root·​kit | \ ˈrüt-ˌkit How to pronounce rootkit (audio) , 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 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, "Security News This Week: The NSA and FBI Expose Fancy Bear's Sneaky Hacking Tool," 15 Aug. 2020 Someone will modify checkra1n to remove the logo and install a rootkit instead. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "What the newly released Checkra1n jailbreak means for iDevice security," 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, "US Government-funded Android phones come preinstalled with unremovable malware," 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, "Time for the f-society Christmas Special in Mr. Robot’s final season trailer," 28 Aug. 2019 Both Secure Boot and Measured Boot can help defend against rootkits that might execute during the operating system startup, as well as kernel-level malware. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Google launches “Shielded VMs” to protect cloud servers from rootkits, data theft," 25 July 2018 The attackers could then steal encryption keys and user data, install rootkits and erase logs that recorded the unauthorized access. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Trivial authentication bypass in libssh leaves servers wide open," 17 Oct. 2018 K7 Ultimate Security also has a rootkit scanning option. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "K7 Ultimate Security review: Simple yet sophisticated," 28 Aug. 2018 Among them is Shielded VMs, a feature of Google Cloud Platform that protects virtual machines from the installation of rootkits and other persistent malware, as well as other attacks that could result in data theft. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Google launches “Shielded VMs” to protect cloud servers from rootkits, data theft," 25 July 2018

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.

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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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Last Updated

20 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rootkit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2020.

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