A newly revealed malware that has been in use since at least the beginning of this year has been dubbed a “bootkit,” for its ability to infect a computer at the most fundamental level, running when the computer boots to actually load before the operating system itself. It’s part of the widespread “Nemesis” malware suite, and while it is currently aimed at financial institutions, the inclusion of bootkit functionality in a relatively “mass market” solution means the powerful form of cyber infiltration is coming to a much wider array of victims.
The issue is that since a bootkit can load in malware programs before Windows itself loads, Windows processes have a hard time identifying malicious activity, and an even harder time removing it. Completely reinstalling the OS won’t do it — this is rather like the NSA attacks that can resist even a total format of the drive, but so far as we know those mostly at least require hardware infiltration of the target. In this case, this purely software virus can install itself behind your computers eyes, and thus never be seen.