Mark Russinovich
Russinovich at PDC 2010, October 2010
Born (1966-12-22) December 22, 1966 (age 57)
Salamanca, Spain
OccupationCTO of Microsoft Azure
Known forCo-founder of Winternals Software and; LiveKd[1]

Mark Eugene Russinovich (born December 22, 1966) is a Spanish-born American software engineer and author who serves as CTO of Microsoft Azure. He was a cofounder of software producers Winternals before Microsoft acquired it in 2006.

Early life and education

Russinovich was born in Salamanca, Spain and was raised in Birmingham, Alabama, United States, until he was 15, when he moved with his family to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father was a radiologist and his mother was a business administrator of his father's radiology practice in Pittsburgh. Russinovich is of Croatian descent.[2]

He was introduced to computers when his friend's father got an Apple II in the 1970s. He reverse-engineered its ROM program and wrote programs for it. At age 15, he bought himself his first computer, a TI-99/4A. About six months later, his parents bought him an Apple II+ from his local high school when it upgraded the computer labs to Apple IIes. He also wrote magazine articles about Apple II.[3]

In 1989, Russinovich earned his Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Beta Sigma chapter.[citation needed] The following year he received a Master of Science degree in computer engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He later returned to Carnegie Mellon, where he received a Ph.D. in computer engineering in 1994[4] with thesis titled Application-transparent fault management.[5] under the supervision of Zary Segall.


From September 1994 through February 1996 he was a research associate with the University of Oregon's computer science department. From February through September 1996 he was a developer with NuMega Technologies, where he worked on performance monitoring software for Windows NT.[6]

In 1996, he and Bryce Cogswell cofounded Winternals Software, where Russinovich served as Chief Software Architect, and the web site, where Russinovich wrote and published dozens of popular Windows administration and diagnostic utilities including Autoruns, Filemon, Regmon, Process Explorer, TCPView, and RootkitRevealer among many others.

From September 1996 through September 1997, he worked as a consulting associate at OSR Open Systems Resources, Inc., a company based in Amherst, New Hampshire. From September 1997 through March 2000, he was a research staff member at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center, researching operating system support for Web server acceleration and serving as an operating systems expert.[6]

Russinovich joined Microsoft in 2006, when it acquired Winternals Software.

In his role as an author, he is a regular contributor to TechNet Magazine and Windows IT Pro magazine (previously called Windows NT Magazine) on the subject of the Architecture of Windows 2000 and was co-author of Inside Windows 2000 (third edition). Russinovich is the author of many tools used by Windows NT and Windows 2000 kernel-mode programmers, and of the NTFS file system driver for DOS.


In 1996, Russinovich discovered that altering two values in the Windows Registry of the Workstation edition of Windows NT 4.0 would change the installation so it was recognized as a Windows NT Server and allow the installation of Microsoft BackOffice products which were licensed only for the Server edition.[7] The registry key values were guarded by a worker thread to detect tampering, and later a program called NT Tune was released to kill the monitor thread and change the values.

Russinovich wrote LiveKD, a utility included with the book Inside Windows 2000. As of 2022, the utility is readily available to download.[1]

In 2005, Russinovich discovered the Sony rootkit in Sony DRM products. Its function was to prevent users from copying their media.[6]

In January 2006, Russinovich discovered a rootkit in Norton SystemWorks by Symantec. Symantec immediately removed the rootkit.[8][9][10] He also analyzed the Windows Metafile vulnerability and concluded that it was not a deliberate backdoor.[11] This possibility had been raised – although tentatively – by Steve Gibson after a cursory investigation of the nature of the exploit and its mechanism.[12]

Russinovich's novels Zero Day (foreword by Howard Schmidt)[13] and Trojan Horse (foreword by Kevin Mitnick) were published by Thomas Dunne Books on March 15, 2011 and September 4, 2012. Both are in a series of popular techno-thrillers, that have attracted praise from industry insiders such as Mikko Hyppönen and Daniel Suarez.[13][14] A short story, "Operation Desolation"[15] was published just before Trojan Horse and takes place 1 year after the events of Zero Day. Book 3, Rogue Code: A Novel (Jeff Aiken Series, May 2014) deals with vulnerabilities of the NYSE. It has a foreword by Haim Bodek, author of The Problem of HFT: Collected Writings on High Frequency Trading & Stock Market Structure Reform.[13][16]


Computer books





  1. ^ a b "LiveKd - Windows Sysinternals". March 23, 2021.
  2. ^ Martinović, Ratko (October 28, 2012). "Loš PR u dijaspori – Koje su svjetski poznate osobe podrijetlom Hrvati, a da to niste ni znali" [Bad PR in the Diaspora – What are the world famous people of Croatian descent, and that you did not even know]. (in Croatian). Archived from the original on October 30, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  3. ^ "Interview with Mark Russinovich by Microsoft Student Partners". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
  4. ^ "Mark Russinovich". Making it Big in Software. Making it Big Careers Inc. Archived from the original on December 18, 2010. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  5. ^ Russinovich, Mark Eugene (1994). Application-transparent fault management (Thesis). ProQuest 304086659.
  6. ^ a b c "Affidavit of Mark Russinovich in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement" (PDF). United States District Court Southern District of New York. April 2, 2005.
  7. ^ Andrew Schulman (September 16, 1996). "Differences Between NT Server and Workstation Are Minimal". O'Reilly and Associates. Archived from the original on April 11, 2018. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  8. ^ Turner, Suzi (January 11, 2006). "Symantec confesses to using rootkit technology". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  9. ^ "Symantec Norton Protected Recycle Bin Exposure". Security Response. Symantec. January 10, 2006. Archived from the original on October 26, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  10. ^ Russinovich, Mark (January 16, 2006). "Rootkits in Commercial Software". Mark Russinovich's Blog. Winternals. Archived from the original on May 13, 2013. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  11. ^ Russinovich, Mark (January 19, 2006). "Inside the WMF Backdoor". Mark Russinovich's Blog. Winternals. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  12. ^ Steve Gibson (January 12, 2006). " newsgroup". Gibson Research Corporation. Archived from the original on February 21, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2007. The only conclusion that can reasonably be drawn is that this was a deliberate backdoor put into all of Microsoft's recent editions of Windows.
  13. ^ a b c Russinovich, Mark (March 15, 2011). Zero Day: A Novel. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0312612467.
  14. ^ Trojan Horse: A Novel. Thomas Dunne Books. September 4, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  15. ^ Operation Desolation: A Short Story. Thomas Dunne Books. August 7, 2012. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
  16. ^ Russinovich, Mark (2014). Rogue Code: A Novel. Jeff Aiken series. foreword by Haim Bodek (son of American physicist Arie Bodek). Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 978-1250035370. Archived from the original on November 24, 2017. Retrieved November 29, 2017.