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IN FOCUS: Rootkit Removal Tools
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=== IN FOCUS: Rootkit Removal Tools
by Mark Joseph Edwards, News Editor, mark at ntsecurity / net
Rootkits are a growing problem, and as you might expect, the list of tools that can help you prevent rootkit infiltration is also growing. The list of standalone tools that can help with rootkit detection and removal is also expanding. This week, I give you a list of the standalone detection and removal tools that I know about.
The alphabetical list below can be a resource to help you add some useful tools to your security toolkit. As with antivirus and antispyware tools, using multiple rootkit detection and removal tools is a good idea because not every tool can detect and remove every rootkit.
Of the tools listed, I've used RootkitRevealer, F-Secure BlackLight, Sophos Anti-Rootkit, and IceSword, all of which are from entities that I'm familiar with and trust to some extent or other.
A few of the tools on the list (GMER, DarkSpy, and Rootkit Unhooker) look interesting, but I have no idea who the authors are, nor do their Web sites offer much information to lend insight. So although I included them in the list, definitely use your own discretion.
There are undoubtedly other related tools available that I'm not aware of; if you know of one, please send me an email with details. If you've tried one of the tools below, let me know about your experiences with it.
BitDefender RootkitUncover beta, from SoftWin
This tool is currently available as a free beta and looks promising, particularly because it's from SoftWin, makers of BitDefender.
DarkSpy, from DarkSpy Security Group
This tool is from a group of Chinese security researchers that I'm unfamiliar with. The download page for the tool says, "Use at your own risk," and you'd be wise to take that advice; however, it might give you a little comfort to know that this tool was recently mentioned in the SANS Internet Storm Center's Handler's Diary. Click the second URL under the Helios entry below to link to that mention.
This is a standalone "trialware" tool, meaning that it periodically expires after a certain date--currently October 1. It's also a standard component of F-Secure's Internet Security 2006 package.
GMER, from an unknown independent Polish developer
Although no information is readily available about who developed this tool, its Web site has several screenshots and some movies (in .wmv and .avi format) that show the tool in action. So you can get a good idea of what it's like before using it.
Helios, from MIEL e-Security
This is a new tool, currently in "alpha" development, that looks promising. For some good insight into Helios, go to the second URL below to read the SANS Handler's Diary entry for July 26, in which you can also see some screen shots of the tool in action. http://helios.miel-labs.com
IceSword, by Xfocus Team
IceSword has proven useful to many security administrators. Xfocus is a group of Chinese security researchers, and while the site is written in Chinese, you can use AltaVista's Babel Fish Translation engine (at the second URL below) to view it in English. You can also use Babel Fish to translate the Chinese documentation. http://www.xfocus.net/tools/200509
RKDetector, by Miguel Tarasco Acuna
This toolkit comes in two parts: A file system analyzer and an Import Address Table (IAT) analyzer. The file system analyzer scans the file system and registry, and the IAT analyzer scans memory space for alterations that would allow rootkits to hook into the system. Screen shots are available to give you a good idea of what the tool looks like. http://www.rkdetector.com
RootKit Hook Analyzer, from Resplendence Software Projects
Although most rootkit detection tools look at kernel hooks, the file system, the registry, user accounts, and so on, this particular tool focuses exclusively on kernel hooks. http://www.resplendence.com/hookanalyzer
RootkitRevealer, from Sysinternals
A tool written by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell, two very well known Windows experts. http://www.sysinternals.com/Utilities/RootkitRevealer.html
Rootkit Unhooker, from UG North
Although I have no idea who UG North is, the tool looks promising. It checks for unwanted processes and system hooks and can help terminate such processes.
This standalone tool offers both a GUI and a command line version and is similar to the antirootkit technology built into the Sophos Anti-Virus for Windows solution.
System Virginity Verifier, FLISTER, and KLISTER, by Joanna Rutkowska
These tools specifically look for hidden files and at various system components that might be modified by various rootkit techniques. Source code is included. Rutkowska is a well-known researcher. http://www.invisiblethings.org/tools.html
UnHackMe, from Greatis Software
While all the other listed tools are free, this tool is priced starting at $19.95 for a single license. You can view screen shots of the tool to see what it looks like and download a working demo if you're interested.
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=== SECURITY NEWS AND FEATURES
Time to Upgrade SUS to WSUS
Microsoft ceased distributing Software Update Services (SUS) August 24 and will stop delivering updates via SUS December 6. The company will no longer support SUS after the December date. For administrators who rely on SUS, it's a great time to upgrade to Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).
Big Blue to Pay $1.3 Billion for ISS
IBM announced that it has entered into a deal to buy Internet Security Systems (ISS) for $1.3 billion in cash. Upon closing of the acquisition, ISS will become a security business unit at IBM within the company's Global Services organization.
Citrix and Microsoft Team Up to Develop New Appliance
The new Citrix WANScaler appliance is aimed squarely at improving delivery of applications to branch offices and will be based on Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Internet Security and Accleration (ISA) Server to provide added security, and WANScaler technology to improve network and application performance.
Recent Security Vulnerabilities
If you subscribe to this newsletter, you also receive Security Alerts, which inform you about recently discovered security vulnerabilities. You can also find information about these discoveries at
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SECURITY MATTERS BLOG: IE Bug Worse Than Expected
by Mark Joseph Edwards, http://www.windowsitpro.com/securitymatters
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-042--Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer has now been re-released to fix an exploitable vulnerability introduced by the original patch. The vulnerability involves long URLs in conjunction with HTTP 1.1 and compression. Be sure to read the updated bulletin and apply the latest version of the patch. http://www.windowsitpro.com/Article/ArticleID/93295/93295.html
FAQ: Block IE 7.0 Installation
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Q: How can I block Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 7.0 installation via the registry?
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Managing and Reporting Security Events
CrossTec has released version 3.5 of its Activeworx Security Center event management software. The upgrade contains a new internal reporting center instead of the Crystal Reports software in previous versions (Crystal Reports will still be optional). Activeworx 3.5 lets users control parameters and schedule automated reporting tasks and comes with more than 200 new PCI, SOX, GLBA, and HIPAA reports. Integration with the Snort intrusion detection system (IDS) provides event information. Activeworx 3.5's correlation engine has been benchmarked at more than 15,000 events per second. Activeworx 3.5's console is customizable and can be modified to display the entire network or just portions of it. An Activeworx deployment starts at $2500. For more information, visit
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