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Thu 24 Aug 2006 04:00 AM

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Sophos tells Windows users to wise-up

A security expert from UK-based security firm Sophos has stated that Windows users “need to wise-up” to the latest tricks that hackers are using and gather the tools needed to protect themselves.

A security expert from UK-based security firm Sophos has stated that Windows users “need to wise-up” to the latest tricks that hackers are using and gather the tools needed to protect themselves.

The firm's product mangager, Phil Wood, said last week, “Rootkits are being increasingly misused by hackers to hide a variety of criminal activities, including spyware designed to steal usernames and passwords, denial-of-service attacks, and spam campaigns. However, many users don’t appear to know what a rootkit is, and may be oblivious to the threat”.

A rootkit is a program designed to hide system processes, files, and configuration information from a user. This can allow an intruder or hacker to hide malicious programs such as spyware and keyloggers on a user’s PC.

However, rootkits are not always used to attack and gain control of PCs. Some programs might use rootkits to hide from third-party scanners to prevent detection or tampering. Some emulation software and secure software also use rootkits.

In response to this threat, Sophos has unveiled its new free Anti-Rootkit app, which is designed to detect and safely remove rootkits associated with malicious software that have already entered a user’s PC. The program works with Windows NT 4.0, XP, 2000 and Windows Small Business Server 2003, and requires 128Mbytes of RAM to run.

Sophos is recommending that users close all non-essential software such as instant messaging apps and e-mail clients, and allow Windows Update to complete before running the detector.

Users interested in the app can download it here. A complete Anti-Rootkit user manual is also available at the link above under the ‘Resources’ section.

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