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23 Aug 2006

Sophos offers free rootkit detection and removal tool

Over 50 percent of business users say rootkits are a problem

Sophos, a world leader in protecting businesses against viruses, spyware and spam, today announced the availability of a new free-of-charge, standalone tool offering comprehensive rootkit detection and removal capabilities.

Sophos Anti-Rootkit complements Sophos Anti-Virus 6.0 and other vendors' anti-virus solutions by providing an additional layer of protection for the Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 operating systems. Unlike other tools available, Sophos Anti-Rootkit warns if removal of a particular rootkit will impact upon the efficiency or integrity of the infected PC's operating system. This feature lets network administrators make an informed decision on how they want to proceed.

Sophos Anti-Rookit features an easy-to-use graphical interface

Sophos Anti-Rookit features an easy-to-use graphical interface.

A recent web poll of 335 business users, conducted by Sophos, found that 55 percent of respondents worry that a rootkit might infect their computers. A surprising 37 percent admitted to not knowing what a rootkit was.

Survey results

Do you worry about rootkits infecting your company's computers?

I don't know what a rootkit is

Rootkits are software frequently used by third parties - usually a hacker - to hide other software and processes using advanced stealth techniques. Malicious code, such as spyware and keyloggers, can be invisibly cloaked from detection by conventional security products or the operating system making them hard to detect. Hackers use rootkit technology to maintain access to a compromised computer without the user's knowledge.

"Rootkits are being increasingly used by hackers to hide a variety of criminal activities, including spyware designed to steal usernames and passwords, denial-of-service attacks, and spam campaigns. This research shows that many companies are concerned about this threat entering their corporate network," said Phil Wood, product manager at Sophos. "Meanwhile, it's a genuine concern that many users don't appear to know what a rootkit is, and may be oblivious to the threat. Windows users need to wise-up to the latest tricks being used by hackers, and ensure they have the tools in place to protect themselves."

Sophos Anti-Rootkit provides an easy-to-use graphical interface showing information on hidden system resources, including the name of any discovered rootkit and required action. Sophos's rootkit protection has been designed to identify known and unknown rootkits, and is available to download - free of charge - for non-Sophos users, as well as existing customers.

"Most reputable anti-virus software, like Sophos, can stop known rootkits before they are installed, but if a rootkit is already active on a PC it can cloak itself from view, meaning many security programs will find it almost impossible to detect," continued Wood. "Sophos Anti-Rootkit works at a low level to detect and eliminate known and unknown active rootkits, complementing Sophos Anti-Virus 6.0 to ensure that users' PCs are properly secured."

Disclaimer: Please bear in mind that this poll is not scientific and is provided for information purposes only. Sophos makes no guarantees about the accuracy of the results other than that they reflect the choices of the users who participated.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at