Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Protect your external disks from worms

If you often plug your external disks or flash drives in different machines, you may help spread those pesky worms around. Worms often spreads itself in a machine or an external disk when you double-click on a drive.

This is due to a hidden file called autorun.inf that is triggered when double-clicking a drive in Explorer. This file contains a batch process that usually copies itself and other files (.vbs, .dll, etc.) into the machine it's connected to.

To protect your disks from worms, a simple trick is to create your own autorun.inf and set it to read-only so that it cannot be modified by infected machines. Here's a short guide on how to create one.

  1. In Explorer, go to the root directory of your external disk
  2. You need to have an icon file (.ico) in that directory. If you don't know where to get one, InterfaceLift is a nice place to start.
  3. Right-click > New > Text Document to create a text file
  4. Type [autorun] then press Enter
  5. Type icon=(filename of your icon, e.g. myicon.ico)
  6. Save your file as autorun.inf
  7. Right-Click > Properties
  8. Check the Read-only box and click Ok
That's all there is to it. You can also choose to set the property of your files to hidden.

Now stop spreading those worms.

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