Security

Countering Persistent Kernel Rootkits Through Systematic Hook Discovery

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Executive Summary

Kernel rootkits, as one of the most elusive types of malware, pose significant challenges for investigation and defense. Among the most notable are persistent kernel rootkits, a special type of kernel rootkits that implant persistent kernel hooks to tamper with the kernel execution to hide their presence. To defend against them, an effective approach is to first identify those kernel hooks and then protect them from being manipulated by these rootkits. In this paper, the authors focus on the first step by proposing a systematic approach to identify those kernel hooks. The approach is based on two key observations: First, rootkits by design will attempt to hide its presence from all running rootkit-detection software including various system utility programs (E.g., ps and ls).

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