PCA 'How To' and Conficker

  keith mac 10:49 10 Jun 2009

I try not to be paranoid about security while at the same time trying to follow PC Advisor's advice.

In PCA, issue 169, August, there is advice for disabling AutoPlay in connection with Conficker. (page 116)

I followed the link and read Microsoft's instructions for disabling Autoplay in Vista requiring registry editing. I presume that disabling AutoPlay completely from Control Panel will not stop Conficker changing the settings?

I'm an ordinary computer user and always follow advice to stay out of the Registry unless you know what you're doing. But it seems AutoPlay can't be disabled without removing the appropriate Registry entries?

I use AVG antivirus and all MS updates are up-to-date save for Vista SP2.

Should I be concerned by Conficker?

Should I go into the Registry to change settings?

Is the creation of a Restore Point directly before making changes the required 'registry backup'?

  mooly 19:10 10 Jun 2009

If you are fully up to date and using a good security package I wouldn't worry.
If you do alter the registry creating a restore point is a wise move.
Have a look in windows own help and support in your start menu. Search under registry. That tells you how to "export" or back up and save the key you are working on.

  keith mac 20:31 10 Jun 2009

Is the creation of a Restore Point equivalent to exporting the original registry keys before making changes?

Or is there more to it? I got the impression that a System Restore brought the registry back to its former state if problems emerge - is it that simple?

  mooly 07:12 11 Jun 2009

Does it save and export all the rgistry keys ? Not 100% sure on that. I have never liked system restore, to me it's neither one thing nor the other. Yes it can help undo problems, the fact that it can be used for example, to remove troublesome updates etc shows it does more than just registry changes. The problems come later, in 3 months if you had a problem, you don't want to be restoring just parts of your system back... that's the way I look at it. I have restore points turned off, and use Acronis.
What I would do as you have Vista is use the snipping tool to take a screen shot of the keys before you alter them. Then if you are not happy you can manually alter them all back, or use the "merge" on exported keys and verify yourself that all is back as it was.

  keith mac 22:59 11 Jun 2009

Sounds like a lot of work without any obvious benefit in making any changes in the first place...

  Woolwell 15:11 12 Jun 2009

If you know where the USB sticks, DVD's and CD have come from and they have not touched an infected computer then there should not be a problem. My USB sticks are used between computers I trust and therefore I haven't disabled autorun.
IMO people get viruses becasue they haven't kept Windows up to date, don't have an up to date anti-virus program (data base updated) and click on unsafe sites, download dodgy material, open e-mails that they shouldn't and then click on things and are generally not that careful.

  keith mac 20:41 14 Jun 2009

I'm glad you've said this Woolwell - it's a situation of "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"

We're constantly being told to watch out for whatever but it's hard to know if there's a real risk if we're not getting involved in dangerous activities - like you I suspect not a risk most of the time. But just a moment's distraction might lead to an infection.

In the meantime I'll keep the global 'AutoPlay' setting unticked so I have to think about what I'm doing with anything I stick in my machine!!

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