Jun
26
2009

Disable Autorun.inf in USB Drive

The Microsoft Windows Operating Systems use the AUTORUN.INF file from removable drives in order to know which actions to perform when a new external storage device, such as a USB drive or CD/DVD, is inserted into the PC. The AUTORUN.INF file is a configuration file that is normally located in the root directory of removable media and contains, among other things, a reference to the icon that will be shown associated to the removable drive or volume, a description of its content and also the possibility to define a program which should be executed automatically when the unit is mounted.

The problem is that this feature, is used by malware in order to spread by infecting as soon as a new drive is inserted in a computer. The malware achieves this by copying a malicious executable in the drive and modifying the AUTORUN.INF file so that Windows opens the malicious file silently as soon as the drive is mounted.

Panda USB Vaccine is a free utility from Panda Security Research which helps prevent malware infections due to the autorun feature of Windows Operating Systems.

  • Support¬†for vaccinating¬†NTFS and FAT/FAT32 drives.
  • Configuration option during setup to automatically vaccinate any new USB drives inserted into the PC.

Two types of vaccinations:

USB Drive Vaccination or Computer Vaccination.

USB Drive Vaccination
Panda USB Vaccine can be used on individual USB drives to disable its autorun.inf file in order to prevent malware infections from spreading automatically.
Panda USBVaccine creates a AUTORUN.INF file which cannot be opened/modified/deleted from Windows. Other infected computers can still copy infected .EXE files to the USB stick, USBVaccine simply prevents the infected EXE from executing automatically.


Drawbacks

  • The write protection can be removed in WIndows only by re-formatting the USB Drive.
  • The write protection works only in Windows Operating Systems.
  • Write Protection can be easily removed by mounting the USB Drive(FAT32) in Linux Operating Systems.

Computer Vaccination

Panda USB Vaccine allows users to vaccinate their PCs in order to disable autorun completely so that no program from any USB/CD/DVD drive (regardless of whether they have been previously vaccinated or not) can auto-execute.

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About the Author: Bharat Balegere

Bharat Balegere is a 27 year old blogger from Bengaluru. He is a technology enthusiast and loves tinkering with computers and usb drives.

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