A rootkit is a stealthy computer program designed to provide continuous privileged access to a computer while vigorously hiding its presence. The term rootkit is a conjunction of the words “root” and “kit”. Initially, a rootkit was a collection of tools that gave administrator-level access to a computer or network. Root refers to the administrator account on Unix and Linux systems. And it relates to the software mechanisms that tool the tool. Today, rootkits often associate with malware (such as Trojan horses, worms, and viruses) that hide their presence and actions from users and other system processes.
What can a Rootkit do?
Rootkit allows someone to take command and control of the computer without the knowledge of the user/owner of the computer. Once a rootkit installs, the rootkit handler can remotely execute files and change system settings on the host. A rootkit on a sick computer can also access registry files and spy on the owner’s legitimate use.
Rootkits are challenging to detect. No profitable product can find and remove all known and indefinite rootkits. However, there are some ways to check for rootkits on an infected machine. Detection methods include behaviour-based methods (for example, looking for strange behaviour in a computer system), name scanning, and memory dump examination. Unfortunately, the only way to remove a rootkit is often to rebuild the compromised system completely.
Many rootkits enter computer systems by being installed with trusted software or via a virus. You can defend your system from rootkits by patching it against known vulnerabilities. It includes your operating system’s updated patches, applications, and virus definitions. When installing software, read the end-user license agreements carefully.
Examples of well-known Rootkits
- Lane Davis and Steven Dake: wrote the first known rootkit in the early 1990s.
- NT – One of the first malicious rootkits targeting the Windows operating system.
- Hacker Defender – This first Trojan replaced/boosted the operating system with a shallow level of function calls.
- Machiavelli: The first rootkit targeting Mac OS X appeared in 2009. This rootkit creates concealed system calls and kernel scripts.
- Wiretapping in Greece: In 2004/05, intruders installed a rootkit targeting Ericsson’s AX PBX.
- First recognized in July 2007, Zeus is a Trojan that steals banking information through human keystroke logging and browser form capture.
- Stuxnet: the first known rootkit for industrial control schemes
- Flame – A computer malware exposed in 2012 that attacks computers running Windows operating systems. You can record audio, screenshots, keyboard action, and network traffic.
Types Of Rootkits
1. Hardware Or Firmware
Hardware or firmware rootkits can touch your hard drive, router, or system BIOS. And software fits on a small reminiscence chip on your computer’s motherboard. Instead of directing your operating system. Also they target your device’s firmware to install hard-to-detect malware. Because they affect hardware, they let hackers record your keystrokes and monitor your online activity. Though less common than other types, hardware or firmware rootkits seriously threaten online security.
The boot mechanism is responsible for loading the working system on a computer. Bootloader rootkits attack this system and replace your computer’s current bootloader with a hacked one. It activates the rootkit before your computer’s working system is fully loaded.
Memory rootkits are stored in your computer’s chance admission memory (RAM) and use your computer’s capitals to perform malicious activities in the background. Also, memory rootkits affect the performance of your computer’s RAM. Since they only live in your computer’s RAM and don’t insert permanent code. And, memory rootkits will be gone when you reboot your system, but sometimes it takes more work to get rid of them. Their short lifetime means they tend not to perceives as