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Author Topic: Another good MakeUseOf.com article: Stop USB Drives from running apps on insert  (Read 5878 times)

mouser

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MakeUsOf.com continues to impress, with a consistent stream of useful and non-trivial howto articles for pc users.

Quote
USB flash drives are our personal data carriers, but the way we use it to exchange files also makes them open to viruses.

The Achilles heel which viruses exploit is the autorun.inf file. Autorun.inf file is a simple instruction file present in removable media like CDs, DVDs and USB drives.

...

We have to find ways to short circuit the automatic execution of programs (good or bad), so that a hidden malware does not penetrate our system.


MilesAhead

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That's an interesting article.  I haven't tried it myself but I wonder if it would be effective to have an empty autorun.inf marked read-only and owned by the Administrative(the real one) account?  Seems like a method that's actually on the USB key would be the best? Although I don't know enough about the file system to figure out if it can mark ownership that way(assuming you'd be plugging the thing into various Windows machines here and there.)

mouser

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i think if you have complete control over the usb drive you probably don't care much about this..

the real problem is if you ever have reason to plug *someone elses* usb drive into your pc.  that's where understanding how to prevent autorun from triggering is so damn important.

[probably one of the few scenarios described by cyberwarfare people that actually represents a real risk is the very low-tech approach of planting a virus on a usb stick along with some pictures and "losing" the usb thumbdrive somewhere on the premises of the place you want to break into.. curiousity gets the better of people who should no better, they plug in the drive to see what's on it, and it's game over]

nite_monkey

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Luckily for me, my computer hates autorun, and it won't auto start anything I plug in whether it is a cd, or a usb device. Not sure what I did to make it do that either.
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mouser

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autorun is evil and dangerous.
my view is that no one with the technical skills to read this forum should have it enabled; if you do, time to learn how to disable it.

MilesAhead

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I thought the idea was a virus would put some autorun nasty on your USB key while it was plugged in.  Then the next time you insert it, whammo!!  Like, some people leave the thing in for that ReadyBoost or RamBoost or whatever that Vista thing is that uses USB for performance enhancement.

And yeah, I usually turn off the the autostart stuff.  Although in W7 I haven't bothered because it pops up a prompt rather than going ahead and doing anything. I've been closing the dialog.  Of course that's my secondary PC so I don't use it that much anyway.  Surfing unknown sites with Sandboxie on mainly.. and testing my apps.

lanux128

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USBDLM has been mentioned several times in the forums and it is quite a comprehensive tool when it comes to thumb drives. regarding autorun, users can specify several criteria to control autorun events such as drive model, serial no, etc.

http://www.uwe-siebe...usbdlm430_help_e.htm