Subscribe to industry newsletters


How to protect your PC from operating system rootkits stealing your sensitive information

A rootkit is malicious hidden software that comes in many variations, one of them being kernel-mode operating system rootkits. They can target your phone, computer or laptop without you noticing it and create remote access to your device, i.e., sensitive information.
In 2018, Zacinlo ad fraud that used rootkits to inject malware to Windows 10 user's computers confirmed that this type of malicious attack is still a relevant cybersecurity concern. Their malware was used six years before being detected.

What is a rootkit?

A rootkit is a type of malware that cybercriminals can use to monitor your computer or steal personal data. It works as a malicious software program that is used to access the administrative level of your PC.

It's notoriously hard to detect rootkits because hackers mask their activity using other programs on your computer.

For instance, you can download a rootkit after installing an infected app on your device. After you boot your operating system, the rootkit boots up along with it and conceals its activity using another program you don't suspect.

Consequences of a rootkit

As mentioned, operating system-based rootkits are difficult to notice since they are usually hidden within other trusted programs. This gives them the advantage of operating on your systems for years without being detected.

The consequences of a rootkit will depend on the hacker's intentions and skill. They might want access to your sensitive information such as credit card information, passwords, or other private data that can be extracted from your device.

A rootkit enables cybercriminals remote access to your computer. Therefore, hackers can use it to inject additional malware making the attack more complex and difficult to manage on your part.

Another common use of rootkit malware is for surveillance purposes. That can also be done with the intent to obtain your personal information.

Kernel-mode rootkits can also be used to affect your PC performance. That is to say; they can destabilize your operating system with additional malware. If your PC is suddenly slow, that could indicate rootkit problems.

Detecting and removing existing rootkits

The first step is figuring out how to detect a rootkit on your computer. That is not simple, considering rootkits essentially operate as malware protection. However, there are ways to find them on your device.

Experts suggest using several scanners that look for malware in your system and prevent new and potentially infected programs from being installed.

Nevertheless, keep in mind that rootkits can operate shielded under any programs – Paint included.

The best-case scenario would be to remove rootkit malware as soon as it targets your system. That can be done with anti-malware.

Another way to get rid of the malware is by backing up your data and doing a clean install of your Windows. This can be time-consuming, but it's not difficult to do.

Preventing rootkit attacks before they happen

Whether you are concerned about your home computer or device that contains sensitive data of your company, there are ways to keep rootkits away from your PC.

Once a rootkit is in your system, it can not only be hard to detect, but it can be challenging to remove it altogether.

Even after you reboot the system, they can persist hidden using other programs to attack your computer.

Set up your firewall to prevent rootkit malware from reaching your operating systems. Web Application Firewall (WAF) is an excellent tool for analyzing any suspicious activity on your systems.

WAF, therefore, does a behavioral analysis of any suspicious CPU use on your device without you having to do that manually.

Using backdoor protection that can register and delete any new requests or unwanted (infected) files is another reliable method for fighting rootkits before they even get to your computer.

Considering most cybercriminals that use rootkits aim at getting their hands on your personal data, using services that protect your passwords and unknown logins can save your computer from attacks as well.

Conclusion

Nowadays, our computers and private information online are connected with various accounts to any other hackable devices we have at home.

Therefore, kernel-model operating system rootkits can be extremely damaging for individuals and companies alike. By getting access to your PC, hackers can acquire access to any other device.

Another thing to keep in mind is that rootkits are very hard to notice and sometimes even remove, so having preventive security systems that monitor and remove suspicious code and viruses is a must.

About Boris Dzhingarov

Boris Dzhingarov graduated UNWE with a major in marketing. He is the CEO of ESBO ltd brand mentioning agency. He writes for several online sites such as Tech.co, Semrush.com, Tweakyourbiz.com, Socialnomics.net. Boris is the founder of MonetaryLibrary.com and cryptoext.com.
Monetary Library
If you are looking for business or financial advice you are at the right place! Monetary Library's team is following up the everyday trends and we hope you find the information here useful for your needs. If you have any further ideas and advice feel free to share with us!

Let's do Biz