Rootkits received a publicity boost when Sony started to add them to some of the company's music CDs in an effort to protect the music from being copied by customers who bought them. It was a weak protection as it worked only on Windows, but it helped spread the word about rootkits.
Since then rootkits have become an ever growing threat on the Internet in line with Viruses, Trojans, Phishing and Spam. The major problem with rootkits is that most users think that their virus scanner protects them from rootkits, which is most of the time not the case.
While some security apps come with rootkit detecting capabilities, others do not and it is in this case that you should install and run anti-rootkit software on your system regularly to make sure that nothing of this kind slips passed the defenses.
AVG Anti Rootkit is a free software that scans a computer for rootkits to block or remove them from the system when threats are identified.
The anti rootkit application can be used to either quickly scan the computer for possible rootkits or use a thorough deep scan instead which takes longer to complete but makes sure that every last inch of the hard drive and memory is analyzed during the scan.
The time it takes to scan the system depends largely on the number of drives, folders and files on it, as well as the overall performance of the system.
Update: AVG Anti-Rootkit Free has been discontinued in 2006. The program has been integrated into various AVG products including (in 2010) in AVG Anti-Virus Free, AVG Anti-Virus 2012 and AVG Internet Security 2012.
The free version of AVG Anti-Virus is available on the official AVG website. Just download and install it on your Windows system to protect the PC from malicious software and Internet based attacks.
Please note that the free version has limitations, including less frequent and prioritized updates, no email or telephone support, less interface and software customizations as well as no server support. The free product version may also only be used on home and non-commercial use systems.
If you prefer a standalone rootkit scanner, try the free Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.