Best Rootkit Scanners for 2022

A rootkit is a dangerous and stealthy malware type that enables hackers to access your computer or other software without your knowledge. Organizations employ rootkit scanners to detect and remove rootkit malware. Read on to learn about the best rootkit scanners that are available today.

What is a Rootkit?

A rootkit is a type of malware. Essentially, it is a malicious software bundle that is designed to give unauthorized access to a computer or other software. Rootkits are difficult to detect and can hide their presence within an infected system. Moreover, threat actors can use rootkit infections to gain remote access to computer systems and data.

When rootkit malware takes hold, your system behaves as if it were a zombie computer, meaning attackers can exercise absolute control over your system remotely. As these attackers have privileged access to system files and processes, rootkit infections may also appear to be legitimate. Some of the actions available to hackers during a rootkit infection include:

  • Other malware types can be concealed.
  • Remote access to your system can be obtained.
  • Security programs can be deactivated or tampered with.
  • Data can be stolen.
  • A permanent cybersecurity backdoor into your system can be created.
  • Your privacy can be invaded.
  • Attackers can eavesdrop on you, as a rootkit infection can function as a monitoring tool.

How Do You Handle Rootkit Infections?

It is not easy to remove a rootkit infection, as they can conceal themselves within your system’s operating system (OS). It is often difficult to determine that they are even there. Once you know that you have a rootkit infection, it is crucial to employ a rootkit scanner to cure your zombie computer.

A rootkit scanner is a specialized tool that is designed to detect and remove rootkit infections from your system and also prevent them from being installed on your system in the future. Rootkit scanners search for known attack signatures and use methods such as memory dump analysis and behavioral analysis to detect the presence of rootkits.

Also read: The 13 Best Vulnerability Scanner Tools

Best Rootkit Scanners & Removers

Unfortunately, there is not a guaranteed method for recovering an infiltrated system upon the detection of rootkit malware. Ultimately, you might need to rebuild the compromised computer from the ground up to ensure the rootkit is removed. Nevertheless, here is what you should know about the best rootkit scanners and removers that are on the market today.

Avast One

Avast One rootkit scanner navigation window

Avast One is an all-in-one service that provides comprehensive protection with antivirus, device cleanup, data breach monitoring, and virtual private network (VPN) tools to help you stay private and safe from today’s ever-increasing threat landscape.

Key Differentiators

  • Avast One detects and removes rootkit infections on your system and prevents the installation of future rootkit infections before they can cause any damage.
  • The defenses of Avast One make it difficult for rootkit malware to infiltrate your system.
  • Avast One is powered by non-stop innovation to ensure the latest rootkit creations cannot access and corrupt your system.
  • Rootkit scanning and removal are available in the free version and paid versions of Avast One.
  • Other features include antivirus, ransomware protection, advanced firewall, malware prevention, malicious behavior monitoring, identity protection, advanced alerts, online privacy, and smooth performance.
  • Avast One is available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

Pricing: Avast One Essential is available for free and comes with basic features. A single Avast One Individual license can be used by up to five devices and starts at $4.19 per month, billed annually for the first year. And a single Avast One Family license can be used by up to 30 devices and starts at $5.79 per month, billed annually for the first year.

Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit Scanner

Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit scanner dashboard

Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit Scanner is a part of the Malwarebyte software package. The rootkit scanner detects and removes rootkits and provides proactive system protection.

Key Differentiators

  • You can manually scan your system for rootkits or schedule periodic scans.
  • Upon scanning your system, Malwarebytes reports on rootkit threats that were found and asks you whether you want to remove them.
  • If given the thumbs up, Malwarebytes proceeds to remove these threats, so your system, files, and privacy are secure.
  • Alternatively and preferably, you can leverage automatic, proactive protection to scan and remove rootkit malware.
  • Other features include antivirus, real-time malware protection, phishing, zero-day exploits, and ransomware protection, threat remediation, automated monthly reports, tamper prevention, etc.
  • Malwarebytes is available for Windows and macOS.

Pricing: You can download a 14-day free trial of Malwarebytes. To continue using the rootkit software after the trial period, you must upgrade to Malwarebytes for Teams ($49.99 per device per year), Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection ($69.99 per device per year), or Malwarebytes Endpoint Detection and Response ($84.99 per device per year).

Also read: Top Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) Solutions

AVG AntiVirus FREE

AVG Antivirus FREE rootkit scanning status report

AVG AntiVirus FREE is a robust rootkit scanner that detects and removes rootkit malware from your system and protects against several other threat types.

Key Differentiators

  • AVG AntiVirus FREE is quick and lightweight.
  • The rootkit software provides always-on rootkit detection and removal.
  • AVG AntiVirus FREE is constantly updated by the AVG Technologies team to keep up with the latest rootkit threats.
  • Along with rootkit detection and removal, AVG AntiVirus FREE defends your system against all malware types and other online threats.
  • AVG AntiVirus FREE is available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

Pricing: AVG AntiVirus FREE is available for free, as the name suggests.

McAfee RootkitRemover

McAfee RootkitRemover terminal scanning and removing rootkits

McAfee RootkitRemover is a stand-alone utility that detects and removes complex rootkit infections and associated malware.

Key Differentiators

  • Currently, the rootkit scanner can detect and remove Necurs, ZeroAccess, and TDSS families of rootkit malware.
  • The rootkit tool runs best in Administrator mode.
  • McAfee RootkitRemover runs a window that displays the status of the process across three stages: Initializing, Scanning, and Cleaning.
  • McAfee will add coverage for additional rootkit families in future iterations of the rootkit software.
  • The rootkit malware scanner is only available on Windows—it does not run on macOS systems, Android devices, or iOS devices.

Pricing: McAfee RootkitRemover can be downloaded and installed on your system for free.


GMER scanner and rootkit remover window

GMER is a rootkit software that detects and removes rootkit malware.

Key Differentiators

  • GMER is fast and lightweight.
  • GMER scans for hidden processes, hidden threads, hidden modules, hidden services, hidden files, hidden disk sectors (MBR), hidden Alternate Data Streams, hidden registry keys, drivers hooking SSDT, drivers hooking IDT, drivers hooking IRP calls, and inline hooks.
  • Detected hidden processes can be deleted.
  • GMER is only available on Windows.

Pricing: You can download the rootkit malware software for free.

Choosing a Rootkit Scanner

A rootkit is a collection of malicious computer software that is designed to enable unauthorized access to a computer or an area of its software. Rootkit scanners are increasingly being employed by organizations to detect and remove rootkit infections.

In this guide, we explored the best rootkit scanners that are available on the market today, although there are several other solutions on the market that are worth exploring.

We urge you to dive deeper into the offerings of the rootkit scanners detailed in this guide, compare pricing plans, and explore other plausible options on the market before purchasing a rootkit scanner for your organization.

Read next: Best Incident Response Tools and Software

Surajdeep Singh
Surajdeep Singh
Surajdeep Singh has been working as an IT and blockchain journalist since 2018. He is a contributor to publications including eSecurity Planet, IT Business Edge, Enterprise Networking Planet & Smart Billions and works as a consultant at Drofa Communications Agency.

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