malware that is designed so that it can remain hidden on your computer. They can contain some tools, ranging from programs that allow hackers to steal your passwords to modules that make it easy for them to steal credit card information.

A bootloader toolkit replaces your computer's legitimate bootloader with a hacked one. Application rootkits replace standard files on your computer with rootkit files. This can give hackers easy access to your computer and make it easy to steal your personal information.

Rootkits are a sort of malware that is meant to remain concealed on your machine. However, although you may not perceive them, they are active. Rootkits allow fraudsters to control your computer remotely.

Rootkits may contain various tools, including applications that enable hackers to steal your passwords and modules that make it simple for them to steal your credit card and online banking information. Rootkits can also give hackers the power to spoof or disable security software and track the keys you press on your keyboard, making it simple for crooks to steal your personal information.

Because rootkits can hijack or subvert security software, they are complicated to detect, increasing the likelihood that this form of malware could remain on your computer for an extended period and cause significant damage. Occasionally, the only way to uninstall a well-hidden rootkit entirely is to reinstall the operating system from scratch.

How do rootkits gain access to your system? You may download a file from an email that appears to be secure but is infected with a virus. You could even download a rootkit by accident via an infected mobile application.

Here is a look at the wide rootkit varieties and how you can defend yourself against them.

Varieties of rootkits

Here are five rootkit types:

1. hardware or firmware

This sort of rootkit derives its name from the location where it is installed on your computer. This malware could infect your computer's hard drive or system BIOS, the software installed on a tiny memory chip on the motherboard. It can infect even your router. These rootkits allow hackers to intercept disk-written data.

2. Bootloader rootkit

The bootloader of your computer is an essential tool. When you turn on your computer, the operating system is loaded. This system is then attacked by a bootloader toolkit, which replaces your computer's genuine bootloader with a modified one. This means that this rootkit is activated even before your operating system loads.

3. Memory rootkit

This form of rootkit lurks in your machine's Random Access Memory (RAM). These rootkits do malicious actions in the background. The glad tidings? These rootkits have a limited lifetime. They just exist in your computer's RAM and will vanish when you reboot the system; however, sometimes, additional steps are required.

4. Software rootkit

Application rootkits replace regular computer files with rootkit files. They may potentially alter the functionality of ordinary programs. These rootkits could potentially infect Word, Paint, or Notepad. Each time you use these applications, you grant hackers access to your computer. The fact that infected apps continue to operate normally makes it difficult for users to detect the rootkit.

5. Kernel-mode rootkits

These rootkits target the operating system kernel of your computer. Cybercriminals can use them to alter the functionality of your operating system. They need only to add their code. This can give them easy access to your computer and make it simple for them to steal your data.

How to defend yourself from rootkits

Because rootkits are so dangerous and difficult to detect, attention should be exercised when browsing the Internet or downloading programs. There is no miraculous method of protection against rootkits. You can boost your chances of preventing these attacks by employing the same commonsense precautions to avoid all computer infections.

Don't ignore updates

Updating to your computer's apps and operating system can be unpleasant, especially when it seems you have to authorize a new update every time you boot up your computer. However, it would be best if you did not disregard these changes. Updating your operating systems, antivirus software, and other apps is the most effective method of rootkit protection.

Be wary of phishing emails

Scammers send phishing emails to deceive you into divulging your financial information or installing harmful software, such as rootkits, on your computer. Frequently, these emails appear to originate from an actual bank or credit card issuer. These alerts may indicate that your account will be frozen or that you must authenticate your identity. Additionally, the notifications will request that you click a link.

If you do, you will be directed to a fraudulent website. There, you may inadvertently install a rootkit on your machine.

The moral? Never click on links purportedly supplied by a financial services provider. If the purported sender is a corporation with which you have no accounts, delete the mail. If the message is from a business you conduct, check into your online account or phone the company. A legitimate issue should be shown in your online account, or a customer support agent will validate it.

Be wary of automatic downloads

Drive-by downloads can be particularly annoying. This occurs when a website you visit instantly installs malicious software on your computer. This happens without your having to click on or download anything from the website. Not just malicious websites can trigger this, however. Hackers can install malicious code on reputable websites to start these automatic downloads.

What is the most excellent strategy to safeguard yourself? Approve software updates for your machine swiftly. Configure your operating system, browsers, and other programs to install updates automatically so that the most recent safeguards always protect your computer systems.

Do not download files supplied by unknown senders.

Also, be cautious when opening attachments. Do not open attachments sent to you by unknown senders. This could result in the installation of a rootkit on your machine.

If you receive a questionable file attachment? Eliminate the email instantly.

A rootkit is a collection of malicious computer software designed to give access to a computer or an area of its software that is not otherwise permitted (for example, to an unauthorized user) and frequently conceals its existence or the existence of other software. A rootkit is a combination of the words "root" (the traditional name of the privileged account on Unix-like operating systems) and "kit" (which refers to the software components that implement the tool). The negative connotations of the term "rootkit" stem from its relationship with malware.

Rootkit installation can be automated, or an attacker with root or administrator privileges can install one manually. This access was obtained through a direct attack on the system, such as exploiting a known vulnerability (such as privilege escalation) or a password compromise (obtained by cracking or social engineering tactics like "phishing"). Once installed, it can conceal the intrusion and preserve privileged access. Complete control over a system implies that current software, including software that could be used to detect or circumvent it, can be modified.

Rootkit detection is challenging because rootkits may be able to circumvent the tools designed to detect them. Utilizing a trusted alternative operating system, behavioral-based approaches, signature scanning, difference scanning, and memory dump analysis are the detection methods. When the rootkit sits in the kernel, removal may be difficult or impossible; reinstalling the operating system may be the only option. When removing firmware rootkits, replacement hardware or special equipment may be required.

The term rootkit or rootkit initially referred to a maliciously modified suite of administrative tools that allowed "root" access to a Unix-like operating system. If an intruder could replace a system's conventional administrative tools with a rootkit, they may get root access while masking their activity from the authorized system administrator. These rootkits of the first generation were easily detectable by utilizing uncompromised tools such as Tripwire to access the same information. In 1990, Lane Davis and Steven Dake created the first known rootkit for the SunOS UNIX operating system of Sun Microsystems. In his 1983 acceptance speech for the Turing Award, Ken Thompson of Bell Labs, one of the architects of Unix, thought about subverting the C compiler in a Unix distribution and described the exploit. The customized compiler would detect attempts to build the Unix login command and generate changed code that would accept the correct user password and an additional "backdoor" password known to the attacker. In addition, the compiler would detect efforts to generate a new version of the compiler and incorporate the same exploits into the new compiler. Reviewing the login commands or the upgraded compiler's source code would not disclose any harmful code. This vulnerability was comparable to a rootkit.

The first computer virus to target a personal computer was discovered in 1986, utilizing cloaking techniques to conceal itself. The Brain virus intercepted attempts to read the boot sector and redirected them to another location on the disk where a copy of the original boot sector was stored. DOS-virus cloaking techniques have become increasingly complex over time. To conceal unwanted file modifications, advanced tactics included intercepting disk INT 13H BIOS interrupt calls.

In 1999, Greg Hoglund designed the first malicious rootkit for the Windows NT operating system, the NTRootkit trojan. In 2003, it was succeeded by HackerDefender. In 2009, the first Mac OS X-specific rootkit was released, while the Stuxnet virus was the first to target programmable logic controllers (PLC).

Sony BMG issued C in 2005First 4 Internet developed the copy protection and digital rights management software called Extended Copy Protection. The software contained a music player but secretly installed a rootkit that prevented the user from accessing the CD. Mark Russinovich, a software developer who developed the rootkit detection tool RootkitRevealer, found a rootkit on one of his machines. The crisis that ensued increased public awareness of rootkits. To conceal itself, the rootkit hid any files from the user beginning with "$sys$". Almost immediately after Russinovich's report, spyware emerged that exploited this system's weakness. According to a BBC commentator, it was a "public relations catastrophe." Sony BMG issued updates to remove the rootkit but exposed customers to an even more severe vulnerability. Eventually, the business recalled the CDs. Sony BMG was the target of a class-action lawsuit in the United States.

The Greek wiretapping case of 2004–2005, often known as the Greek Watergate, involved the illegal tapping of more than one hundred mobile phones on the Vodafone Greece network, the majority of which belonged to officials of the Greek government and high-ranking civil servants. The taps were installed around August 2004 and removed in March 2005 without identifying the offenders. The intruders deployed a rootkit that targeted the AXE telephone exchange of Ericsson. This was the first time a rootkit was discovered on a special-purpose device, in this case, an Ericsson telephone switch, according to IEEE Spectrum. The rootkit was designed to patch the working memory of the exchange, enable wiretapping while suppressing audit logs, patch the commands that identify active processes and active data blocks, and modify the order for data block checksum verification. A "backdoor" allowed an operator with administrator privileges to deactivate the exchange's transaction log, alarms, and surveillance-related access commands. The rootkit was found after the intruders installed a flawed update that prevented delivery of SMS messages, triggering an automated failure report. Engineers from Ericsson were dispatched to check the malfunction. They discovered the buried data blocks containing the list of monitored phone numbers, as well as the rootkit and illegal monitoring software.

Modern rootkits do not elevate access but rather add stealth characteristics to another software payload to render it invisible. Most rootkits are classified as malware because they are packed with malicious payloads. A load could, for instance, steal user passwords, credit card information, computing resources, or engage in other illicit activities. Their users may consider a small number of rootkits to be utility applications. For instance, a rootkit may cloak a CD-ROM-emulation driver, allowing video game users to defeat anti-piracy measures that require insertion of the original installation media into a physical optical drive to verify that the software was legally purchased.

Rootkits and their payloads serve multiple functions:

In certain situations, rootkits provide desirable functionality and may be installed on purpose by the computer user:

There are at least five varieties of rootkits, ranging from firmware-based variations with the highest privileges to user-based variants operating in Ring 3 with the most minor benefits. There may be hybrid mixes, such as user mode and kernel mode.

User-mode rootkits run in Ring 3, among other user-mode applications, instead of low-level system processes. They have a variety of potential installation vectors to change the conventional behavior of application programming interfaces (APIs). Others with proper privileges rewrite the memory of a target application. Some inject a dynamically linked library (such as a.DLL file on Windows or a.dylib file on Mac OS X) into other processes, allowing them to impersonate any target process. Injection systems consist of:

...since each user-mode application runs in its own memory space, the rootkit must do this patching in the memory space of each running application. In addition, the rootkit must monitor the system for newly executing applications and patch their memory area before complete execution.

Kernel-mode rootkits execute with the highest operating system privileges (Ring 0) by adding code to or altering fundamental functional system components, including the kernel and associated device drivers.

(Reference needed) Most operating systems support kernel-mode device drivers, which execute with the same permissions as the operating system. As a result, many kernel-mode rootkits are designed as device drivers or loadable modules, such as loadable kernel modules in Linux or device drivers in Microsoft Windows. This category of rootkit has unrestricted security access but is more challenging to create. Complexity makes errors familiar, and any bugs in code working at the kernel level can severely influence system stability and lead to the rootkit being discovered. Greg Hoglund created one of the earliest well-known kernel rootkits for Windows NT 4.0 and published it in Phrack magazine in 1999. Because they run at the same security level as the operating system, kernel rootkits can intercept or subvert the most trusted operational system functions, making them particularly difficult to detect and remove. Any software, including antivirus software operating on a hacked system, is vulnerable. In this circumstance, no component of the system can be relied upon.

Direct kernel object manipulation is a way a rootkit can manipulate data structures in the Windows kernel (DKOM). This approach is helpful for hiding processes. To conceal itself, a kernel-mode rootkit can hook the System Service Descriptor Table (SSDT) or change the gates between user and kernel modes. Similarly, a rootkit can change the system call table of the Linux operating system to disrupt kernel functionality. It is usual for a rootkit to generate a hidden, encrypted filesystem in which it can conceal additional malware or original copies of infected files. The evolution of operating systems to combat kernel-mode rootkits. To make it more difficult for untrusted code to execute with the highest privileges on a system, 64-bit editions of Microsoft Windows now incorporate obligatory signing of all kernel-level drivers.

A kind of kernel-mode rootkits known as a bootkit can infect startup code such as the Master Boot Record (MBR), Volume Boot Record (VBR), or boot sector and can thus be used to attack whole disk encryption systems. This disk encryption attack is exemplified by the "evil maid attack," in which an attacker installs a bootkit on an unattended machine. The expected scenario involves a maid entering the hotel room where the victims left their hardware. The bootkit replaces the authorized boot loader with a malicious one under their control. Typically, the malware loader survives the change to protected mode after the kernel has been loaded, allowing it to subvert the kernel. For instance, "Stoned Bootkit" exploits a hacked boot loader to capture encryption keys and passwords. [source self-published?] By changing the master boot record, the Alureon rootkit could circumvent the requirement for 64-bit kernel-mode driver signing in Windows 7 in 2010. Although not malware in performing something the user does not want, certain "Vista Loader" or "Windoze Loader" programs are not user-friendly.ws Loader" software operates similarly by injecting an ACPI SLIC (System Licensed Internal Code) table into the RAM-cached version of the BIOS during boot to circumvent the Windows Vista and Windows 7 activation process. (Reference needed) This attack vector was rendered ineffective by the (non-server) Windows 8 versions that employ a unique, machine-specific key for each system, which can only be used on that system. Numerous antivirus vendors offer free applications and apps to eliminate rootkits.

Academics have developed rootkits as Type II hypervisors as proofs of concept. This sort of rootkit runs in Ring -1 and hosts the target operating system as a virtual machine, allowing it to intercept hardware calls made by the original operating system. In contrast to conventional hypervisors, they do not need to load before the operating system and can instead load into an operating system before transforming it into a virtual machine. A hypervisor rootkit does not need to modify the kernel of the target to subvert it; however, this does not preclude detection by the guest operating system. For instance, changes in timing may be noticeable in CPU instructions. The "SubVirt" laboratory rootkit, created by Microsoft and University of Michigan academics, is an academic example of a virtual-machine–based rootkit (VMBR), as is the Blue Pill program. In 2009, Microsoft and North Carolina State University researchers showed Hooksafe, a hypervisor-layer anti-rootkit that offers generic protection against kernel-mode rootkits. Windows 10 introduces a new "Device Guard" feature that uses virtualization to provide independent external security against rootkit-type malware for an operating system.

A firmware rootkit employs device or platform firmware to implant a persistent malware image in hardware, such as a router, network card, hard disk, or the system BIOS. Since firmware is typically not tested for code integrity, the rootkit lurks in firmware. John Heasman proved the viability of firmware rootkits in ACPI firmware routines and the ROM of a PCI expansion card. Criminals tampered with European credit card readers before their installation in October 2008. Credit card information was captured and sent via a mobile phone network. In March 2009, researchers Alfredo Ortega and Anibal Sacco presented information about a BIOS-level Windows rootkit that may withstand disk removal and reinstallation of the operating system. A few months later, they discovered that some laptops are marketed with a legal rootkit, known as Absolute CompuTrace or Absolute LoJack for Computers, preinstalled in the BIOS images of a large number of notebooks. Researchers demonstrated that this anti-theft technology system could be used for malevolent reasons.

Intel Active Management Technology, a component of Intel vPro, implements out-of-band management, providing administrators with remote administration, remote management, and remote control of PCs even when the system is powered off, and the host processor and BIOS are not involved. Remote administration consists of hidden power-up and power-down, remote reset, redirected boot, console redirection, pre-boot access to BIOS settings, programmable filtering for inbound and outbound network traffic, agent presence checking, out-of-band policy-based alerting, and access to system information, such as hardware asset information, persistent event logs, and other information that is stored in dedicated memory (not on the hard drive) where it is accessible even if the hard drive fails. Some of these operations necessitate the most advanced degree of rootkit, a second, non-removable spy computer that is constructed around the primary computer. Sandy Bridge and subsequent chipsets have the capacity to remotely disable and reactivate a lost or stolen computer through 3G. Hardware rootkits included in the chipset can assist in recovering stolen computers, removing data, or rendering them worthless, but they also pose privacy and security risks in the form of undetectable spying and redirection by management or hackers who obtain access.

Rootkits use a number of approaches to take control of a system; the type of rootkit determines the attack vector. The most prevalent technique exploits security flaws to accomplish covert privilege elevation. Using a Trojan horse to deceive a computer user into believing the rootkit's installation application is harmless is another method; in this scenario, social engineering is used to convince a user that the rootkit is useful. If the principle of least privilege is not used, the installation process is simplified because the rootkit does not have to seek elevated (administrator-level) rights explicitly. Other varieties of rootkits require physical access to the target system for installation. Some rootkits may also be installed purposefully by the system owner or a person authorized by the owner, e.g., for employee monitoring, making such subversive approaches unnecessary. Some malicious rootkit installations are commercially motivated, with pay-per-install (PPI) remuneration being the standard distribution technique.

Once installed, a rootkit uses subversion or evasion of standard operating system security tools and application programming interfaces (APIs) used for diagnosis, scanning, and monitoring to conceal its presence within the host system. Rootkits accomplish this through manipulating the behavior of essential components of an operating system by loading code into other processes, installing or modifying drivers, or installing kernel modules. Techniques for obfuscation include hiding running processes from system monitoring tools and concealing system files and other configuration data. It is not unusual for a rootkit to disable an operating system's event logging capability in an effort to hide evidence of an attack. In theory, rootkits can undermine any functional system activity. The "perfect rootkit" is comparable to the "perfect crime" in that nobody is aware that it has occurred. In addition to usually installing into Ring 0 (kernel-mode), where they have complete access to a system, rootkits also take a number of precautions to prevent detection and "cleaning" by antivirus software. Polymorphism (changing so that their "signature" is difficult to identify), stealth approaches, regeneration, disabling or turning off anti-malware software, and avoiding installing on virtual machines, where it may be simpler for researchers to discover and study them, are some of these methods.

The underlying issue with rootkit detection is that if the operating system has been compromised, especially by a rootkit at the kernel level, it cannot be relied upon to identify unauthorized alterations to itself or its components. There is no assurance that actions such as requesting a list of running processes or a list of files in a directory will behave as expected. In other words, rootkit detectors that operate on infected systems are only effective against rootkits that have a flaw in their camouflage or that run with fewer user-mode capabilities than the kernel-level detection program. As with computer viruses, both sides of this war are engaged in an ongoing struggle to detect and eliminate rootkits. Detection methods include searching for virus "signature" (e.g., antivirus software), integrity checking (e.g., digital signatures), difference-based detection (comparison of expected against actual outcomes), and behavioral detection (e.g., monitoring CPU usage or network traffic).

For kernel-mode rootkits, detection is significantly more involved, requiring careful examination of the System Call Table to seek for hooked functions where the malware may be corrupting system behavior, as well as forensic memory scanning to identify hidden processes. Zeppo, chkrootkit, rkhunter, and OSSEC are rootkit detecting tools for Unix. Microsoft Sysinternals RootkitRevealer, Avast Antivirus, Sophos Anti-Rootkit, F-Secure, Radix, GMER, and WindowsSCOPE are Windows detection programs. Adequate rootkit detectors contribute to their own ineffectiveness, as malware authors modify and test their code to avoid detection by widely-used tools. [Notes 1] Detection by examining storage while the suspect operating system is not active may miss rootkits not recognized by the checking software, as the rootkit is not dynamic and suspicious behavior is suppressed; conventional anti-malware software running with the rootkit active may fail if the rootkit effectively conceals itself.

The most effective and reliable way for operating-system-level rootkit detection is to shut down the computer that is suspected of being infected and then to examine its storage by booting from a trusted alternative medium (e.g., a "rescue" CD-ROM or USB flash drive). Because a rootkit cannot actively conceal its presence if it is not running, the strategy is effective.

The behavioral method of rootkit detection aims to infer the presence of a rootkit by searching for rootkit-like behavior. By profiling a system, for instance, changes in API call timing and frequency or total CPU consumption might be linked to a rootkit. The procedure is intricate and plagued by a high rate of false positives. The Alureon rootkit caused Windows systems to crash after a security patch revealed a weakness in its code. In a networked context, packet analyzer, firewall, and intrusion prevention system logs may show rootkit activity.

Even though security software providers incorporate rootkit detection into their products, antivirus software seldom catches all malware in public tests (depending on what is employed and to what extent). If a rootkit attempts to conceal itself during an antivirus scan, a stealth detector may discover it; if a rootkit attempts to unload itself from the system temporarily, signature detection (or "fingerprinting") can still locate it. This combination strategy compels attackers to build counterattack mechanisms or "retro" procedures that attempt to terminate antivirus software. Signature-based detection methods can be effective against well-publicized rootkits, but they are less effective against rootkits that have been mainly created.

A second method for detecting rootkits compares "trusted" raw data with "tainted" API-returned information. For instance, binaries present on disk can be compared with their copies within operating memory (in some operating systems, the in-memory image should be identical to the on-disk image), or the results returned from the file system, or Windows Registry APIs can be compared with basic structures on the underlying physical disks; however, in the case of the former, valid differences can be introduced by operating system mechanisms such as memory relocation or shimming. A rootkit may detect the existence of a difference-based scanner or virtual machine (the latter is often used for forensic analysis) and modify its behavior to prevent the detection of differences. Russinovich's RootkitRevealer utilized difference-based detection to uncover the Sony DRM rootkit.

Code signing employs public-key infrastructure to determine if a file has been altered after its publisher digitally signed it. Alternately, a system owner or administrator may use a cryptographic hash function to generate a "fingerprint" at the time of installation, which can assist in detecting subsequent unauthorized changes to on-disk code libraries. However, unsophisticated schemes just check to see if the code has been updated since the time of installation; subversion earlier to this point is undetectable. The fingerprint must be re-established whenever the system is modified, such as after installing security patches or a service pack. The hash function generates a message digest, which is a relatively short code derived from each bit in the file using an algorithm that produces substantial changes in the message digest with even more minor changes to the original file. Changes in the system can be identified and tracked by recalculating and comparing the message digest of the installed files at regular intervals against a trusted list of message digests, as long as the initial baseline was produced before the malware was added.

More complex rootkits might circumvent the verification method by delivering an unmodified copy of the file for examination or by making code alterations exclusively in memory, reconfiguring registers, which are then compared to an allowlist of expected values. The code that performs a hash, compare, or extend operations must also be protected; in this context, the concept of an immutable root-of-trust holds that the very first code to measure the security properties of a system must be trusted to ensure that a rootkit or bootkit does not compromise the system's most fundamental integrity.

Forcing a complete dump of virtual memory will capture an active rootkit (or kernel dump in the case of a kernel-mode rootkit), enabling offline forensic analysis with a debugger against the resulting dump file without the malware being able to conceal itself. This is a very sophisticated approach that may require access to non-public source code or debugging symbols. Memory dumps initiated by the operating system cannot always be used to detect a hypervisor-based rootkit, which can intercept and subvert the lowest-level attempts to read memory; in this scenario, a hardware device, such as one that implements a non-maskable interrupt, may be required to dump memory. Some rootkits will avoid infecting virtual machines due to the ease with which the memory of a compromised system can be analyzed by the underlying hypervisor.

Manually removing a rootkit can be exceedingly difficult for the average computer user, although a number of security-software providers offer solutions to detect and remove certain rootkits automatically, generally as part of an antivirus suite. Microsoft's monthly Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool can detect and remove certain classes of rootkits as of 2005[update]. Additionally, Windows Defender Offline is capable of removing rootkits because it runs in a trusted environment before the operating system starts. Specific antivirus scanners can circumvent file system APIs that are susceptible to manipulation by a rootkit. Instead, they directly access raw file system structures and utilize this information to evaluate the findings from the system APIs in order to uncover discrepancies that could be generated by a rootkit. [Notes 2] According to some experts, the only reliable method for removing them is to reinstall the operating system from trusted media. This is due to the fact that antivirus and malware cleanup technologies operating on an untrusted system may be useless against kernel-mode rootkits that are well-written. By booting an alternative operating system from trusted media, it is possible to mount an infected system disk and potentially clean it, as well as copy vital data or conduct a forensic analysis. Windows PE, Windows Recovery Console, Windows Recovery Environment, BartPE, and Live Distros are examples of lightweight operating systems.be utilized for this purpose, so permitting the system to be "cleaned." Even if the type and form of a rootkit are recognized, manual removal may be impractical; reinstalling the operating system and programs is safer, easier, and faster.

System hardening is one of the initial layers of defense against rootkits, preventing their installation. Standard security best practices that are effective against all types of malware include applying security patches, using the principle of least privilege, limiting the attack surface, and deploying anti-malware software. New secure boot protocols, such as Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, were created to combat the issue of boot kits, although even they are susceptible if the security protections they provide are not exploited. For server systems, remote server attestation utilizing technologies such as Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) ensures that servers remain in a known good state. For instance, the encryption of data-at-rest by Microsoft Bitlocker confirms that servers are in a known "good state" upon bootup. PrivateCore vCage is a software application that protects data-in-use (memory) from rootkits and rootkits by ensuring servers are in a known "good" condition upon bootup. PrivateCore is implemented in conjunction with Intel TXT and secures server system interfaces to prevent rootkits and rootkits.

How do rootkits work? Rootkit explanation

A rootkit is a portmanteau of the words "root" and "kit." "Root," "administrator," "superuser," and "system administrator" are synonymous words for a user account having administrative privileges on an operating system. Meanwhile, "kit" refers to a collection of software utilities. Consequently, a rootkit is a collection of tools that grants the greatest privileges in a system.

Rootkits are especially perilous since they are designed to conceal their presence on your system. A threat actor who has installed a rootkit on your computer (often via phishing email) can access and operate it remotely. Due to the fact that they offer root-level access, rootkits can be used to disable your antivirus software, spy on your behavior, steal sensitive data, and run further malware on the device.

Is rootkit a virus?

Contrary to popular belief, a rootkit is a malware and not a virus. Obviously, this may sound perplexing. A virus is merely one sort of malware, and whereas a virus only corrupts data, a rootkit is significantly more sophisticated. Fortunately, contemporary antivirus software that employs cutting-edge security approaches such as behavioral heuristics can eliminate various sorts of malware, including viruses, worms, ransomware, Trojans, and even some rootkits.

References:

> US - "Internetsecurity malware what is a rootkit and how to stop them"

> EN - "Rootkit"

> AVAST - "C rootkit"

> MALWAREBYTES - "Rootkit"

Emil Sköld

 
Share this