Microsoft says ‘Good riddance’ to USB Autorun

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

Here’s some good news for anyone who has been struck by auto-running malware from a USB stick in the past.

Microsoft has rolled-out an “important, non-security update” through Windows Update, changing the behaviour of Autorun when you plug a USB stick into your computer.

Not sure what Autorun is? It’s the technology which causes a program to start automatically when you insert a CD or USB stick into your Windows PC. You may have spotted the Autorun.inf files in the root directory of your USB sticks and on CDs in the past.

It may sound like a neat idea, but a lot of malware (The Conficker worm would be perhaps the most infamous example) has exploited the technology to infect computers via USB sticks in the past.

The more recent versions of Windows, like Windows Vista and Windows 7, have made changes to the way that Autorun operates and this has helped fight the spread…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

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