The Dissection of a Rootkit

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2007-02-23 Email Print this article Print

F-Secure Security Labs' new paper takes apart the dangerous and stealthy rootkit and tells us how helpless we now are against this increasingly popular form of attack.

Security analysts have been predicting that kernel rootkits, which cloak their activity by replacing a portion of a program's software kernel with modified code, are expected to continue to grow in frequency in 2007.

While rootkit-fighting technologies such as the PatchGuard kernel protection system built into 64-bit versions of Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system are arriving, most PC users will still be left open to the attacks over the next twelve months, CA has said, and even experienced PC users are vulnerable to their sophisticated techniques.

F-Secure Security Labs has been tracking and dissecting kernel malware for years; this form of attack was first spotted as far back as 1999, in the form of the WinNT/Infis attack.

F-Secure researcher Kimmo Kasslin has made the findings available in a paper titled "Kernel Malware: The Attack from Within" (a PDF) as well as in a slide show (also a PDF).

Read the full story on The Dissection of a Rootkit.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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