A rootkit is a kind of malware created to provide hackers the ability to control a specific device. We know that most of the rootkits create hindrances in the operating system and the software, but some of them provide damages to the system’s firmware and hardware. Rootkits can easily conceal or hide their presence, for instance, they remain active while you might not notice them.
The name of the malware derives from the admin account which is more beneficial in Unix and Linux operating systems. The application that enables unauthorized root or level access to the device is known as the kit.
Rootkits can provide cybercriminals all the access to spy on your computer once they gain unauthorized access. That means you can bear stealing personal data, financial information. Moreover, some cybercriminals can also use the computer to make it work in different scenarios like circulating spam and DDOS(distributed denial of service) attacks.
What is Rootkit
A Rootkit is malicious software that can hide its presence, but not the presence of other malware. Cybercriminals use it to gain access to other systems. Sometimes, rootkits occur as the only pieces of software but often are made tools collection. These tools enable hackers’ administrator-level to gain access over their targets. There are several ways through which the hackers can install the rootkits such as:
- Phishing or social engineering attacks are very common ways to enter into other devices. At times, victims mistakenly download and install some malware that is very efficient in hiding within the device. Thereupon, hackers get the authority over every part of your OS.
- You can find Malware in files like apps acquired from threat full third-party online stores, infected PDFs, or pirated media.
- A rootkit can also exploit the vulnerability of the system and thus pave the way to enter into the system. For instance, using outdated software can lead to these hindrances to the device.
Rootkits run near the kernel of your Operating system enables them to start commands. Apart from this, it can conceal keyloggers that keep on stealing some keystrokes without any consent. Thus, cybercriminals find it easy to take your data like credit card and banking details. It can also remove or disable security software.
While some rootkits are developed for illegitimate purposes, there are other legitimate rootkits too. These kinds of rootkits are mostly used to provide remote IT assistance or to support law enforcement. There are several types of rootkits you must need to know. So, check out the list below for all the different kinds that can hinder your system.
Kinds of rootkits
Hardware or Firmware Rootkit
These rootkits can prove dangerous for hard drives, routers, system’s BIOS, all the software that is mostly installed on small memory chips. The name derives from where it is installed on the computer. Hackers use these rootkits to intercept data written on the disk. Rather than targeting the operating system, they target the firmware.
Memory rootkit secretly makes its presence in random access memory of your system. Subsequently, use your computer’s means to execute some malicious functions in the background. They also affect the performance of RAM. Although the memory rootkit disappears just after the minute you reboot the system, sometimes further operations need to be conducted. Due to their short lifespan, they considered being less dangerous.
The bootloader mechanism loads the operating system on a computer. When the malware comes, it attacks the system by replacing the legitimate bootloader. Then, it activates and corrupts the system.
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It loads itself under the system’s operating system. Then, it hosts the target or specific operating system in the form of a virtual machine. That means it intercepts the hardware calls created by the original operating system. Virtual rootkit proves to be very tough to detect.
Kernel-mode rootkits come under the most severe types of this threat. It derives its name because it targets the kernel level, the core of your operating system. Hackers use it to access the files as well as to modify the functionality of your operating system.
This rootkit can replace standard files with rootkit files in your operating system. Also, it may change the way standard applications work. Certain programs like Notepad, Paint, Microsoft Office can also get corrupted with application rootkits. Not only this, but attackers also can get access to your computer every time you run those programs.
Signs to detect rootkits
As the rootkits have all the ability to hide inside the device, it becomes difficult to detect it. But, don’t worry as we are providing some possible signs that will help you to identify this hindrance in just a matter of time.
The device is performing Slowly
You may encounter the slow performance of the system. It might also respond poorly to input from the mouse or keyboard.
Encountering large and unexpected pop-ups of Windows error messages. That generally comes in a blue screen with white text that reads “the blue screen of death”.
Unexpected web browser behavior
You might find unfamiliar link redirection or bookmarks. Clicking on them can worsen the situation.
Windows settings modify without permission
You can witness several changes like screensaver changing, the date and time which are truly incorrect, the taskbar hiding that too when you have not changed anything.
Web pages don’t function properly
Due to excessive network traffic, webpages or network performances in an improper manner.
How to eliminate Rootkit
Well, eliminating a rootkit is not as simple as it appears. You need to acquire some specialized tools like Norton rootkit scanner and TDSSkiller utility from Kaspersky. But, sometimes when nothing works, try to remove your operating system (OS) and rebuild the same from scratch. You can check out some steps below to do the same on Windows and Mac.
Removing rootkit from Windows
On windows, the process to remove the rootkit requires a scanning procedure. Try to reinstall Windows, in case there is a bug infection. You can do this through an external media device that is more useful than a Windows installer. As some rootkits corrupt the BIOS, we will need to repair that too. If your computer still has a rootkit then you must have to bring a new system.
Removing rootkit from Mac
On Mac, the user tries to keep it updated with the latest version. The updates not only add some features but also delete malware from the device. Mac comes with in-built features to secure from malware. As there is a presence of unknown detectors of rootkits on macOS so if you ever question the arising of this malicious virus on your device then try to install MACOS. This will help you to eliminate rootkits and apps on devices. As mentioned above, you must boy and bring a new device if the rootkit has corrupted the BIOS.
How to Block Rootkits
Now that we have learned the nature of rootkits, how they occur, it is time to move into the prevention guide. Just take a note of each of the ways and prevent rootkits from entering the system.
Keep your device up-to-date
The updates are very essential to stay safe and protected from hackers. So, try to provide all the essential updates to programs and OS up to date to dodge rootkit attacks. This way you can close the possibility of rootkits occurrence.
Use a Comprehension Cyber Security Solution
You need to be proactive if you really want to secure your devices. To do so, install a comprehension and dynamic antivirus solution. Norton Power Eraser is a tool that provides full layer protection against these kinds of cyber threats.
Be alert to phishing scams
You can understand Phishing as a social engineering attack. Some scammers bring in use the email and other links to fool the users. This way, they get access to your financial information. To block rootkits from corrupting your system, you need to dodge the opening of malicious and corrupted emails especially when the sender is a stranger. Lastly, don’t ever tap on the link until you get assurance that it is trustworthy.
Notice your Computer’s behavior or performance
Behavior issues work as a symptom for identifying the issue. So, you must stay focused o any suspicious changes or malicious activities. Also, try to examine what are the reasons behind all these happenings.
Download Files from Trusted sources only
You need to be careful whenever you attempt to open attachments or download a file. Use reputable and trustworthy sites to download applications. Also, don’t ever try to ignore your web browser warnings when it informs you about the unsafe page.
Use Norton Rootkit Scanner/ Norton Rootkit Remover
You can also use Norton Power Eraser, the most preferable tool by experts. It is designed to remove all kinds of rootkits viruses, especially rootkits. Well, you can check out some features below to have a glimpse of this fully protected layered device.
- It performs an aggressive scanning process.
- Not only scan rootkit but also virus and spyware.
- Just tap on the advanced scan button and secure your device.
- Reputation scan, System Scan, and Multi-Boot scan consist in the tool.
- Reputation scan is just for specified files and folders.
- The system scan is for the OS.
- While Multiboot is for those who have more than one OS.
Steps to Download Norton Power Eraser
- The first and foremost thing for you to do is to open any of the web browsers on the Windows computer.
- Now, just visit the Norton Power Eraser page.
- You need to hit the download button to initiate the downloading process of the tool on the device.
- Once done with that, you will see the file saved as NPE.exe
- Transfer the saved file from the Downloads folder to the desktop folder.
- Now, moving on to the installation procedure.
Steps to Install the Norton Power Eraser
- First of all, navigate to the desktop folder.
- Try to spot the file NPE.exe and double-click on it to begin the installation process.
- You will see the User Account Control message pop up on the screen.
- Just click either the yes or Continue button.
- You need to now read and review the terms and conditions of the Norton product.
- Click on the accept button to continue with the installation steps.
- Act as per the prompts state and finish the installation process.
- You need to first open the Interface of the Norton Power Eraser software.
- Now, just find the scan for the risk icon and hit on it.
- The tool will begin to scan the rootkits on the computer.
Removing the Rootkits
- The scan result will be displayed in the next window as soon as it is finished.
- If it detects any rootkits then select the remove option.
- Ensure to select the box named ‘Create System Restore Point before proceeding with fix’
- Now hit the Fix tab followed by a Restart Now tab.
- Just click the done button at the end.
So, this is the entire guide related to rootkits. From its definition to its removal tool, we have tried to mention every related thing. Although the rootkits are difficult to detect, the symptoms help you to identify them at the right time. You can also prevent them with some easy to conduct tasks. Last but not the least, you must use Norton Power Eraser not just for eliminating rootkits but also for other malware and spyware. Hopefully, the article has helped you in so many ways. Don’t forget to bookmark the sites for learning about these kinds of viruses and tools to eliminate them.