USB Virus/Autorun Virus Identification

Posted on October 13, 2008. Filed under: Viruses | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The most common form of virus today in college campuses, companies, file-sharing cirlces, and other institutions is the sticky USB pen drive virus.

Virus targets —> USB:\autorun.inf

Virus slows —> The startup of Windows.

Virus stays —> In ‘%windir%\system32\’ (%windir% stands for windows directory eg: ‘c:\WINDOWS’). This is the most common and safest place for the viruses.

Virus hides —> My Computer > Menu Bar > Tools > Folder options (so that the user will not be able to un-hide hidden and system files, so that the viruses won’t get exposed to the user)

Virus denies —> Access to Task Manager, regedit.exe, msconfig(start up configurations), and other admin utilities saying “you don’t have admin privileges” or something like that, even if you are the admin. Also denies the right click & open(and then, you double click, which activates the autorun virus) of the USB drive via explorer, and won’t allow formatting of the drive.

Virus names —> Itself as a camouflaged program that resemble a legitimate Windows process. For example ‘System’ (which is a real windows core process). The virus is named ‘system.exe’ and stores itself in ‘%windir%\system32\’. The fact is, for a common Windows XP user, there is no such program named ‘system.exe’ in ‘%windir%\system32\’ or ‘%windir%’ itself. This virus can be seen running in task manager(ctrl-alt-del) as ‘system.exe‘, alongside the real Windows process named ‘System‘ that has a constant PID 4 with the User Name SYSTEM instead of the real user account name, say jais. Another disguised program that i recently ‘End Process’ed calls itself ‘explorcr.exe’ to resemble the actual XP desktop process named ‘explorer.exe’. There are also stupid and random-letter virus names like bad1.exe, bad2.exe, bad3.exe, dfjhw.exe, uwnwef.exe . So keep a watch on the task manager’s process list.

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The ‘Open with’ problem

Posted on May 24, 2008. Filed under: Viruses | Tags: , , , , , , |

Most of you would have had bad luck when connecting USB pen-drives or CDs. These storage mediums may carry viruses that get activated via the autorun functionality in Windows. Some of these viruses also store autorun files in the system’s local drives. This results in popping up the open with dialog box when you double click the drive icons. Also explore might not function. A virus that i got recently from my USB is such that it stores autoruns in all drives. Also, I couldnt change the ‘view hidden files‘ setting in folder options. After applying the setting, nothing happens; when i go to folder options again, the setting is back to ‘do not show hidden files‘. The removal of autoruns is simple from read-write drives (not possible in CDROMs/DVD ROMs). All you have to do is run command prompt. Go to the root of the unaccessible drive, type the following and press enter. But before that you will have to end the process named explorer.exe from task-manager or command line.

del /a:h /f c:\autorun.*

Where, c:\autorun.* means all files that are named autorun with any extension in drive c: to be deleted. The command deletes the files even if they are hidden, even if it has to be forced. Now run the explorer.exe from task-manager. And all is well. For ease, i have created a batch file for cleaning all local drives in an instant by double clicking the .bat file. It is given below.

echo off
echo Deleting autoruns in C,D,E,F…
taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
del /a:h /f c:\autorun.*
del /a:h /f d:\autorun.*
del /a:h /f e:\autorun.*
del /a:h /f f:\autorun.*
start explorer

I would recommend disabling autoruns completely. But if that feels too restrictive, you can always bypass autoruns by holding down the shift key while connecting USB device or closing the CD tray with CD.

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