Microsoft® disables AutoRun on Windows® XP and Windows® Vista to prevent malware infections

Autorun is an in built feature of Windows that routinely runs a program made distinct by the’autorun.inf’ file whenever a CD-ROM, USB or DVD is plugged into a computer that is Windows-based. Autorun automatically starts any installer when a media that is removable is inserted into the computer drive. Autorun has, however, become a major security risk with the increase in the number of variants of malware that can infect and cause the transfer of the virus to a computer. The infections passed on by autorun involve malware that is capable of loading the infection in to the root folders of the computer. When the removable media gets inserted in to the computer, autorun starts to look for autorun.inf and instantly executes another file to run in the user’s computer. As the drive gets infected, malware can infect the computer if the autorun does not get disabled in time. The best way of preventing such infections is to disable the autorun.

Despite the threat put on by autorun, there are users who still run Windows XP with the autorun feature. Microsoft has decided to disable the autorun feature that is found on Windows XP. This non security update is not supposed to affect the CDs or DVDs containing the autorun files and those that target the other removable media. Microsoft is making this move to try and limit the infections caused by autoRun.

The similarity that is shared by all worms is that they have a common method of propagation. Most of the infections exploit the autoplay feature of Autorun. They mostly do so by maneuvering Autorun.inf files on both the network drives as well as removable media. When a user connects, the malware gets automatically processed on the system causing infection.

Survey has shown that on an average only nine percent of users of Windows 7 have reported malware infections. Microsoft therefore has a tough task at hand to update the users who are using the older Windows XP version.

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