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rkhunter (Rootkit Hunter) is a security monitoring tool for POSIX compliant systems. It scans for rootkits, and other possible vulnerabilities.

It does so by searching for the default directories (of rootkits), misconfigured permissions, hidden files, kernel modules containing suspicious strings, and comparing hashes of important files with known good ones.

It is written in Bash, to allow for portability, and can run on most UNIX-based systems.


Install the rkhunter package.


Initial setup

Prior to running RKH for the first time, You will need to update the file properties database:

$ sudo rkhunter --propupd

Important files

The main configuration file is located at: /etc/rkhunter.conf

By default, RKH places logs at: /var/log/rkhunter.log


See rkhunter(8) for a full list of options.

Note: By default, RKH requires root privileges to run.

Basic commands

Update file properties db:

$ rkhunter --propupd

Run system check:

$ rkhunter -c, --check

Useful flags

  • Update RKH after modifying the configuration file: -C, --config-check ## -C is Upper case
  • RKH will run all tests without asking for confirmation: --sk, --skip-keypress
  • Verbose Logging: --vl, --verbose-logging


False positives

See also

External documentation

Related Wikipedia pages