Malware comes in many different types. When most people think of malware, they envision computer viruses and worms. But there are other types of malware that can infect your devices, including bootkit malware. Bootkit malware is particularly harmful. While it doesn’t spread like a virus, it poses other concerns. Below are five facts about bootkit malware.
#1) Targets the Master Boot Record
Bootkit malware is characterized by its ability to target the master boot record of devices. The master boot record, of course, is the first sector of a given storage drive. When you initially start your computer, the master boot record will load. The master boot record will then load the operating system so that you can use your computer. All computers have a master boot record. Malware that targets the master boot record is known as bootkit malware.
#2) Difficult to Detect
Because it targets the master boot record, bootkit malware is difficult to detect. Operating systems have their own safeguards to protect against malware infections. Unfortunately, these safeguards aren’t enough to neutralize bootkit malware. Bootkit malware targets the master boot record, which comes before the operating system. Therefore, operating systems are typically unable to detect it.
#3) A Type of Rootkit Malware
Bootkit malware is classified as a type of rootkit malware. Like all rootkit malware, it provides access to an infected device — typically while going unnoticed by the victim. If your computer is infected with rootkit malware, you probably won’t notice it. It will reside on your computer’s master boot record where it gives the hacker access to your computer. There are other types of rootkit malware, but rootkit malware is particularly troubling due to its ability to target the master boot record.
#4) Been Around for Decades
Contrary to what some people believe, bootkit malware isn’t a new type of malware. It’s actually been around for several decades. During the 1980s and 90s, for instance, bootkit malware was spread with floppy disks. It was placed on floppy disks. When a victim loaded an infected floppy disk, he or she would unknowingly spread the infection to a computer. Floppy disks have since become obsolete, but bootkit malware remains.
#5) Not Immune to Antivirus Software
It may be difficult to detect, but antivirus software can still catch and remove bootkit malware. There are antivirus products available that offer rootkit scans. They don’t just scan storage drives. Rather, they are able to scan master boot records, thus revealing the presence of bootkit malware. If you think your computer is infected with bootkit malware, you should perform a rootkit scan with the appropriate antivirus software.