Rootkit Removal

rootkitIn the realm of spyware and adware, rootkits can be very insidious and difficult to deal with.  This is because rootkits often encrypt themselves and embed their files deep within the Windows operating system.  Rootkit infections can happen through direct attacks and exploitation of vulnerabilities in software programs (such as web browsers and other software) or sometimes through password theft.  The program is able to gain administrator access to the operating system and then cloaks its existence.

Once installed, a rootkit can access the host computer at any time, allowing third party access to system files as well as surveillance of the activities on the computer (such as tracking keystrokes and downloads).  The user of the computer usually has no idea this is happening as it runs in the background.

Rootkit Removal

Removal of rootkits can be difficult, as it can sometimes be impossible to remove certain files while the Windows operating system is running.  Even detecting a rootkit can be difficult as there are new iterations and different ones created daily by hackers.  However, certain programs can find and remove most rootkits, and there are other ways of detecting strange behavior on a computer by analyzing memory dumps and signature scanning.

There are third party software programs that can help you to remove rootkits.  One top program is Spyhunter 4, which employs the use of its own self-contained operating system that the software can boot into in order to remove files that cannot be removed while Windows is running.  This is incredibly helpful to remove certain rootkit infections.  Another great advantage is that if you have a problem removing a specific invasion you can get personalized customer service via remote access and their technicians can help you directly.

Check out Spyhunter 4 here or download the program (free trial scan).

Protection Against Rootkits

Protecting yourself from rootkits and other viruses involves keeping all software as up to date as possible to avoid the potential that your computer could be compromised through a software vulnerability.  For example, keep your web browser as up to date as possible at all times and download all patches for your operating system as they are released.

Another way to protect against these invasive malware programs is to employ the use of a software program that prevents malicious software from loading on your computer without your knowledge.  Programs such as the aforementioned Spyhunter 4  are great for this, and can help you detect many intrusions.

Famous Rootkits

In 2005 a scandal involving Sony BMG music erupted when the company released CD’s with a music player that secretly installed a rootkit designed to prevent access to the copyright protected music on the CD.  A software engineer found the rootkit using software he wrote (RootkitRevealer) and it turned into a public relations nightmare for the music company.  Sony BMG was forced to recall the CDs, after releasing patches to remove the rootkits that left the computers even more vulnerable to intrusion.

in 2004 and 2005 the Greek wiretapping scandal enused, where rootkits were installed to tap 100 cell phones on the Greek Vodaphone network, owned mostly by Greek government officials.  The rootkit was found when the rootkit attackers installed a faulty update that caused SMS errors, causing Ericson engineers to investigate the problem where they then found the files that blocked access to certain processes.

Zeus, in 2007, was a rootkit that tracked keystrokes in the browser and was able to steal completed forms.

Recently the rootkit Flame was discovered, attacking computers running the Windows operating system.  It is able to take screenshots, record audio, track keystrokes, and monitor data transmission.

Suggested Rootkit Removal Tools:

Spyhunter 4  ( main site | download)


Webroot (with Prevx)




About the Author

Roger Feinstein has grown up with computers his entire life and strives to help others understand what goes on behind the scenes in their PCs. He's been writing tech articles for websites for over 5 years.

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