As Windows users, it seems we are under continuous attack from viruses, trojans, spyware and malware. It is a constant battle to keep machines free and clean. As if there already isn’t enough to worry about, rootkits are blasting onto our desktops and servers at an alarming rate. It is important for Windows users to educate themselves on the newest and most dangerous threat we face on the Internet today.What is a Rootkit? In layman’s terms, a rootkit is a group of software tools that a hacker or mischievous person can use to obtain root (top-level) privileges to a computer. Once this top level privilege is obtained, the hacker can perform unauthorized activity on a computer and hide all traces of existence but continue to exploit the computer relentlessly. Pesky Rootkits Personally, I find rootkits very unique because of how clever they are. Rootkits are designed to avoid detection — straight and simple. You can dig around as much as you want, but the rootkit is undetectable in Windows. In order to understand rootkits, you must educate yourself on how to get on the defensive. Yes, I said defensive. In this case, I firmly believe a good defense will beat out a great offense. When it comes to rootkits, you need a great defense because if you are put on the offensive and have to attack and remove a rootkit from your infrastructure, you are never sure it is gone. In almost all cases your offensive will fail and you will have to reformat and reinstall. The best way to keep rootkits off of your network is to never allow them to get there in the first place. Several things you can do to protect your company include:
- Keep your security patches up to date.
- Make sure you have a good antivirus product and it is kept up to date.
- Block risky ports at the router level.
- Do not run your system as a local administrator. By running your system as a limited user, you can avoid possible malware being able to write to your system files.
- Be careful where you browse on the Internet. Avoid suspicious sites.
- Monitor systems for unusual behavior and activity.