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Getting to the Root!

Getting to the Root!
by Gary Woods

Probably the scariest word in computerdom these days is Rootkit. This is a program that is so down deep in your computer that most virus detectors can't even find it let alone try to eradicate it.

The thing is, a Rootkit could either be something benign like Digital Rights Management or something as malicious as a Trojan. But either way it's something that is hidden from the user and fools the operating system into believing that it doesn't exist.

Rootkits can be used to steal personal information and take over control of a PC without the user's knowledge. The way Rootkits work is different from a virus which is the reason we're starting to see specialized programs to identify them. The detection software finds Rootkit activity in the file system, Registry, processes, drives and alternate data streams and then offers a detailed report.

Panda Software is one of the companies that have developed a free download which can be gotten at Http:// which identifies known Rootkits and tells you about ones that it can not recognize. The software recommends removing only software that it recognizes and allows you to send unknown Rootkits to them for analysis.

The Panda Rootkit analyzer digs more deeply into your computer than any other software of its' kind that I've seen. The only downside I found was that it required a couple of reboots to get the job done. So download it and clean up your act!

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. You can hear Gary on the Radio at 1290 AM Monday 9-10 AM and he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc