Feeds

Disabling Windows Autorun - there's a right way and a wrong way

Redmond's Downadup protection

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

After some confusion about exactly how Windows users can protect themselves against a prolific computer worm called Downadup, Microsoft security watchers are once again reiterating the steps for disabling the Autorun feature.

Downadup has managed to infect an estimated 9 million machines at last count using multiple attack vectors. Two of those vectors are USB flash drives and mapped network drives, which are booby-trapped with files that compromise machines that are configured to automatically connect to CD and DVD drives and other types of media.

Disabling the feature has long been a good idea, as the 2005 fiasco involving the Sony rootkit made clear. Those unfortunate enough to have Autorun configured - and the feature is turned on by default - found their machines were secretly infected by digital rights management software after playing certain Sony BMG CDs on their PCs. With Downadup spreading like wildfire, disabling Autorun is an even better idea than ever.

For the low-down on exactly how that's done, head over Microsoft Knowledge Base article 953252. The May 2008 article revises an earlier Knowledge Base item that didn't completely remove the dangers inherent in Autorun.

It would appear that the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team referred to that older article when it warned the world on Wednesday that Microsoft's instructions "are not fully effective" and "could be considered a vulnerability."

The group went on to give labored instructions for changing registry settings that disable all Autorun features. We're sure they work, but we can't imagine Aunt Mildred having the slightest clue how to pull them off. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.