The Definition, Types, Application & Removal Guide of Rootkit [MiniTool Wiki]

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What Is a Rootkit

The rootkit refers to a collection of computer software (usually malicious). It is a clandestine program, which offers computer attackers the opportunity to access a computer and the restricted areas of its software. Based on that, you will obtain more information about rootkit from MiniTool.

The term rootkit is a combination of root (the traditional name of the privileged account on Unix-like operating systems) and kit (the software components that use the tool). It is also written as root kit. As the rootkit is associated with malware, it has negative meaning.

The rootkit can hold multiple malicious tools like keyloggers, banking credential stealers, password stealers, antivirus disablers and so on. All these tools can put your computer in danger.

In a word, the rootkit is a kind of malware, which can help cybercriminals infect your computer and control your computer remotely. You can also call it rootkit virus. What’s worse, your credit card and online banking information can be stolen by hackers.

Besides, it enables hackers to subvert or disable security programs and track the keys you tap on the keywords, so your personal information can be exposed more easily.

Main Types of Rootkit

There are 5 types of rootkit. All of them will be listed in below. If you find any one of them, you need to take some measures to protect your computer and personal information.

Hardware or firmware rootkit

The name of this type of rootkit depends on the place it installed on your PC. The rootkit usually is installed on a small memory chip in motherboard. It can infect the hard drive of your computer or its system BIOS and even the router. With this type of rootkit, hackers can intercept the data that is written on the disk.

Bootloader rootkit

The computer’s bootloader is a vital tool for your PC, which loads your OS when you turn on the computer. While a bootloader rootkit can attack the operating system and replace the legitimate bootloader with the hacked one.

Memory rootkit

The memory rootkit often hides in your PC’s RAM. These rootkits will do some harmful activities in the background. Fortunately, they have a very short lifespan and only appear in the RAM. They will disappear when you restart your system. However, you need to do more work to get rid of them sometimes.

Application rootkit

Application rootkits can replace the standard files with rootkit files. Besides, they may change the work ways of standard applications too. They can infect programs like Word, Paint and Notepad. Once you run these programs, hackers have an opportunity to access to your PC. More importantly, the infected programs still run as usual, so it is not easy to detect the rootkit.

Kernel mode rootkit

The kernel mode rootkits have impacts on the core of your computer’s OS. Hackers will make use of these rootkits to affect the running of your operating system. They can access to your PC and steal your personal information with ease just by adding their own codes to the rootkits.

The Application of Rootkit

As said before, rootkit enables hackers to stealth, backdoor access, DDoS attacks and do some other harmful actions. However, it also can be applied to do some useful and beneficial things. Here are some instances for that.

  • Detect attacks in a honeypot
  • Improve emulation software
  • Enhance security software
  • Carry out digital rights management
  • Anti-theft device (BIOS-based rootkit software will enable monitoring, disabling and wiping data on mobile devices functions when the device gets lost or stolen)

Rootkit Removal

Since rootkits stay hidden and act in the background, detecting them can be hard. Here comes the need of some utilities like signatures and behavioral approach. With these utilities, you can find out known and unknown rootkit in your computer.

Removing rootkit is a complicated process and usually requires specialized tools such as TDSSKiller, Comodo Advanced Endpoint Protection. Sometimes, you need to reinstall operating system if your computer is damaged seriously.

As rootkits are dangerous and difficult to detect, you need to be cautious when surfing the Internet or downloading programs. Though you cannot protect your computer from all the rootkits completely, you are able to minimize attacks by following below tips.

Keep operating system, antivirus software and other programs updated

  • Be care of phishing emails
  • Watch out for drive-by downloads
  • Don’t download files sent by people you are not familiar with

Rootkit definition, types, application, removal information have been offered to you.

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