Autorun is a function which makes the specified files or programs to start running as soon as they are connected in the USB port. Windows has included this feature in their operating systems. This option can be a trouble if it goes out of control. Lets have a look at some problems with autorun.
What is exactly Autorun?
Autorun feature uses autorun.inf file in any connected source to start executing them as soon as they are detected. Autorun.inf will contain the information about the process to carry out. This autorun.inf file will have all the information about the program to perform.
How do this Autorun worms spread?
Autorun worms will start running at each and every time the affected drive is accessed. It will then spread to similar sources when ever it gets a chance. Autorun worms will get copied to the drive itself from the root. Then it will change the context of the present autorun file to a worm.
Do Autorun worms only infect USB or thumb drives?
Autorun worms are not restricted to thumb or USB drives. It can affect any drive in a system. It can also infect to fixed drives and mapped networks.
Do Autorun worms do anything other than spreading?
It does much more damage than just spreading. It will be a worm designed to damage some part or process of a system mostly. Most commonly autorun worms used to download malware to the system or might even install a backdoor program which can leak out confidential information. Other great risk is that they will usually disable the anti virus and increases the risk level for a possible threat.
Why anti virus cannot prevent worms?
Anti virus is a good way to prevent these threats. But they are not 100 percent capable of preventing all the attacks. Main reason is that new malware programs will take some time to get identified and to create an anti virus definition for it. Malware can attack the system during this time because the anti virus will not detect the malware since no definition is available. Worst part is when it gets into the system it will disable the anti virus completely and allow even others to come inside.
How to disable Autorun through group policy editor?
Group policy editor has a bug in widows that will not allow the user to stop autorun programs completely. It has some problems. Later they released a patch to correct it though. Windows XP home edition does not have this feature at all. But in latest editions of windows such as XP and Vista, it has got special upgraded features which can be used for this purpose. It can be found in how to disable autorun section.
If I disable Autorun, will my music CDs and movies still play?
Yes this will not affect music or movie files, purely because autorun and autoplay are two completely different features. Autoplay feature does not need autorun.inf file. Windows will identify the media file typed and prompt to play them in a media player. Therefore it will not have an autorun.inf file which can be affected by worms. Even though the autorun is disabled, the autoplay will happen as usual.