I’m willing to bet that you don’t bother running any kind of security check before plugging a USB drive into your computer. That could be a mistake: research by BitDefender suggests that infections from software which automatically launches when you connect a USB drive are up significantly.
Picture by Kai Hendry
Data collected by BitDefender suggests that AutoRun-delivered infections, which spread when infected drives are plugged into a new machine, were responsible for 12 per cent of malware infections in the first quarter of this year. Any removable storage plugged into a Windows machine can potentially be a vector for this kind of infection.
BitDefender has updated its free USB Immunizer tool, which we have featured before, and which helps protect drives from AutoRun and AutoPlay exploits. As we’ve noted before, newer versions of Windows restricts AutoPlay and makes those attacks less likely. But the figures do highlight that if you are a regular user of USB drives, basic security precautions remain important, especially for those many, many Windows XP users.