Adversaries may use rootkits to hide the presence of programs, files, network connections, services, drivers, and other system components. Rootkits are programs that hide the existence of malware by intercepting/hooking and modifying operating system API calls that supply system information. [1]

Rootkits or rootkit enabling functionality may reside at the user or kernel level in the operating system or lower, to include a hypervisor, Master Boot Record, or System Firmware. [2] Rootkits have been seen for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X systems. [3] [4]

ID: T1014
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Tactic: Defense Evasion
Platforms: Linux, Windows, macOS
Permissions Required: Administrator, SYSTEM, root
Defense Bypassed: Anti-virus, Application control, Application control by file name or path, File monitoring, Host intrusion prevention systems, Signature-based detection, System access controls
Version: 1.1
Created: 31 May 2017
Last Modified: 20 June 2020

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0007 APT28

APT28 has used a UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) rootkit known as LoJax.[5][6]

G0096 APT41

APT41 deployed rootkits on Linux systems.[7][8]

S0484 Carberp

Carberp has used user mode rootkit techniques to remain hidden on the system.[9]

S0572 Caterpillar WebShell

Caterpillar WebShell has a module to use a rootkit on a system.[10]

S0502 Drovorub

Drovorub has used a kernel module rootkit to hide processes, files, executables, and network artifacts from user space view.[11]

S0377 Ebury

Ebury has used user mode rootkit techniques to remain hidden on the system.[12]

S0047 Hacking Team UEFI Rootkit

Hacking Team UEFI Rootkit is a UEFI BIOS rootkit developed by the company Hacking Team to persist remote access software on some targeted systems.[13]

S0394 HiddenWasp

HiddenWasp uses a rootkit to hook and implement functions on the system.[14]


HIDEDRV is a rootkit that hides certain operating system artifacts.[15]

S0009 Hikit

Hikit is a Rootkit that has been used by Axiom.[16] [17]

S0601 Hildegard

Hildegard has modified /etc/ to overwrite readdir() and readdir64().[18]


HTRAN can install a rootkit to hide network connections from the host OS.[19]

S0397 LoJax

LoJax is a UEFI BIOS rootkit deployed to persist remote access software on some targeted systems.[6]

S0012 PoisonIvy

PoisonIvy starts a rootkit from a malicious file dropped to disk.[20]

S0458 Ramsay

Ramsay has included a rootkit to evade defenses.[21]

G0106 Rocke

Rocke has modified /etc/ to hook libc functions in order to hide the installed dropper and mining software in process lists.[22]

S0468 Skidmap

Skidmap is a kernel-mode rootkit that has the ability to hook system calls to hide specific files and fake network and CPU-related statistics to make the CPU load of the infected machine always appear low.[23]

S0603 Stuxnet

Stuxnet uses a Windows rootkit to mask its binaries and other relevant files.[24]

G0139 TeamTNT

TeamTNT has used the open-source rootkit Diamorphine to hide cryptocurrency mining activities on the machine.[25]

S0221 Umbreon

Umbreon hides from defenders by hooking libc function calls, hiding artifacts that would reveal its presence, such as the user account it creates to provide access and undermining strace, a tool often used to identify malware.[26]

S0022 Uroburos

Uroburos is a rootkit used by Turla.[27]

S0670 WarzoneRAT

WarzoneRAT can include a rootkit to hide processes, files, and startup.[28]

S0430 Winnti for Linux

Winnti for Linux has used a modified copy of the open-source userland rootkit Azazel, named, to hide the malware's operations and network activity.[29]

G0044 Winnti Group

Winnti Group used a rootkit to modify typical server functionality.[30]

S0027 Zeroaccess

Zeroaccess is a kernel-mode rootkit.[31]


This type of attack technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on the abuse of system features.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0016 Drive Drive Modification
DS0022 File File Modification
DS0001 Firmware Firmware Modification

Some rootkit protections may be built into anti-virus or operating system software. There are dedicated rootkit detection tools that look for specific types of rootkit behavior. Monitor for the existence of unrecognized DLLs, devices, services, and changes to the MBR. [2]


  1. Symantec. (n.d.). Windows Rootkit Overview. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  2. Wikipedia. (2016, June 1). Rootkit. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  3. Kurtz, G. (2012, November 19). HTTP iframe Injecting Linux Rootkit. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  4. Pan, M., Tsai, S. (2014). You can’t see me: A Mac OS X Rootkit uses the tricks you haven't known yet. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  5. Symantec Security Response. (2018, October 04). APT28: New Espionage Operations Target Military and Government Organizations. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  6. ESET. (2018, September). LOJAX First UEFI rootkit found in the wild, courtesy of the Sednit group. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  7. Fraser, N., et al. (2019, August 7). Double DragonAPT41, a dual espionage and cyber crime operation APT41. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  8. Crowdstrike. (2020, March 2). 2020 Global Threat Report. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  9. Giuliani, M., Allievi, A. (2011, February 28). Carberp - a modular information stealing trojan. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  10. ClearSky Cyber Security. (2021, January). “Lebanese Cedar” APT Global Lebanese Espionage Campaign Leveraging Web Servers. Retrieved February 10, 2021.
  11. NSA/FBI. (2020, August). Russian GRU 85th GTsSS Deploys Previously Undisclosed Drovorub Malware. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  12. Vachon, F. (2017, October 30). Windigo Still not Windigone: An Ebury Update . Retrieved February 10, 2021.
  13. Lin, P. (2015, July 13). Hacking Team Uses UEFI BIOS Rootkit to Keep RCS 9 Agent in Target Systems. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  14. Sanmillan, I. (2019, May 29). HiddenWasp Malware Stings Targeted Linux Systems. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  15. ESET. (2016, October). En Route with Sednit - Part 3: A Mysterious Downloader. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  16. Glyer, C., Kazanciyan, R. (2012, August 20). The “Hikit” Rootkit: Advanced and Persistent Attack Techniques (Part 1). Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  1. Glyer, C., Kazanciyan, R. (2012, August 22). The “Hikit” Rootkit: Advanced and Persistent Attack Techniques (Part 2). Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  2. Chen, J. et al. (2021, February 3). Hildegard: New TeamTNT Cryptojacking Malware Targeting Kubernetes. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  3. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (CCCS), the New Zealand National Cyber Security Centre (NZ NCSC), CERT New Zealand, the UK National Cyber Security Centre (UK NCSC) and the US National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC). (2018, October 11). Joint report on publicly available hacking tools. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  4. Hayashi, K. (2005, August 18). Backdoor.Darkmoon. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  5. Sanmillan, I.. (2020, May 13). Ramsay: A cyber‑espionage toolkit tailored for air‑gapped networks. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  6. Anomali Labs. (2019, March 15). Rocke Evolves Its Arsenal With a New Malware Family Written in Golang. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  7. Remillano, A., Urbanec, J. (2019, September 19). Skidmap Linux Malware Uses Rootkit Capabilities to Hide Cryptocurrency-Mining Payload. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  8. Nicolas Falliere, Liam O. Murchu, Eric Chien. (2011, February). W32.Stuxnet Dossier. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  9. Fiser, D. Oliveira, A. (n.d.). Tracking the Activities of TeamTNT A Closer Look at a Cloud-Focused Malicious Actor Group. Retrieved September 22, 2021.
  10. Fernando Mercês. (2016, September 5). Pokémon-themed Umbreon Linux Rootkit Hits x86, ARM Systems. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  11. Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis Team. (2014, August 7). The Epic Turla Operation: Solving some of the mysteries of Snake/Uroburos. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  12. Harakhavik, Y. (2020, February 3). Warzone: Behind the enemy lines. Retrieved December 17, 2021.
  13. Chronicle Blog. (2019, May 15). Winnti: More than just Windows and Gates. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  14. Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis Team. (2013, April 11). Winnti. More than just a game. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  15. Wyke, J. (2012, April). ZeroAccess. Retrieved July 18, 2016.