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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 rkhunter for the first time, update the file properties database:

# rkhunter --propupd

Important files

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

By default, a log of the last system check will be placed at /var/log/rkhunter.log.


See rkhunter(8) for full details.

Basic commands

To update the file properties database:

# rkhunter --propupd

To run a system check:

# rkhunter --check --sk

To validate the configuration file(s):

# rkhunter --config-check


False positives

Out of the box, Rootkit Hunter will throw up some false warnings during the file properties check. This occurs because a few of the core utilities have been replaced by scripts. These warnings can be muted through white-listing:


See also

External documentation

Related Wikipedia pages