PandaLabs has detected an alarming increase in the amount of malicious code using rootkit techniques. In 2006 there was a 62 percent annual increase and the forecast for 2007 is equally pessimistic. Given that in the first two months of the year the laboratory has already detected almost 25 percent of last year’s total, the overall increase this year is expected to be around 40 percent.
Rootkits are programs that use stealth techniques to prevent malicious code from being detected by security and system administration software. As it is hidden, the malicious code can then act with complete impunity. Rootkits can also hide processes, files and even modifications to the Windows registry.
February’s ranking of the most dangerous threats includes three malicious codes that use these techniques: Bagle.HX, Abwiz.A and the highly dangerous Nurech.A.