back to article Malware abusing Windows Autorun plummets

Microsoft saw a sharp drop in malware infections that exploit a widely abused Windows Autorun feature almost immediately after it was automatically disabled in earlier versions of the operating system. As measured by Microsoft's various antimalware programs, Windows XP and Vista suffered 1.3 million fewer infections in the …


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  1. Mage Silver badge

    Delay inexcusable

    I've been disabling Autorun on PCs since it was introduced in 1995

    And the network related SSDP / uPNP which automatically discovers a network gadget and lets it automatically install. I've never encountered any network device that absolutely needs those.

    Also WHY automatically bind MS client to EVERY network connection. Some logic in automatically doing it for cabled ethernet and LAN WiFi, but even then it should ask. Stupid binding on an ethernet port only connecting to a cable modem with no router/firewall or on a 3G /EDGE adaptor.

    1. Brian 6


      "I've been disabling Autorun on PCs since it was introduced in 1995" why dont u just stop pluging in flash drives full of malware ??

      1. Zippy the Pinhead

        @ Brian

        Ever have someone walk up and ask to use your PC for just a second so they can print a document they have on their handy little USB drive? Guess what until its plugged in and actually scanned you don't know if it has Malware on it or not.

        I've hated Autorun for years.. I have a habit of putting in a CD or DVD or a Flash drive in my PC and not needing it now but I know I will be using it later. Only to get that stupid nag screen asking me what I want to do.. You know what... I don't want you to do a damn thing until I select what I want to do with the device by Right-Clicking it!

    2. Field Commander A9
      Thumb Up

      You the SuperAdmin

      who manually configure port forwarding for every and each internet going program on each and every computer on your network.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: You the SuperAdmin

        If something from outside is going to connect to something inside (hence the port forwarding) I damn well want to know about it. There are NO exceptions to this rule.

        As for exiting my internal network, the rules are far more relaxed but still limited by the destination port and the device trying to get out (a printer has no business talking to the outside world).

        This is basic Admin stuff, there is nothing super about it.

  2. NoneSuch Silver badge


    ...cuz double clicking something is sooooooooooooooo tedious...

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Darn...

      "double clicking"? How quaint.......

      I'm firmly of the opinion that when I ask a GUI to do something, it should do it. I don't see why I should have to ask it twice.

      1. Cameron Colley


        So, you never want to move groups of files or icons around?

        Not everyone uses their computer for exactly the same tasks you know.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    The answer is 49

    [dma@foo ~]$ echo "There was a lot of work in the industry to get people moved over to new technology built into Windows, and we felt that we had finally got to that point where the industry was in agreement with us that it was time to push it out to everybody" | wc -w


    49 words to express "we couldn't be arsed"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Another marketing type that just doesn't realise that *We Recognise Bullshit!*

  4. Gary Wilson (earthgecko)

    MS breaches

    The SoDOMM communities have recently been alight with news of @LulzSec and @Anony_Ops breaches.

    However, in reality there are more exploits and breaches to user data via @microsoft then via @any_organisation_on_earth

    @timeguide wrote an article recently on "Why do we let stupid people make important decisions? " however we still deploy MS desktops ... :)

    @microsoft is responsible for more user data breaches than any other organisation on Earth, I think. No data to validate that but....

    So ... indeed why? And that is applicable to a number of questions... but back to @cloudpassage why guys must do article on them some time if you have not already.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      This isn't @@@@ing twitter you know.

      Enough with the bogus at-sign poseur styling.

      1. Neil 7


        He may have been making a very valid point but it was such a pain to read that I gave up before the end of the third paragraph and will now never know. Suspect he wasn't though, if the way he formats his comments is anything to go by.

  5. Paul RND*1000

    CD/DVD weakness

    "Windows will dutifully execute code embedded into CDs and DVDs that are inserted into computers. To date, malware criminals have shown little interest in exploiting the weakness"

    Isn't this how Sony's rootkit found its way onto numerous computers? Oh, yeah, I forgot, they're a big corporation, definitely not criminals. No sir.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      MS didn't want to...

      Stuxnet after all the hard work several governments had put into it.

      Joke icon or helicopters incoming, maybe both.

  6. SuccessCase

    I remember when first seeing HTML email in Outlook

    Yes, I'm that old. I remember it well.

    My very first thought was "wow, that's cool," and then immediate next thought "surely they won't have been so stupid as to have left JavaScript enabled."


    1. Number6

      Not just Javascript...

      Merely the fact that the URL is hidden behind the text is bad enough, "click here to log into your online banking account" is tempting to the ignorant and obviously works because the scammers keep trying it.

      Outlook improved somewhat when the feature to automatically convert all incoming email to plain text was added.

  7. Peter 39

    why? Why indeed !

    "The data raises the obvious question: If automatically retiring Autorun reaped such clear benefits, why didn't Microsoft do it years ago?"

    Because there was NO ADVANTAGE TO MICROSOFT for doing it.

    It seems that now there is, what with its previously-unassailable OS dominance under threat from various groups that no longer accept the prevalence of zero-day attacks.

    1. Brian 6

      @Peter 39

      "... previously-unassailable OS dominance....." Previously ?? So which OS is about to assail it then ??

      1. Peter 39

        paradigm shift

        contemplate "cloud" and "tablet" and you'll have a start.

        It's not so much that WIndows might be displaced on PCs, although some of that will happen. It's more that Windows PCs are no longer at the center of users' experiences.

        When the lock on the "clients" goes away, as it is now doing, then Microsoft's lock on the server-client interaction is worth much less than it previously was. You can't automatically sell Windows Server 20xx because it's the only thing that integrates "fully" with Windows "n" (n being some number such as 7, 8 etc).

        Those heady days are gone. Steve Ballmer just hasn't realized it yet.

    2. david 12

      Why, Why Indeed?

      Because auto-run was used by automatic backup devices, that automatically did a backup of your computer when you plugged them into your computer.

      And other similar applications that used auto-run as it was designed to be used.

      And disabling autorun breaks that functionality. That technology has gradually been replaced over the last couple of years.

      But why spoil a good rant when reality is too ordinary?

      1. sgtrock

        Yeah, backups. That's it! Not!

        Translation: Backup on Windows was designed wrong from the ground up!

      2. John Robson Silver badge


        Tell your machine that when it sees this UUID device (For which you can sub a readable name) that is should run a certain program with parameters.

        Preferably a program held on the PC, not the device, but it doesn't really matter if you trust your devices.

        Such a system can't be that hard (udev?) for a behemoth like Micro$oft to wrap a pretty gui round for your granny to use. Backup drive manufacturers could even interface with it..

  8. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    The purpose of Microsoft malware ...

    ... is to clog up a PC so badly that people take it back to the shop to be cleaned up or buy a new one. Although I am a complete penguin, I like to give credit where it is due. Well done Apple.

  9. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

    Anyone remember Office Macro Viruses?

    They almost entirely disappeared when Microsoft changed Office's behaviour. Viruses that depended on AutoExec and AutoOpen no longer replicated.

    The pattern? Viruses die out when the environment that supports them changes.

    I wonder how long it will take MS to really take that on board?

    1. Bilgepipe

      A long, long time

      >>> I wonder how long it will take MS to really take that on board?

      About twenty years and counting so far, with no sign of it. I thought MS was supposed to be full of geniuses, too.

      1. Big-nosed Pengie

        I thought MS was supposed to be full of geniuses, too.

        It is. But they're all marketing geniuses.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Why not earlier?

    Er, because they wanted to "encourage" users to buy a new OS, rather than making the one they had safer?

  11. Cameron Colley

    Software's still not there.

    MS have been selling the pipe-dream that software is ready for installation and use by anyone who feels like doing so -- the truth is it is not and will not be for a few years yet.

    MS, and Apple to a lesser extent, have been pretending that software is now usable and installable by people who have no knowledge or experience at all -- and the huge numbers of badly-configured computers and the large botnets are a result of that.

    1. Bilgepipe
      Thumb Up


      Computers were turned into consumer devices way, way too early.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh, I dunno

        My Commodore 64 is still virus-free

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Autorun malware = sandpeople

    ...but they'll be back...and in greater numbers....

  13. Haku

    Damn you Autorun! *shakes fist*

    They should've disabled that fecking 'feature' years and years ago.

    It's good they finally have, but that doesn't suddenly stop everyone I know's PC from doing that Johnny 5 "input! input! input!" impression when you connect a new storage device to the machine, bringing up a "ooh, what files have you got?" scanning window (or two) and then "click me now!" windows you never wanted in the first place.

    1. Patrick R

      Everyone you know's computer

      You never wanted it, but it's their computer, not yours. Step back or regret it, we know the feeling.

  14. Sam Therapy

    Oh my aching sides

    "surely they won't have been so stupid as to have left JavaScript enabled."

    Second funniest thing I've read today.

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