After CERT warning, Microsoft delivers AutoRun fix

Microsoft is pushing out a fix for a bug in its AutoRun feature that US-CERT has deemed a security issue.

Microsoft is pushing out a software update to some Windows users that fixes a bug in the Windows AutoRun software, used to automatically launch programs when DVDs or USB devices are introduced to the PC.

The bug fix, delivered through Microsoft's standard automatic update systems, comes one month after the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) issued a security alert warning that Windows did not properly disable AutoRun on Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003.

"Disabling AutoRun on Microsoft Windows systems can help prevent the spread of malicious code," CERT said in its advisory. "However, Microsoft's guidelines for disabling AutoRun are not fully effective, which could be considered a vulnerability."

Microsoft had said that technical users could disable AutoRun by setting a Windows Registry value called NoDriveTypeAutoRun to 0xFF. The problem was that, even with this value set, some versions of Windows would launch AutoRun programs whenever the user clicked on a device's icon using Windows Explorer.

That could mean big trouble for some users, as the widespread Conficker worm uses AutoRun to spread from USB devices to PCs.

There has been some internal debate within Microsoft as to whether Windows should enable AutoRun by default, since the software can be misused. AutoRun helped install the notorious Sony rootkit copy-protection software on users' PCs four years ago.

Although Microsoft describes its fix as a nonsecurity update, the patch "certainly does have security implications," said Ben Greenbaum, a senior research manager with Symantec Security Response. "It allows users who were expecting -- with good reason -- a certain level of protection out of the feature to actually get that level of protection."

It turns out that Microsoft had actually produced a patch for the issue, which users could download themselves, as far back as May 2008. It had also pushed out a July update that fixed the problem for Vista and Server 2008; but this fix was not automatically updated for Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003 users until Tuesday.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags certautorun

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?