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I use Avast as my antivirus. Yesterday while using my system, an Avast popup came up saying 'a suspicious rootkit has been found'. Avast suggested to delete it and I did so. Normally when Avast finds a virus, it recommends to fix the issue automatically. But in this case it recommended to delete the rootkit.

So, what is a rootkit ? I have heard about virus, malware, spyware, trojan etc. But rootkit is new to me.

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What does your research tell you? What have you found and where did you find the explanations lacking? – slhck Apr 14 '14 at 14:11
Note that virus/worm/trojan refer to how the malware replicates itself to other systems, not what it does. rootkits are by definition trojans. they can be installed by a virus/worm, but do not replicate. Think of rootkit the way you would password-stealer/keylogger/botnet malware. its not about how it spreads, its about what it does when installed on a singular system. – Frank Thomas Apr 14 '14 at 14:59
up vote 1 down vote accepted

A perfect rootkit embeds itself within the kernel (before your operating system), so it can operate with full permissions without restriction, and better yet, hide itself.

It's malware, but more sophisticated than your average malware due to its ability to manipulate the OS by embedding itself within the kernel.

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