Rootkits are a particularly nasty form of malware, in-so-far as once they install, they cover their tracks and make it very difficult to find them, let alone uninstall.
A case in point is the particularly nasty Win32:Popureb.E variant bootkit (so-called because it uses the master boot record (MBR) to hide itself), which Microsoft announced on their technet blog that not only is a complete reinstall of the OS necessary to remove the malware, but the MBR also needs to be fixed before the reinstall takes place, something that might be beyond the capabilities of inexperienced users.
This problem is exacerbated further due to their being no one simple process to clean the MBR, but differing processes, dependent on the operating system you are using, using either the Windows Recovery Console and BOOTREC.exe to fix the MBR or other tools, post XP (Detailed instructions here: for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7).
But what can you do to prevent rootkit infections in the first place?
- Make sure your antivirus supports rootkit detection (VIRUSfighter Pro and VIRUSfighter for Servers does)
- Be exceedingly careful what sites you visit, and what you download
- Keep your system patched when such patches are offered by the OS
- If you are unsure of how to deal with issues, hire a professional (which does not need to be expensive) to solve them for you
- Don’t “leave it” for now, hoping the problem will go away, or correct itself – it rarely does, and you are left vulnerable to further malware infection and identity theft