root·​kit ˈrüt-ˌkit How to pronounce rootkit (audio)
variants or less commonly root kit
: 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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Researchers so far have been unable to determine the entry point that allows the rootkit to get installed in the first place. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 26 July 2022 Kaspersky detected the rootkit running on computers in China, Vietnam, Iran, and Russia. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 26 July 2022 In internal testing, the company recreated the Drovorub rootkit. Matt Kimball, Forbes, 22 June 2021 An attacker could also infect the machine with a rootkit—malicious code that’s difficult or impossible to detect—that would run in system management mode until the next reboot. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 14 Nov. 2020 Russia allegedly used Drovorub to plant backdoors; the versatile malware consisted of an implant, kernel module rootkit, file transfer and port forwarding tool, and command and control server. Brian Barrett, Wired, 15 Aug. 2020 Someone will modify checkra1n to remove the logo and install a rootkit instead. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 15 Nov. 2019 An incomplete list includes a backdoor on hundreds of thousands of BLU devices, a powerful backdoor and rootkit also on BLU devices, and covert downloaders on 26 different phone models from various manufacturers. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 9 Jan. 2020 But last year was a return to form—from the kinetic action to the dazzling cinematography to the technical team building out rootkits on a Linux OS for fun. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, 28 Aug. 2019 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1994, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rootkit was in 1994

Dictionary Entries Near rootkit

Cite this Entry

“Rootkit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

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