Microsoft disables Autorun. Surprise! Infections decrease.
July 3, 2011
Posted by on
In an attempt to reduce malware, Microsoft has finally got round to changing a default setting that tech guys around the world have been doing since autorun became available: they changed the default setting to OFF. In a blog posting from Mid June, Microsoft are doing a victory dance over the reduction in infections as a result of the change.
Autorun has been a serious security threat for several years mostly through malware spreading through flash drives and other infectable external media by automatically executing a command when the device was plugged in. There are many viruses tagged as a variant of Autorun but other top viruses mentioned by Microsoft in their report were Conficker, Rimecud, and Taterf.
When Windows 7 was rolled out, the autorun feature was already disabled but earlier this year in February a retro rollout was pushed to XP SP3 and Vista users. Malware rates for SP2 are unchanged as it is no longer a supported version. In the months following the update the amount of detected infections went down dramatically (59% less in XP and 74% in Vista) even more dramatically in those machines that were already fully patched.
Of course, the larger war against malware continues to rage, but the battle against autorun infections seems to have scored a victory, according to Microsoft.