Threat Level: green Handler on Duty: Xavier Mertens

SANS ISC: Windows Autorun Part-2 - SANS Internet Storm Center SANS ISC InfoSec Forums

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Windows Autorun Part-2

In previous diary I talked about startup folders and shell folders registry keys. In this diary I will continue talking about how to check if you are suspecting something malware or a compromised system.

2-Run and RunOnce registry key:




Any executable in the above registry keys will start during the system startup, the different between Run and RunOnce is that RunOnce will run the value for one time then it will be deleted ,while Run it will run every time that the system startup.




The above keys is related to specific user login, again the different between Run and RunOnce is RunOnce will run one time the the value will be deleted while run will be run every time that the specific user log on.

3- Services



Here you can find the list of services that run at system startup, each service has a startup value as the following table:



Startup Type







 4-Schedule tasks:

Schedule task can be used to run a executable based on a schedule .The task are located in %windir%/tasks folder,of course attacker and malware will not use task name such as ‘I am malicious’ instead it will use some names that sound legitimate such ‘Windows Update’ .  



56 Posts
ISC Handler
Or if you're not masochistic, just use Sysinternals Autoruns.
11 Posts Posts
LOL. I wish I could "Like" this comment.
It's amazing how the writer makes the subject matter much more complicated than it should be.
This is an article for 1999....maybe.
1 Posts Posts
Not everyone here is an experienced admin. It is useful to understand the basics behind tools like those provided by sysinternals. We want to foster programming skills in school children, showing them that it is possible to understand what goes into creating higher level programs. The same is true for system administrators and forensic examiners--we need to know the basics that underlie the higher level tools. I see nothing wrong with the original article, and I concur that providing the link to the sysinternals tool is a helpful addition.

5 Posts Posts
I don't think the author is saying don't use Autoruns when possible, but trying explain the ASEPs, since there are quite a few times you will encounter those ASEPs in other software during an exam and need to know what you're looking at.
15 Posts Posts
Quoting Anonymous:I don't think the author is saying don't use Autoruns when possible, but trying explain the ASEPs

It makes sense. Autoruns is a great tool. There will be situations where you can't use the great tool; for example, understanding some things to look for in the potential analysis of an executible. You may fare better, if you know the auto start entry points.

That said.... there are a bunch of things Autoruns checks, that the author has not mentioned so far -- such as file signatures (Is the program executable being started... what you think it is, or has it been tampered with?). Autoruns also checks Shell Extensions and browser extensions that can be used to "auto start" a task, also; and Win Login notifications, Sidebar gadgets as well, Network Providers, LSA Providers, Print Monitors, Winsock LSPs, Codecs, Boot Exec.

So Autostarts is more comprehensive than the guide so far, which is just a sampling... you'll need more research

For example:
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Notify
HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Browser Helper Objects
HKLM\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components

146 Posts Posts
Basic stuff that hasn't gone away should be repeated out of respect of new readers - and because we tend to forget that keeping it simple works for malware authors too... My suggestion is that if you have read this before you should use Comments to add insights and additional tips to the diary!

ISC has multiple diary entries that could have been referenced, the search box helps a lot. A suggestion could be to add a link to search into the Diary;


PS: I just wanted to remind everyone that there are cases where entries hide from Windows Registry editor - SysInternals AutoRuns or scripts can help you find those.. will list all Run entries and alert of those "hiding" on purpose or by accident.

PPS: Microsoft may have fixed the issue of not showing long entries - but I am not aware of this change.

66 Posts Posts
Yes, I think it is good that this site has info for the new folks as well as for the hardened cynical pro's ;-)

88 Posts Posts
Wish Autoruns would be able to detect an ASEP in the WMI database, ala Syndicasec

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