root·​kit | \ˈrüt-ˌkit, ˈru̇t-\
variants: or less commonly root kit

Definition of rootkit 


: a malicious piece of software that grants a remote operator complete access to a computer system Rootkits maliciously change a computer's operating system without a user's knowledge and then cover up their tracks. The hacker who installed the rootkit is then able to monitor the infected computer and use it to launch other attacks.— Andrea Caumont

Examples of rootkit in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of computers continued to run Sony’s spyware along with a rootkit that made these systems more vulnerable to other viruses. Kendall Hoyt, Slate Magazine, "What Biosecurity and Cybersecurity Research Have in Common," 17 Mar. 2017 Consider what happened in 2005, when Sony BMG started selling CDs laden with the notorious Sony rootkit, software designed to covertly prevent people from copying music files. Cory Doctorow, WIRED, "How Laws Restricting Tech Actually Expose Us to Greater Harm," 24 Dec. 2014

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rootkit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of rootkit

1994, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of rootkit was in 1994

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Comments on rootkit

What made you want to look up rootkit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express warning or disapproval

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