A rootkit is a malicious application that gains administrative privileges by loading and executing directly from the kernel of the operating system. In order to properly define what is a rootkit virus, let’s first discuss the meaning of the term “root” in computing. Root means the highest level user in Unix or Linux. Basically, the root user holds system privileges, allowing them to execute commands without restrictions.
A rootkit virus has the ability to function as a root user once it has successfully infected the computer. That’s what is a rootkit virus capable of. You may be asking, what is a rootkit virus created for exactly and why is it programmed that way?
What Does a Rootkit Do?
Creates Backdoor Access
Rootkit functionalities are specifically designed for creating backdoor access. Hackers know that in order to create backdoor access, administrative privileges are required. The normal authentication of the computer must be bypassed; otherwise, creating a backdoor successfully won’t take place. This is accomplished by altering the security setting, usually, disabling the anti malware software or antivirus.
A rootkit having administrative privileges can easily modify the security setting and disable anti malware software, allowing hackers to create backdoor access without being exposed. Eventually, they take over the computer without the user’s knowledge.
Some hackers turn the computer into a zombie computer that can be used to commit cyber attacks. It also allows hackers to monitor computer activities and steal personal information. That’s what is a rootkit virus for.
Prevents Malware Removal
Due to a rootkit’s unique ability, it is often bundled with other types of malware, such as Zeus viruses, ransomware, and banking trojans. All three are classified as dangerous because they can steal sensitive data and encrypt valuable files.
Typically, a rootkit conceals the malware and its activities to carry out its goal. If the malware is detected, rootkit prevents its removal. You may spot the malware, but uninstalling it will be difficult, as your access will be denied. You need to get rid of the rootkit first, and that may require a specific rootkit remover or worse, an operating system reinstallation.
How to Prevent a Rootkit
Upon learning what is a rootkit virus for and how harmful it can be for your computer, you must also know how to prevent rootkits.
#1. Avoid Downloading Illegal Software
Do you know what is a rootkit virus often disguised as? Cracked software. Users who download cracked software may accidentally install a rootkit on their computers. It is advisable to download legitimate software only.
#2. Avoid Opening Suspicious Emails
Most malware, including a rootkit, are distributed by a malicious email. This technique is called spear phishing. Through a spam email, hackers can install a rootkit on random computers. This is how a rootkit virus is often concealed.
By creating emails that look authentic, hackers can trick users into downloading and installing a rootkit on their computers. When the user downloads the infected attachment, a rootkit installs silently in the background.
#3. Keep Software Up to Date
A rootkit can also be installed through system vulnerabilities, which is a result of running outdated software. System vulnerabilities can be exploited by hackers. Using exploit kits, they scan devices for system vulnerabilities to insert rootkits and other types of malware. Don’t skip software updates, as they protect you from a rootkit infection.
#4. Scan URL
If you suspect that a website is malicious or you want to verify its reputation, scan the URL. Using a website scanner, you can check the reputation of the website. Unfortunately, legitimate websites with poor cyber security can get infected with a rootkit.
Hackers inject malicious software on the website without the website owner’s knowledge. When the user visits the website, a rootkit installs in the background. So, always verify the website reputation because you know what is a rootkit virus capable of.
#5. Install Anti Malware Software
Anti malware software is designed to protect the PC’s system by detecting and blocking malware before it reaches the computer. Now that you know what is a rootkit virus, never let it onto your computer by installing anti malware software. However, you need to find anti malware software equipped with rootkit detection, as a rootkit can easily evade the detection of traditional anti malware software.
Knowing what is a rootkit virus and how to prevent one is essential, as a rootkit is dangerous to your computer. Getting infected with a rootkit could mean an operating system reinstallation. Protect your computer with reputable anti malware software.