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AutoIt and Malware: Compile or just run scripts with AutoIt3.exe?

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Hello Everyone!

Now that I've decided to begin using AutoIt as my standard template "wrapper" for deploying software and automating changes on computers within my work environment, I want to ask the community whether you think I should deploy my software packages as compiled executables, or should I just include the main AutoIt executables (AutoIt3.exe & AutoIt3_x64.exe) and then call the software package in my software deployment solution via the command-line (for example: AutoIt3.exe Flash-11.6.au3)?

The primary reason for this question is based on the AutoIt and Malware link on the AutoIt Wiki. While, AutoIt executables are not currently being flagged as false positives by our current Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware solution, I'm concerned about the potential scenario where a false positive occurring again at any time in the future (for any number of reasons) disabling all software deployments within our company because I've chose to use compiled AutoIt scripts for my standard deployment mechanism.

What are your thoughts?

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Hi, TXTechie. Besides AutoIt, what method of deployment are you using (Altiris, SCCM, A.D., etc.)? I always always always suggest you take the time to repackage applications into MSI format, as it gives you much more flexibility with the install. Beyond that, however, it really depends on the method of deployment.

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Hi JLogan3o13,

Well, I've been in Systems Management (software packaging and deployments) for 14+ years now and there are two primary methods for software packaging and deployments: 1) drive the installation using the native installer and 2) repackaging everything to Microsoft's Windows Installer (MSI) technology. I am in the 1) camp, so I create a script "wrapper" to drive the native installer (whether legacy or MSI) and then automate any other desired post-installation configurations as desired.

So, since I don't use Flexera Software's InstallShield tools - I've been deploying software using a script as a wrapper (currently VBScript, but I've decided to switch to AutoIt). This is why I'm asking the question.

My company uses CA Software Delivery as our software deployment solution (I have previously used Microsoft's SMS [now SCCM], Novell ZenWorks, what used to be called Marimba, but is now BMC BladeLogic Client Automation and Dell's KACE KBOX).

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If you have access to your company's antivirus software on the server level, you can whitelist the installation location of your software.

Also, I have found that compiling with options and unchecking UPX compression reduces false positives.

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My experience "in the wild" with home pcs and having to deal with multiple Antivirus products with multiple configurations is you can't trust them not to kill AutoIt programs.

As you (unlike I) have control of your environment,

Why not install "AutoIt3.exe" somewhere permanently on your computers.

Then associate "a3x" with "AutoIt3.exe".

That way you don't have to bundle AutoIt3 with everything, you avoid the possibility of false positives completely and the AutoIt program (a3x) isn't plain text visible.

Just my 2c worth.

John Morrison

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abberration - The problem is the location of the deployed software will be different and growing, I don't want that management nightmare. I thought that I had read another post here in the forums stating that using any other setting except for the default UPX compression setting of Normal would change the file attributes of the default AutoIt compiled executable - is this true?

storme - Since I am also the person in control of the standard workstation clone image, I have thought about including the AutoIt3_x64.exe on our standard Win7 (64-bit) image build - if I go the route of just executing scripts (rather than compiling). However, the less than 1 MB size of each of the AutoIt executables is not a big deal. I don't really care about the visibility of my scripts (especially since I've been using VBScript files for years), but I like the idea of having less additional files by compiling to the a3x format (I had to look that up in the help file, as I was unfamiliar with that) in that it can incorporate all include and FIleInstall files. Plus, I have the added ability to make my scripts a little more secure from easily prying eyes - especially if I may include some more confidential info in some of my scripts in the future (I know that this is not really secure, but is just secure from those who aren't interested in really trying to hack the scripts). Thank you, very much, for the additional information, storme!


Does anyone think I should worry about this and just go ahead and use fully compiled scripts to executables for all of my deployments?

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