You have just opened inbox and find mail from friends with a word document attached. You eagerly open this document and ……you permitted and opened a window for the influx of macro virus.
This is how quickly you can be tricked into infecting your computer with a macro virus. Once on your computer, it can carry out any number of malicious actions such as infect your email contacts, steal your passwords, and even gain control over your webcam.
Macro Virus Is Sneaky
Micro virus are sneaky for two reasons
Firstly, they use social engineering tactics to trick you into thinking you’ve received a legitimate file from someone you know, when you haven’t.
Secondly, they hide in the types of files you’re most familiar with and normally trust – such as your Microsoft Office programs.
This is why it’s so important to understand what micro viruses are, how they work and how to avoid falling victim to one.
A macro virus is a computer virus written in a macro language. This is the same language used in software applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel or Powerpoint. This is why these types of documents are ideal places to hide malicious macro code.
When the malicious code infects one of your applications, it triggers malware designed to cause damage to your computer and further spread the virus.
The chances are, you’re probably quite familiar with the Microsoft Office suite. This is why macro viruses represent such a threat – they hide in programs many of us use every day and we take for granted as being safe.
How Macro Virus Infect
A macro (short for “macroinstruction”) is a kind of code designed to instruct applications like Excel and Word to perform certain actions. Macros are intended to enhance the functionality of the application and make your life easier by speeding up or eliminating repetitive tasks.
However, macros can be created by anyone and malicious macros can be created just as easily as helpful ones. Therefore, it’s no surprise cybercriminals routinely create malicious code, insert it into documents, then trigger it to run as soon as macros are enabled.
You’ll notice this kind of virus runs on the application as opposed to the operating system. That means any computer running any operating system could be infected, even your Mac.
it will infect other documents as well on your computer. When you send one as an attachment in an email, you will have inadvertently sent the virus to your recipient.
Secondly, macro viruses are known for quickly gaining access to your email contacts, then resending the infected document to your contacts on your behalf. This is known as a phishing email.
If infected, your system will start giving you signals. Some of the most common symptom that shows the presence of the virus on your device are:
- Your computer may start showing frequent signs of a slowdown.
- It may start asking you for passwords for files that are not password protected.
- You might experience strange messages appearing on your device screen.
- The files will start getting saved in a ‘template” form.
Prevention From Macro Virus
Since phishing emails are the most common way of spreading a Macro virus, its prevention also revolves majorly around proper email etiquette.
Some of the workable techniques are:
- Always use a spam filter, this will ensure that you receive only legit emails in your inbox which reduces the chance of infection.
- Avoid opening suspicious emails and the mails that are coming from unknown sources.
- Use a powerful security program to guard yourself against the ill effects of a Macro virus.
- For multi-layer security ensure that your device is running on up-to-date software versions and is properly patched for all security loopholes.
- Never, never open attachment and links embedded in emails coming from unknown sources.
In addition to the above mentioned preventive methods, if you think that your device is infected, you can follow the below steps to remove it.
- Reboot your infected device in safe mode and delete all the temporary files.
- Scan your device using powerful antivirus software.
- Additionally, you should also use an on-demand scanner to perform a macro malware check on your device. This will detect all the traces of a Macro virus in your device and delete them.