Definition

BIOS rootkit

A BIOS rootkit is programming that exists in a system's memory hardware to enable remote administration. Rootkits may be installed for legitimate purposes, such as digital rights management (DRM) or data or device security but they may also be targets for persistent attacks. 

The BIOS (basic input/output system) is firmware that resides in memory -- rather than on the hard disk drive -- and runs while a computer boots up. Because a BIOS rootkit lives in memory, it persists not only through attempts to reflash (update) the BIOS but also through hard drive erasure or replacement. Originally, the BIOS firmware was not writeable. However, most manufacturers now use an erasable format, such as flash memory. The use of an erasable format makes BIOS updates easier but also leaves the BIOS vulnerable to online attack. A BIOS rootkit attack is an exploit in which legitimate BIOS programming is updated with malicious code.

See also: authentication, virtualization, CloudAV, blue pill rootkit, RAT (remote access Trojan)

This was last updated in February 2011
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Email Alerts

Register now to receive SearchCloudSecurity.com-related news, tips and more, delivered to your inbox.
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

More News and Tutorials

Do you have something to add to this definition? Let us know.

Send your comments to techterms@whatis.com

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: