You’ve Got A Rootkit – Not For Your Garden, Unfortunately!
This may be a term you haven’t heard of before, at least in this context. I have, and unfortunately it’s not something we want living on our computers. Let’s take a look at what a rootkit is and how you can deal with getting it the heck ‘outa Dodge!
Rootkits first became known as a type of anti-pirating device put onto music CD’s to help keep thieves from stealing their music. It has since devolved into something entirely more sinister. Typically today, a rootkit is a program that affixes itself in your computers root directory and becomes a base for someone other than you, and apart from your location to have access to your machine. You can imagine the type of havoc this could bring about. Most often it is someone seeking information, and this can be given to them in the form of your credit cards, personal information, passwords, in short, anything that is on your computer that the thief may have an interest in exploiting. This rootkit is often disguised as a utility program, when it in fact has utilities of its own that grant access to your machine from other users.
Sometimes these utilities create “backdoors” into your computer, which open you up to a host of unwanted intrusions. They create false administrators that can do practically anything you can on your own computer, including even changing your password so you can’t even access your own machine! This is clearly not a road you want to go down.
One particularly nefarious aspect this can take on is if your computer happens to be on a network. Then it not has your computer begging for mercy, but can use it as a mother ship to send out evil little missives to all the other computers in your network, all the while making it look like you’re the bad guy here, as it’s coming from your computer! You won’t be very popular very long if this happens.
Not only can rootkits give you a rough time by collecting your info and al that in your network, but they can also open doors that are virtually impossible to close by making it easier for other nasty programs like keyloggers, various viruses, and more spyware than you thought existed to come and have a party at your house!
So now that we know we definitely don’t want any part of rootkits, how do we prevent them from showing up in the first place? Well firstly make sure you’re very careful of just what you download. Music files, shared files and other types of software from the internet are very susceptible to this kind of evil. Also, make very sure you are vigilant in keeping your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs running and up to date. Perform scans regularly, and make sure you schedule them to take place automatically, so you’re sure. You can have this happen when you’re sleeping, so there will be no lost productivity.
The best way to fight rootkits is to be proactive in your defense!