Feeds

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

Disabling Autorun once and for all

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw
Energy summit bods warned of free energy bonanza
DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned
SQLi hole was hit hard, fast, and before most admins knew it needed patching
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Mozilla releases geolocating WiFi sniffer for Android
As if the civilians who never change access point passwords will ever opt out of this one
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.