Protecting your computer from rootkit attacks

A rootkit is a collection of programs or tools enabling access in an administrator level to a certain computer or network. What happens is a root kit is being installed in the computer once user-level access is obtained. This is done by cracking a password or exploiting a vulnerable area. Once the rootkit is installed, the attacker masks this intrusion and gains privileged access to that certain computer or even the entire network.
Rootkits may consist of spyware or programs that alter existing system tools to:

  • Alter system tools to prevent detection
  • Create a backdoor for the hacker’s use
  • Monitor keystrokes and traffic

Rootkits are equally problematic as spyware and viruses. They can be exploited by malwares and when this happens, it may be hard to determine which one is legitimate and which one is malicious. Now that rootkits have become rampant all over the world including commercial security products, protecting your computer is your only best bet against any possible attack. Here are some measures you could do to protect yourself.

1. Choose a good anti-virus software

Generally, antiviruses have the capacity of recognizing and protecting your computer against viruses. Using a good one could prevent virus from attacking and causing further damage. Keep in mind though that attackers frequently write new viruses so it would be a good practice to keep your antivirus updated. There are antiviruses which offer anti-rootkit features.

2. Install a firewall

These firewalls could prevent infection by blocking traffic that are malicious before they could even enter your computer and limit your own traffic. While some operating systems already have a firewall, always make sure that they are enabled.

3. Use a good password

Make your passwords hard to crack and make sure that you use different passwords for different programs and devices. Also, it would be another good practice to not tick the “remember your password” option when logging in.

4. Update your software whenever possible

Install software patches so vulnerabilities would not be exploited. Most operating systems do this automatically through the automatic updates. Check your computer to see if yours is enabled.

5. Practice good security

In using web browsers and e-mails, be cautious all the time so as to prevent possible infection.
Sometimes, your computer may have a rootkit and you won’t know. Being a victim and knowing it is not enough as it may be hard to recover from such attack. Chances are files may have been modified in your computer so simply removing malicious files would not do the trick. If you think that your computer has been compromised, better call for a skilled system administrator to help you out.

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