What are Autorun Worms? (How Do They Spread, How to Remove, How to Prevent)

Autorun Worms, which are commonly disseminated via USB devices, are a "surprise attack" that uses the Windows Auto-Run feature (autorun.inf) to execute malicious code without user knowledge when an infected device is connected to a computer. Many variants of this exploit make use of Windows' Autoplay features.

  • Usually, the danger is in the form of removable media. If an unproven media item is presented and immediately runs, there is a danger of infection.

  • Many modern operating systems disable Auto-Run by default, lowering the risk of this type of worm. Just in case, make sure you have strong endpoint security in place so that any intrusion can be prevented quickly.

  • Genuine viruses are just one of many hacker tools that include Trojan horses, spyware, and the computer worm. Malware (malicious software) may cover a range of different hacker tools, and true viruses are just one of many that include Trojan horses, spyware, and the computer worm.

W32/Autorun Worm

W32/Autorun, a highly contagious computer worm, was recently discovered infecting Windows machines. What distinguishes a worm-like W32/Autorun from a virus is that, unlike a virus, a worm does not steal data from your computer. Instead, it's built to spread quickly and expose as many security gaps as possible, allowing hackers to download another type of malware (perhaps a virus or a Trojan that targets your bank data) that will steal information, money, or both.

How Do Autorun Worms Spread?

Physical touch is how the W32/Autorun worm spreads. Connecting an infected flash drive to your computer, logging onto a shared Internet connection, or hooking into a shared external hard drive are all examples of this. The worm duplicates itself numerous times and hunts for new methods to spread whenever it infects a new machine via a shared link or device.

W32/Autorun can sneak past your computer's protection in two ways −

Windows AutoRun: A Program That Runs on Its Own

W32/AutoRun is a program that uses Microsoft's AutoRun capability. While this function was removed from Windows 8 for similar security concerns, it is still there on many older devices that haven't been updated in a long time.

When you connect a device to an earlier Windows PC that supports AutoRun, a dialogue box appears asking if you want to execute whatever is on the device automatically. As you can expect, this capacity poses a significant security concern. Users who click "run" are unaware that they have approved the W32/Autorun worm.

Victims Are Attracted to Fake Folders

Users who don't have AutoRun enabled, such as those running Windows 8, are tricked into downloading W32/Autorun by posing as interesting files and directories. When you double-click the file to open it, it's the same as if you pressed the AutoRun button–the program is run, and your machine is infected.

The worm can also modify your computer's settings to let it to execute every time you boot up, ensuring maximum effect. Some worm variants even block the machine from receiving security fixes by disabling Windows updates. This guarantees that the worm can perform its job, which is to infect any device that comes into touch with your computer and open the door to any malware that a hacker wants to install.

How to Remove Autorun Worms?

Worm:Win32/Autorun is a worm that spreads by replicating itself to an infected PC's mapped devices, which can include network or detachable drives.

When the worm infects your computer, it enumerates all of your computer's discs until a mapped drive is discovered. The worm attempts to replicate itself on the mapped disc. Worm:Win32/Autorun then creates an autorun.inf autorun configuration file that points to the worm program. The virus is automatically started when the detachable or networked disc is accessed from a computer that supports the Autorun capability.

You can take the following actions to remove the Win32/Autorun worm −

  • Step 1 − Remove Worm:Win32/Autorun Virus with Malwarebytes.

  • Step 2 − Scan for Malware and Unwanted Programs with HitmanPro.

  • Step 3 − Use Emsisoft Emergency Kit to double-check for dangerous apps.

  • Step 4 − Go back to the default settings in your browser.

How to Prevent Autorun Worms Infection

You can take the following precautions to prevent your system from getting infected by Autorun Worms −

Turn off AutoRun

If your computer continues to prompt you to start software automatically whenever you insert a CD, connect to a new Internet connection, or plug in a flash drive, it is time to update it. Go to the Microsoft website to disable AutoRun for your specific version of Windows. Using a free program like Disable AutoRun to prohibit AutoRun independent of software upgrades is the easiest solution.

Avoid Shared Removable Devices

It's important to remember that this worm is incredibly infectious. The worm can be spread to your computer if you share a flash drive with a person who has an infected PC. If you must share a device, ensure sure AutoRun is off and that your security software can scan new drives to prevent you from mistakenly clicking on infected files.

Updated on: 09-Jun-2022


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