Feeds

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

Redmond's Downadup protection

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.