Determine Your System Status
Last modified: December 8, 2022
Hosting providers and system administrators can use this document to determine whether their systems have been
root-level compromised. We also recommend that you read our Tips to Make Your Server More Secure documentation.
Rootkits allow a malicious user to gain undetected administrative access to the server. Every rootkit has at least two purposes:
- Hides the attacker.
- Grants access to the attacker.
Rootkits are difficult but not impossible to detect. Some rootkits (such as Ebury, NCOM, Shellbot, and XorDDoS) affect system libraries. These libraries run on the operating-system level, you should install them via the
These commands do not work on servers running the Ubuntu® operating system.
Check system libraries
If a library file is not owned by a package, this may indicate a possible compromised
root user. You can check whether a system library has been installed by a package with this command:
rpm -qf /path/to/libraryfile
For example, run the following command to check the package that owns the
rpm -qf /lib64/libpw5.so
The output should show that the library is owned by a package.
Check Size and Key ID of packages
If the output shows that the library is owned by a package, you should check the Size and Key ID values of the package that owns the library file and compare them to the Size and Key ID values of the same package on a known clean server. If the Size and Key ID values do not match, this may indicate a compromise. Use this command to check the Size and Key ID values of a package:
rpm -qil <package-name> | egrep 'Size|Key ID'
You must compare package versions on the same operating system. For example, you cannot compare packages between servers running the CentOS and CloudLinux™ operating system.
Check size of system library
You should also check the size of the library in question. On clean servers, the library file either does not exist or its size is 25 Kb or smaller. On servers compromised by a rootkit, the file’s size is larger than 25 Kb. You can check the size of the library file with this command:
ls -lh /path/to/libraryfile
Check timestamp on library
You can get an idea of a rootkit’s installation date via the Change timestamp from the
stat command’s output. For example, to check the timestamp on the
/lib64/libpw5.so library file, run the following command:
Then check the Change line of the output:
Check hash of library on VirusTotal
Run the sha256 hash of the library file through the VirusTotal website to check it against pre-existing scans of the same file.
For example, to generate the sha256 hash for the
/lib64/libpw5.so file, run the following command:
make note of the
sha256sum value in its output:
Then navigate to the VirusTotal website, using the following URL where
970b49c16eebd558ac8984643f3763e76a52c9be4118f9e5830b8f5c406414fc represents the
www.virustotal.com/en/file/970b49c16eebd558ac8984643f3763e76a52c9be4118f9e5830b8f5c406414fc/analysis/ The website’s output displays a list of antivirus systems that have detected this file as a compromise.
970b49c16eebd558ac8984643f3763e76a52c9be4118f9e5830b8f5c406414fcwith the actual hash from the
- The VirusTotal website does not contain results from every potentially compromised file. However, if your server is reported as
root-compromised and the report includes a link to virustotal.com, there is a very strong chance that the server is
Run the CSI script
cPanel Security Investigator (CSI) is a script that provides a variety of functions to assist with the investigation of both
root- and user-level compromises. By default, it scans for rootkits or
root-level compromises, but it can also perform user-level scans.
To perform a
root-level scan, run the following command:
/usr/local/cpanel/3rdparty/bin/perl <(curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/cPanelTechs/CSI/master/csi.pl)