Malware Report: Attacks Stem from USB Devices

Wednesday, December 8, 2010 @ 05:12 PM gHale

From the mighty blast of Stuxnet to just an everyday cyber infection, it is abundantly clear USB flash drives pose a great danger to a system. Along those lines, that is why a new report emanating from Europe reinforces that concept as one in every eight malware attacks occurs via a USB device, often targeting the Windows AutoRun function, according to a new report.
Czech security vendor Avast Software reported of the 700,000 recorded attacks on computers in its user community during the last week of October, 13.5% came via USB devices such as flash drives.
AutoRun alerts computer users when a new device is connected and helps them choose which application should run the new files.
AutoRun is useful, but it can also spread more than two-thirds of current malware, said Avast virus analyst Jan Sirmer. Cyber criminals are taking advantage of people who use USB flash drives to share large files with friends or transfer files at their workplaces, Sirmer said.
Infected USB devices start executable files that invite a wide array of malware into host computers. The incoming malware copies itself into Windows and can replicate itself each time the computer starts.
Avast urged users not to boot up PCs that already have USB devices attached, because the malware will load before some antivirus programs do.