| By Mark Joseph Edwards |
Several new anti-rootkit tools have been released recently, and existing security tools have been enhanced to protect your PC from rootkit infection.
Now third-party tests reveal which rootkit removers do the best job of protecting your system.
Security suites vs. specialty rootkit defenders
Rootkits are malware programs that provide their authors with direct access to your computer without your knowledge or permission. The programs typically gain administrative-level access to your system and avoid detection by standard antivirus scans. (See Scott Spanbauer’s review of three free rootkit removers in this week’s Best Software column.)
Some security vendors have recently broadened their definition of a rootkit to include any program that allows unauthorized access or stealth activity to occur. For example, if a program hides any files on your computer, a vendor might call it a rootkit. So be aware that what constitutes a rootkit is no longer consistent among security vendors.
Blurry definitions aside, there are a number of malware packages that do, in fact, fit the historic definition of a rootkit. First, you need to find out whether your PC is already infected by a rootkit and, if it is, how to disinfect it. Then you need to make sure that these programs are prevented from making their way into your computer.
There are currently at least 14 standalone anti-rootkit tools, six Web-based tools, and seven security suites that claim to detect and/or remove rootkits. What’s needed is a way to determine which ones are best at preventing a rootkit infection and removing the buggers when they make their way onto your machine.