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Pros of disabling autorun?


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#1 Curiousp

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 12:11 AM

I just downloaded the xp update needed to disable autorun and used fix it for microsoft that automatically disables autorun. What are the actual benefits of disabling autorun, does it really provide more protection from viruses and malware?

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#2 Didier Stevens

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 02:58 AM

Yes, it really provides more protection from some type of malware.

There is malware that uses removable drives to propagate. Each time a USB stick is inserted into a machine infected by this type of malware, the malware will "infect" the USB stick: it will write itself + autorun commands to the stick.
The result of this is that when you stick that "infected" USB stick in another Windows machine, the malware will automatically infect the other machine via the autorun feature.

This fix prevents the autorun instructions from executing, and thereby prevents the infection of the machine into which you stick the "infected" USB stick.
But of course, if you are not careful and manually execute the malware on the "infected" USB stick (for example by double-clicking it out of curiosity), this fix will not prevent the malware from infecting the machine.

Edited by Didier Stevens, 18 April 2011 - 04:17 AM.

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#3 quietman7

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 09:40 AM

Keeping Autorun enabled on flash drives has become a significant security risk as they are one of the most common infection vectors for malware which can transfer the infection to your computer. One in every eight malware attacks occurs via a USB device. To learn more about this risk, please read:Many security experts recommend you disable Autorun as a method of prevention. Microsoft recommends doing the same.Note: If using Windows 7, be aware that in order to help prevent malware from spreading, the Windows 7 engineering team made important changes and improvements to AutoPlay so that it will no longer support the AutoRun functionality for non-optical removable media.
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