With today's technology, it's easier than ever for hackers to steal information from unsuspecting victims. At the same time, consumers increasingly use various apps and websites to acquire products and services from different businesses.
Companies—and even the government—collect the information they need online. And this is where the risk to privacy and cybersecurity arises. The data collected can be compromised and exploited by cybercriminals in various ways.
Hackers use specialized software to access devices and collect personal information and financial details. Once a company's data security is compromised, it can lead to financial loss, poor customer trust, and damage to its reputation and brand.
According to the Cost of a Data Breach report in 2022, the average data breach cost increased to $4.35 million in 2021. In addition, the number of complaints of cybercrime is increasing year by year.
Therefore, companies and governments who collect data from customers should perform all standard endpoint protection practices to secure everything they collect from consumers. Also, operating system developers should always provide advanced antivirus and anti-malware protection, particularly in macOS and Windows operating systems. However, that won’t guarantee complete security. You also need to know how to protect your data from unauthorized access.
To keep your personal and financial data out of the hands of hackers, find out how rootkits access systems and what you need to know about rootkit removal.
Rootkit malware is a malicious computer program used to gain privileged access to a device or network. This spyware enables hackers to remotely control and maintain command on a computer without being noticed by the owner.
Once it’s activated, the purpose of a rootkit is to establish a backdoor to a computer or network. It may also create a path for additional malware, like a Trojan, bots, ransomware, or a keylogger. What’s more, this software can stay on a computer for many years, as they are not easy to detect.
Rootkits cannot spread on their own, so they rely on other means. They escalate like other malware through emails, vulnerabilities, and USB drives.
Sometimes a rootkit can be installed on your computer if you download a file or open an email you think is safe. Some are also used for social engineering or phishing attacks, so users will install them on their computers. And this gives hackers access to the computer.
There are different types of rootkits, and these are the following:
The bootloader loads your computer's operating system once you turn on your device. So when rootkits attack your computer, they infect the device before the OS turns on.
The target of kernel-mode rootkits is the core of the computer's operating system. Hackers use these malicious programs to change how your operating system works and give them free access to your computer.
The functionality of the hardware rootkit enables it to access the computer's hard drive or the system BIOS to collect information. However, it may also infect your router and collect data recorded on the disk.
A memory rootkit hides on the computer's RAM and performs harmful activities in the background. Fortunately, this type of program doesn't stay for long and disappears when you reboot your system. However, there are some circumstances where further work is needed to eliminate them.
This type can change your files using its own code, which gives hackers access to your computer—and even your phone—when you use the infected apps and files. But this malware is also known as user-mode rootkits, and it’s easy to detect because infected files display unusual behavior. Security tools can also identify them quickly.
Rootkit detection is difficult, as they hide their presence and actions. Additionally, they can enable their own security software, making it even harder to spot them. For that reason, this malware may stay on your device for a long time and cause more damage.
Fortunately, there are ways to identify if your computer is infected, and software is available to fix the problem. You can use a specific tool to detect malicious software. It’s important to choose specialized rootkit detection software for complete protection, as this type of malicious software can disable Windows Defender and other inbuilt security software.
You can also look for signs to determine if your computer is infected. For example, one giveaway that you have a rootkit attack is strange web browser behavior. This includes link redirection and unrecognized bookmarks.
Another sign is slow device performance and blue screens. If your computer is infected, it may perform slowly and take longer to start. Also, it may not respond to input from the keyboard or mouse.
Here are the steps on how to remove rootkits in your device and secure your data.
Run Removal Software
Running rootkit removal software on your computer provides complete protection against malware attacks. Don't depend on Windows Defender and other inbuilt security software pre-installed on your device, as most rootkits disable basic security.
You can use a rootkit removal tool or antivirus software, such as Avast Rootkit Scanner, Malwarebytes, Kaspersky, Lynis, or McAfee, to remove malicious software from your computer. Rootkit removal software delivers several scans to ensure rootkits and other types of malware are not infecting your machine. The software detects and eliminates the malware for good, preventing hackers from stealing your data.
Perform Boot-Time Scan
A boot-time scan is very useful in detecting rootkits. It operates during your device startup process and detects rootkits before they can perform any actions. By initiating a boot-time scan, you will put the rootkit in a dormant state, and it won't be able to hide in your computer.
Wipe the Device and Reinstall OS
If rootkit removal software and performing boot-time scans don’t eliminate the rootkit, there's another procedure you can do. First, you should back up your system files and data. Then, wipe your computer's central C: drive, and reinstall the operating system from scratch.
Using advanced spyware programs, hackers can easily steal your data and use it for various crimes. A specialized anti-rootkit program can prevent these hackers from gathering your data and causing more problems on your computer. It is essential to know how to detect malicious software and remove it from your computer.