What is a RootKit? Have you been infected?

What is a RootKit Have you been infected

Rootkits are a type of malware that is specifically designed to take control of your computer, often without your knowledge. They can be very difficult to detect and remove, which is why it’s important to know how to protect yourself from them. In this article, we’ll explain what rootkits are, how they work, and how you can protect yourself from them.

1. What are rootkits and what do they do?

A rootkit is a type of malicious software that is designed to gain access to a computer system or network without being detected. Rootkits can be used to collect sensitive data, install other forms of malware, or disable security features. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how rootkits work and some of the common ways they are used by attackers.

How Rootkits Work

Rootkits are usually installed on a system by exploiting vulnerabilities in software or hardware. Once a rootkit is installed, it can be used to hide the presence of other malicious software on the system, give an attacker remote access to the system, or allow an attacker to carry out denial-of-service attacks. Common techniques used by rootkits include hooking API calls, substituting hijacked DLLs, and patching the kernel.

Rootkits are difficult to detect and remove because they typically run with elevated privileges and can hook into core parts of the operating system. Some rootkits can also persist across reboots by installing themselves in the boot sector or modifying the startup files. Anti-virus and anti-malware software may not be able to detect rootkits because they rely on signatures or known behaviors that a rootkit can easily evade.

Uses for Rootkits

Once an attacker has installed a rootkit on a system, there are several ways it can be used for malicious purposes. Rootkits can be used to hide other types of malware from detection, collect sensitive data such as passwords and financial information, disable security features such as firewalls and anti-virus software, or launch denial-of-service attacks. Rootkits have also been used in targeted attacks against high-profile individuals and organizations in an attempt to steal sensitive information or disrupt operations.

Rootkits are a type of malware that is designed to conceal itself and other malicious software on a system. Rootkits are difficult to detect and remove due to their ability to hook into core parts of the operating system and evade detection by anti-virus software. Rootkits can be used for various malicious purposes such as hiding other malware, collecting sensitive data, launching denial-of-service attacks, or disabling security features. If you suspect that your system may have been infected with a rootkit, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible to ensure that all malware is removed and your system is secure.

2. How can you protect yourself from them?

Regardless of their intended use, rootkits are dangerous and should be avoided. Here are some tips for protecting yourself from rootkits.

Keep Your Software Up-To-Date

One of the best ways to protect yourself from rootkits is to keep your software up-to-date. Attackers often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software to install rootkits on unsuspecting victims’ computers. By ensuring that your operating system and all the applications you use are up-to-date, you can make it much more difficult for attackers to install a rootkit on your system.

Don’t Download Unknown Files or Applications

Another way to protect yourself from rootkits is to be cautious about what files and applications you download. Only download files and programs from trusted sources, and be sure to scan them for malware before opening them. Attackers often distribute rootkits disguised as harmless files or programs, so it’s important to exercise caution when downloading anything from the internet.

Use Anti-Malware Software & Use It Regularly

Anti-malware software can detect and remove most rootkits, so it’s important to have an anti-malware program installed on your computer and to use it regularly. Some anti-malware programs even offer real-time protection against new threats, which can further improve your defense against rootkits and other malware. Be sure to keep your anti-malware program up-to-date so that it can protect you against the latest threats.

3. What are the signs that you’ve been infected by a rootkit?

Rootkits are difficult to detect because they are designed to hide within your system’s proper files and processes. If you think you may have been infected by a rootkit, there are a few signs you can look for.

Suspicious Activity in Task Manager

One of the first signs that you may have a rootkit is if you see suspicious activity in your Task Manager. If you notice new processes running that you don’t recognize, or if your known programs seem to be using more resources than usual, it’s possible that a rootkit is to blame. To check your Task Manager on Windows, press Ctrl+Shift+Esc. On a Mac, open the “Activity Monitor” application.

Unusual Website Behavior

Another sign that you may have a rootkit is unusual website behavior. If websites that you normally visit are suddenly not loading properly, or if new popup windows appear out of nowhere, your computer may have been infected. This behavior is often caused by adware or other forms of malware, but it can also be caused by a rootkit.

Missing Files and Programs

If you start to notice that files or programs are missing from your computer, a rootkit may have deleted them. This is often done in an attempt to hide the presence of the rootkit from users. If you think this has happened to you, it’s important to run a virus scan as soon as possible.

4. How can you remove a rootkit if you’ve been infected?

If you think you may have been infected with a rootkit, it’s important to take action immediately to remove it and prevent further damage.

Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Download and Run an Anti-Malware Scanner

The first step is to download and run an anti-malware scanner on your system. This will help to remove any malicious software that may be present on your system. There are several different scanners available, so choose one that you feel comfortable using. Once the scan is complete, make sure to delete any files that are flagged as being malicious.

Step 2: Use a Rootkit Removal Tool

Next, you’ll need to use a rootkit removal tool to get rid of the rootkit itself. There are a few different tools available, but we recommend using TDSSKiller from Kaspersky. Once you’ve downloaded and installed the tool, run it and follow the instructions on the screen. Be sure to reboot your computer once the process is complete.

Step 3: Change Your Passwords

Once you’ve removed the rootkit from your system, it’s important to change any passwords that may have been compromised. This includes your computer login password, as well as any passwords for online accounts such as email or social media. Choose strong passwords that contain a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters, and don’t reuse passwords across multiple accounts.

If you’ve been affected by one and need help – our technicians are around to give you a hand!

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...