Malware-based rootkits fuel a multibillion dollar spyware industry by stealing individual or corporate financial information. If that weren’t bad enough, rootkit-based botnets generate untold amounts of spam. Here’s a look at what rootkits are and what to do about them.
Rootkits are complex and ever changing, which makes it difficult to understand exactly what you’re dealing with. Even so, I’d like to take a stab at explaining them, so that you’ll have a fighting chance if you’re confronted with one.
1: What is a rootkit?
Breaking the term rootkit into the two component words, root and kit, is a useful way to define it. Root is a UNIX/Linux term that’s the equivalent of Administrator in Windows. The word kit denotes programs that allow someone to obtain root/admin-level access to the computer by executing the programs in the kit — all of which is done without end-user consent or knowledge.
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