Types of Rootkits

Rootkits are one of the most dangerous malicious programs a computer can get infected with. They are designed in such a way that they can easily remain hidden deep into the system, remain active, and perform malicious tasks. Since it is hidden deep into the system files, it becomes challenging for the security programs to detect it.

Rootkits contain numerous malicious codes and hacking tools that allow cyber attackers to conduct various illicit tasks such as taking remote control of the PC, steal online passwords, credit card details, and more.

Rootkits are not a single type. Based on their behavior and intent, rootkits are classified into various forms. In this post, we will walk through the types of Rootkits that can infiltrate your computer.

Hardware Rootkits

These are the types of rootkits that infect the hardware components of the system and usually infiltrate through fake firmware or driver updates. It can also infect the BIOS of the computer which is connected to the motherboard. Infiltrators can use the hardware rootkits to steal the data saved on the disk. They can also attack the WiFi routers and control them.

Memory Rootkits

Memory Rootkits are one of the dangerous rootkits. They hide in the Random Access Memory (RAM) of the system and consume CPU power, stopping all other processes and freezing the system. However, the good thing is most memory rootkits have a short lifespan and get disappear once the system is rebooted as the content of the system refreshes with every reboot. However, if they attack the systems that do not reboot, such as the medical system or others, they can remain camouflaged on their RAM for years.

Application Rootkits

Application Rootkits replaces the legitimate files of the genuine applications with the infected ones so that the hackers could get control over them. They might even change the functioning ways of the infected program. Application rootkit can infiltrate the common Windows applications like Notepad, Word, Paint, etc. Every time the user opens the infected application, the attacker behind the application rootkit gets access to the system. Application rootkit is pretty challenging to detect as the infected applications would normally run without raising any suspicion.

Bootloader Rootkits

Bootloader rootkits, also known as, Bootkits, attack the bootloader of the computer and takes its control. A bootloader is an essential component of the device which is mainly responsible for loading the operating system on the machine startup. The bootloader rootkit attacks the legit bootloader and replaces it with the hacked one so that attackers could control the system boot. However, the good news is that modern operating systems like Windows 10 and 8 are immune to bootloader rootkits because of the Secure Boot feature of Microsoft. Since most computers run on Windows 10 and 8, bootloader rootkits are almost extinct.

Kernel Rootkits

Kernel Rootkits are specifically designed to attack the core of your operating system and change its functioning. This rootkit modifies the kernel of the operating system with its own code and takes control of the system. With the kernel rootkit, cybercriminals can hijack the system, get its remote access, and steal valuable data. Compared to any other rootkits, kernel rootkit is easy to detect and remove from the system.

Updated on: 12-Jul-2021

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