Feeds

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

Disabling Autorun once and for all

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.