For anyone worried about Windows autorun exploits, security company Panda has come up with a utility that turns the function off.

There is, of course, a manual way to do this by delving into the registry using Regedit, but this seems simpler and less fraught with unwanted side effects. It also makes it easy to turn autorun ‘back on' should that prove necessary. Alternatively, it allows the same control over a single USB drive letter.

(Note, Panda asks for an opt out on marketing emails and takes people's email addresses, so be prepared for that.)

Autorun is used in a growing number of attacks - most recently the downadup worm of a few weeks ago - which exploit Windows' willingness to run executables automatically and without user intervention. Once upon a time, this feature was hailed as being helpful by Windows watchers.

There is also speculation that Conficker, which executes whatever it does or does not do on 1 April, will use this technique to spread itself. Some admins will have disabled autorun a long time ago to stop boneheaded software installs, but now might be the time to check it out if you haven't.