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  • Microsoft finally makes it possible to disable Autorun

    Posted on March 5th, 2009 at 20:55 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The latest Windows Secrets Newsletter just hit the stands, and Susan Bradley’s lead article, AutoRun patch a long time coming for XP users, finally nails the topic of turning off AutoRun.

    Managing AutoRun has become a #1 hot topic precisely because the Conficker worm can use AutoRun to propagate via USB drives.

    So Microsoft posts a $250,000 bounty for information leading to the arrest of the cretins who created Conficker. Two weeks later – after waiting 18 months – MS patches one of Conficker’s simplest infection vectors.

    Something does not compute.

    Microsoft has a patch out now that lets everybody running Windows XP or later truly disable AutoRun. It’s KB article 953252 for Vista and KB article 967715 for WinXP, 2000, and Server 2003. I’ve heard that there are some minor problems with the patch being offered multiple times on the same machine, but there don’t appear to be any significant hassles.

    I like Susan’s advice:

    For home users, I’m not yet ready to pull the fire alarm and tell everyone to disable AutoRun. But I do urge you to be very leery of plugging USB flash drives into your system if you’re unsure whether they’ve been used on other computers. Large organizations, however, should consider disabling AutoRun on their networked PCs, considering how hard it’s been to stomp out the Conficker worm and others.

    Follow Susan’s detailed explanation if you really want to make it impossible for renegade USB drives (or CDs or SD cards or…) to infect your computer as soon as they’re inserted.

    Good article. Check it out.

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