Disabling AutoRun/AutoPlay using Control Panel in Windows 7
One of the most prolific spreading tools for e-threats, such as Trojans or viruses, relies on the exploitation of a simple, but, for cybercriminals’ purposes, very effective feature of the Microsoft® operation system, called AutoRun and/or AutoPlay.
AutoRun/AutoPlay allows the initiation or execution of several actions, such as to play the audio/video content in the appropriate player or to launch particular software, namely a setup routine, when CDs, DVDs, USB sticks and flash drives or portable HDDs are inserted or plugged in.
This innocent behavior can be “hijacked” towards malicious purposes, via the corruption of the files that actually store the information required by the operating system to read the media content or perform a suite of actions. Thus, instead of just reading a Word document, playing a movie that is stored on a DVD or opening the initial panel for setting up an application, the user could involuntarily trigger a concealed piece of malware that steals his or her sensitive data, such as usernames, passwords or address book entries, records key strokes and sends details about his or her on-line transactions, namely credit card numbers, or opens the door to even more unwanted e-threats.
According to our latest E-Threats Landscape Report , AutoRun feature ranks among the Top 10 Malware Dissemination Methods, being accountable for 5.22% of the total amount of infections worldwide. Part of the current Downadup or Conficker worm pandemic was actually carried away via intermediary variants that exploited this specific feature.
To protect your system and data and to prevent malware infections, there are several ways to disable the AutoRun/AutoPlay feature.
Disabling AutoRun/AutoPlay using Control Panel
1. Choose Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > AutoPlay.
The AutoPlay window opens.
2. Uncheck Use AutoPlay for all media and devices option.
From the media content drop-down lists, choose Take no action.
3. Click Save.
Disabling AutoRun/AutoPlay using Policy Editor
1. Click Start.
2. In the Search programs and files box, type gpedit.msc.
The Local Group Policies Editor displays.
3. In the left pane hierarchy, browse to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > AutoPlay Policies.
4. In the AutoPlay Policies right window, from the Settings list choose Turn off Autoplay.
5. Click Edit policy setting.
The Turn off Autoplay window opens.
6. From the upper-left list, choose Enabled.
7. From the lower-left drop-down list of Options choose All drives.
8. Click Apply.
9. Click OK.
Entry filed under: Windows Vista.