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rootkit

A type of Trojan that keeps itself, other files, registry keys and network connections hidden from detection. It enables an attacker to have "root" access to the computer, which means it runs at the lowest level of the machine. A rootkit typically intercepts common API calls. For example, it can intercept requests to a file manager such as Explorer and cause it to keep certain files hidden from display, even reporting false file counts and sizes to the user. Rootkits came from the Unix world and started out as a set of altered utilities such as the ls command, which is used to list file names in the directory (folder).

Legitimate Rootkits?
Rootkits can also be used for what some vendors consider valid purposes. For example, if digital rights management (DRM) software is installed and kept hidden, it can control the use of licensed, copyrighted material and also prevent the user from removing the hidden enforcement program. However, such usage is no more welcomed than a rootkit that does damage or allows spyware to thrive without detection. See Trojan.



Trojan

A program that appears legitimate but performs some illicit activity when run. It may be used to locate password information or make the system more vulnerable to future entry or simply destroy the user's stored software and data. A Trojan is similar to a virus, except that it does not replicate itself. Often sneaking in attached to a free game or other supposedly worthwhile utility, the Trojan remains in the computer doing damage or allowing someone from a remote location to take control. See Trojan dropper, wiretap Trojan, rootkit, RAT, Back Orifice, NetBus, PrettyPark, Talking Trojan and virus.

The Trojan Horse
The term comes from Greek mythology, in which the Greeks battled the Trojans (people of Troy). After years of being unable to break into the fortified city, the Greeks built a wooden horse, filled it with soldiers and pretended to sail away. After the Trojans brought the horse into the city, the Greek soldiers crept out at night, opened the gates of Troy to the returning soldiers, and Troy was destroyed.



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