The Root of All Evil

Rootkits Revealed

Bereitgestellt von: ESET, pol.s.r.o. / David Harley, Andrew Lee

Are rootkits the root of all evil, or just another threat? What you need to know about the rootkit threat.

Public awareness of rootkits has risen in recent years, but as with worms, viruses and other forms of malicious software (malware), the term rootkit is applied unselectively to a range of technologies and has attracted a number of not-very-compatible definitions.

While several of these technologies and definitions are explored in this paper, our intention is to clarify common usages, not to supply a single “authoritative” definition. There are, however, some brief definitions in the glossary.

Rootkits are in danger of becoming the latest in a long line of poorly understood threats to be hyped as the “End of Computing as We Know It”. Having attracted descriptions such as “the most pernicious and sophisticated form of attack which currently can be made against a Windows system”, they have acquired some of the superstitious dread that terms like “stealth” and “polymorphic” inspired earlier in the history of malicious software. Indeed, the concepts of rootkits and stealth (or what is now often referred to as stealthware) are closely related and overlapping, if not synonymous.

This white paper aims to assess the realities of the rootkit threat, and to examine the state of the solutions available. It’s easy to see why the rootkit concept is so worrying. Software that uses stealth techniques is designed to be invisible to anti-virus software, other security software, the operating system and file system.

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Publiziert: 18.10.10 | ESET, pol.s.r.o. / David Harley, Andrew Lee

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