Feeds

Microsoft purges AutoRun from older Windows

Still (woefully) incomplete

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Microsoft has finally removed a function from earlier versions of its Windows operating system that has been widely abused by miscreants to surreptitiously install malware on users' computers.

The feature, known as AutoRun, allows Windows machines to automatically execute certain programs - such as media players or installers - as soon as CDs, flash drive,s and other types of media are connected. While that saves users the hassle of having to open a folder and doubleclick on a file, it also makes it easy for criminals to spread malicious payloads.

On Friday, Microsoft announced the availability of updates to the XP, Server 2003, Vista and Server 2008 versions of Windows that removes the AutoRun popup window when some types of removable media is connected. The change doesn't affect optical media such as CDs and DVDs, a shortcoming we'll get to in a moment.

The company made similar changes in April when it introduced Release Candidate 1 of Windows 7. Microsoft said at the time the move was designed to thwart the spread of worms such as Conficker, which has proved especially adept at self-replicating by exploiting the weakness.

As we pointed out then, the move is a step in the right direction, but it doesn't go far enough. That's because certain types of removable drives - those made by U3, for instance - run firmware that advertises the device to Windows as a CD. Such drives will continue to automatically execute the AutoRun routine as soon as they're plugged in.

The new updates are available here. But as we've said before, given the large number of devices that are unaffected by this change, we'll continue to disable AutoRun altogether. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
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?