Definition of Bootkit

A bootkit is a type of malware that infects the initial booting process of a computer system, targeting low-level system components like the Master Boot Record (MBR) or Volume Boot Record (VBR). By infecting these components, bootkits can execute malicious code before the operating system loads, making it difficult for traditional antivirus software to detect and remove them. They allow attackers to gain unauthorized access, control and persistence on the compromised system, often for purposes like data theft and system hijacking.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Bootkit” is:/ˈbuːtkɪt/In the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), this would be voiced as:- /ˈb/: as in ‘b’ in “book”- /uː/: as in ‘oo’ in “boot”- /t/: as in ‘t’ in “top”- /k/: as in ‘c’ in “cat”- /ɪ/: as in ‘i’ in “bit”- /t/: as in ‘t’ in “top”

Key Takeaways

  1. Bootkits are advanced malware that infect the early stages of a computer’s boot process, allowing them to gain control over the system and bypass the operating system’s security features.
  2. They are particularly dangerous as they can remain undetected by traditional antivirus software and are difficult to remove, often requiring a complete reinstallation of the operating system.
  3. To protect against bootkits, users should ensure they have strong security practices in place, including keeping their operating system and software up-to-date, using strong passwords, and enabling encryption on their devices.

Importance of Bootkit

The term “Bootkit” is important in the realm of technology as it refers to a type of advanced malware that infects a system’s boot process.

By infecting the boot process, bootkits gain a high level of control and persistence over the targeted system, which enables them to remain undetected by antivirus software and other security measures.

This stealthy nature makes them particularly dangerous to users and organizations as they can compromise sensitive data, perform unauthorized activities, and cause severe damage to a system’s functionality.

Therefore, understanding bootkits and their impact on cybersecurity is crucial for developing effective strategies to counter this type of advanced threat.


A bootkit is a sophisticated type of malware designed with the primary purpose of infiltrating and maintaining persistent control over an infected system, often with the intent of stealing sensitive information or facilitating further cyberattacks. It is specifically crafted to target the Master Boot Record (MBR) orGUID Partition Table (GPT) in a device’s boot process, allowing it to load and execute malicious code before the operating system can even initiate.

By compromising the system at this crucial stage, bootkits can successfully evade typical antivirus and security software scanning, remaining stealthily concealed from the user and network administrators. Bootkits are predominantly employed by cybercriminals and hackers who aim to conduct identity theft, espionage, or to create botnets by infecting a large number of devices.

This form of malware can modify the system’s normal boot sequence, rendering the infected device a pawn in the hands of the attacker. For instance, bootkits can intercept system events, mask their presence, and selectively alter data, offering attackers exceptional control over the compromised device.

Due to their advanced nature, bootkits often demand a significant level of expertise to develop and deploy, as well as to detect and neutralize. Consequently, organizations and individuals must remain vigilant and proactive in addressing potential vulnerabilities, ensuring the integrity of their systems, and protecting their vital data from this dangerous type of attack.

Examples of Bootkit

A bootkit is a type of malicious software that infects the Master Boot Record (MBR) or Volume Boot Record (VBR) of a computer, allowing it to execute during the early stages of the boot process, before the operating system loads. This allows the bootkit to gain unauthorized access, control, or manipulate the system while evading detection by antivirus software or system security measures. Here are three real-world examples of bootkits:Stoned Bootkit: Discovered in 2009, Stoned Bootkit is a well-known example of a bootkit that infects the MBR. It is based on an older boot sector virus called “Stoned” that originated in

The modern Stoned Bootkit is capable of bypassing Windows security measures such as User Account Control (UAC) and Windows Defender, along with many antivirus programs. It can infect both 32-bit and 64-bit systems and steals personal information like stored login credentials and passwords.TDL-4: Also known as “Alureon” or “TDSS,” TDL-4 is a sophisticated bootkit discovered in

It targets Windows 32 and 64-bit systems and has evolved into a complex malware that functions as a rootkit and a backdoor. TDL-4 is distributed through various malicious websites and can evade detection by many antivirus programs. It compromises the MBR of a computer and is capable of carrying out illegal activities such as click fraud, spread further malware, and stealing sensitive information.Rovnix: Discovered in 2012, Rovnix is a bootkit that primarily targets the banking sector. It infects the VBR to gain persistent access to a system, avoiding detection by security software. Rovnix has the ability to intercept online banking credentials, redirect users to fake banking websites and perform fraudulent transactions. Moreover, it can create a botnet by connecting multiple infected systems and has also been used in combination with other malware like Carberp and Cridex.These real-world examples underline the potential damage that bootkits can cause and highlight the need for improved system security, regular updates, and user vigilance in avoiding suspicious websites or downloads.

Bootkit FAQ

1. What is a Bootkit?

A Bootkit is a type of malware that infects a computer’s boot sectors or Master Boot Record (MBR). By infecting these areas, the malware is loaded before the operating system, allowing it to maintain control and evade detection by security software.

2. How does a Bootkit infect a computer?

Bootkits typically spread through phishing emails, malicious downloads, or infected software installers. Once installed, they replace or modify the computer’s boot sectors or MBR code, enabling the Bootkit to load before the operating system.

3. Why are Bootkits difficult to detect and remove?

Bootkits are difficult to detect and remove because they infect the computer’s boot process, which occurs before the operating system and security software are loaded. As a result, the Bootkit is activated before any security software has a chance to detect it.

4. How can I protect my computer from Bootkits?

To protect your computer from Bootkits, keep your operating system and security software up to date, avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading untrusted software, and use a trusted antivirus software with boot-time scanning capabilities.

5. What steps should I take if I suspect my computer is infected with a Bootkit?

If you suspect your computer is infected with a Bootkit, disconnect it from the internet to prevent any further data theft or damage. Use a reputable antivirus or antimalware software with boot-time scanning capabilities to detect and remove the Bootkit. In some cases, it may be necessary to perform a clean installation of the operating system to ensure complete removal of the malware.

Related Technology Terms

  • Rootkit
  • UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface)
  • 3

  • BIOS (Basic Input/Output System)
  • MBR (Master Boot Record)
  • Bootloader

Sources for More Information


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