Rootkit attacks continue to propagate at a rapid pace, according to new figures released by security vendor Prevx. More than 725,000 PCs were scanned using the Prevx CSI malware scanner over a two-month period. While some 15.6 percent of the PCs involved in the test had been exploited by one type of rootkit or another during October, that figure rose to 22 percent by early December.

When used maliciously rootkits can allow an attacker to remotely monitor, record, modify, steal and transfer any information entered or stored on a user’s computer. While rootkits are nothing new and have been in circulation for years, Prevx claims that “the rise of the rootkits has begun” as they are increasingly being used by malware coders to help them maintain access to systems while avoiding detection.

Prevx claims both detection and removal of rootkits are “well beyond the capabilities of traditional antivirus, anti-spyware and so called internet security suites.” Whether or not this is just a fear-based marketing strategy to sell more software is up to debate. In any case, a free version of the company’s scanning application can be found here.