Feeds

Microsoft aims 'non-security' update at gaping security hole

Disabling Autorun once and for all

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Microsoft is delivering a Windows software update designed to quash once and for all the difficulty of disabling Autorun, a feature that allows the spread of malware through CDs, USB, and other removable media.

The update fixes an unspecified issue that prevents the NoDriveTypeAutoRun registry key from working as expected, Microsoft says. It comes a month after the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team called out Redmond for offering instructions on disabling Autorun that were "not fully effective."

Autorun's convenience has long been offset by the risk it poses. That's been a given since at least 2005 with the advent of the Sony rootkit fiasco, which in large part was enabled by the ability of music CDs to silently install anti-copying software on end users' machines.

In the wake of Conficker, a worm that's infected more than 10 million machines in the past three months, the stakes have never been higher. Among the vectors it uses to spread, Conficker (which also goes by the name Downadup) makes use of USB flash drives and mapped networked drives to propagate to new machines.

This week's update is the same fix that Microsoft made available here last May, so users who have already installed it (and then carried out the instructions that follow) should be safe.

Ironically, Microsoft describes the fix as a "non-security update," and it offers this explanation: "In this case, we are communicating the availability of an update that affects your ability to perform subsequent updates, including security updates. Therefore, this advisory does not address a specific security vulnerability; rather, it addresses your overall security."

We're not sure about that. What we do know is that if this update is the difference between Autorun being enabled or disabled, it will make users infinitely safer, and that can only be a good thing. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.