60% new laptops vulnerable to new form of rootkit!
In a scary research paper from Core Security Technologies, it was discovered that 60% of new laptops – specifically those that use the CompuTrace ‘lowjack’ in order to phone home and check if your laptop has been stolen – are vulnerable to a rootkit (a piece of software that runs in the background of the computer, has complete control of your computer – even to the point which it can cloak itself from being detected). Because the CompuTrace rootkit is a legitimate piece of software, most it is on the white-list for most anti-virus products, meaning that anti-virus software ignores any changes it makes to your computer.
For the more technical minded, the CompuTrace lowjack is much more serious than the average rootkits (which are bad enough as it is), due to the fact that it operates at the BIOS level). This results in viruses that target vulnerabilities in this rootkit having ABSOLUTE control over anything that your computer does. In addition, where most rootkits can be removed by reinstalling your computer or reformatting your hard drive, because this virus can hide in the BIOS, it can just keep coming back, and can even survive attempts to reboot or reflash the computers BIOS.
Affected laptops include HP, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, Gateway, Asus, Panasonic, plus many more. Article first heard on SDRNews 2009-08-03