What is a Rootkit?

By Mary Landesman


Definition:
A rootkit gives attackers full access to the system (hence the term 'root') and typically hides the files, folders, registry edits, and other components it uses. In addition to hiding itself, a rootkit typically hides other malicious files that it may be bundled with.
The ubiquitous Storm worm is one example of rootkit-enabled malware. (Note that not all Storm Trojans are rootkit-enabled).everal free rootkit scanners are available to help ferret out the presence of these hidden menaces. For best results, scan the system with at least three of these free rootkit scanners on a regular basis in addition to your normal antivirus scanning. But remember - there's simply no substitute for prevention. Check out Tips for Safety to be sure you're taking the right steps to defend your PC. And never underestimate the power of simplicity some behavior-based tools can help alert you to suspicious behavior that may be indicative of a rootkit. Spybot TeaTimer (free) monitors the critical system areas that malware exploit in order to gain a foothold on the system. Used properly, a permission-based firewall, such as the free ZoneAlarm, can also help alert you to the signs of a hidden infection.

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