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Sophos Delivers Free Rootkit Sniffer

A U.K. security firm on Wednesday posted a free-of-charge rootkit detector that Windows users can run to sniff out software designed to pull an invisibility cloak over malware.

Sophos' Anti-Rootkit program, available to both customers and non-customers, warns if removing a specific rootkit will interfere or impact an infected PC's operating system.

"Rootkits are being increasingly used by hackers to hide a variety of criminal activities, including spyware designed to steal usernames and passwords, denial-of-service attacks, and spam campaigns," said Phil Wood, Sophos product manager, in a statement. "[But] many users don't appear to know what a rootkit is, and may be oblivious to the threat. Windows users need to wise-up to the latest tricks, and have the tools in place to protect themselves."

Microsoft recently said that statistics gleaned from users of its updated-monthly Malicious Software Removal Tool indicate that 14 percent of computers, or almost 1 in 6, harbor a rootkit.

Also on Wednesday, Sophos announced the results of a recent online survey of business users, which found that a majority of 55 percent worry about rootkits infecting their companies' computers. Only 8 percent said that they weren't concerned, while over a third admitted that they didn't know what a rootkit was.

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