Designing BSD Rootkits

  • Joseph Kong
  • No Starch Press
  • 1593271425

I have mixed reactions on several levels to this book. You might think that part of that might be an objection to publicizing hacker information, but no, that's not so. No, my first reaction was "Why a book?". After all, there isn't really a lot to say here, and while the author does say it well, it's not hard to find similar resources on the web.

And then there's the BSD focus. Yeah, I like BSD, and so do a lot of other folks, but the audience is a bit more limited than would be for a Linux treatment of the same subject.

But what the heck: here it is, and it's a job well done. The author brings you along, step by step, from do-nothing modules to the real thing. I followed through all of it on a brand new 6.2 FreeBSD install. You can download the source from to avoid a lot of typing.

As I worked through the examples, I realized that the book's subtitle ("An Introduction to Kernel Hacking") is on the mark: this kind of thing is a great way to start learning about how the kernel works. Sure, you need the details of how things really work, but actually hacking at them is both fun and educational.

There are practical applications to this sort of thing, too. While the focus here is rootkits, and all the details they need to pay attention to, those same needs sometimes come up in legitimate work, whether it be debugging some baffing problem or just polishing a system for ease of use. And although this is BSD specific, the concepts obviously apply to any unixish system.

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