Published on:

3 February 2016


Rachael Adams

Spam is Still Catching People Out – Macro Viruses

Disrupting productivity and costing companies millions, some of the most devastating viruses have caused such wide spread damage, you almost have to wonder how vulnerable we really are.

The Mydoom worm infected around 250,000 computers in a single day back in January 2004, while the Melissa virus was so powerful it forced Microsoft to completely turn off email systems in March 1999. Although these are some of the most extreme examples, every virus no matter how insignificant it seems, has been created to cause some sort of pain or disruption, and with the latest strain of Microsoft Office Macro Viruses, users are facing new risks in documents they access every day.

Microsoft Office Macro Viruses contained within attachments are currently circulating via email. The virus is embedded within a Word or Excel attachment which encourages the recipient to enable Macros. Once triggered the virus can very quickly go on to infect every file it finds including templates and any documents created from that point forward. It may also corrupt other parts of the system, depending on what resources the macro can access, and can also spread throughout your network and potentially beyond if infected documents are shared.

Although most antivirus programs detect Macros Viruses, some do slip through the cracks so it is absolutely essential that your staff are aware that spam and malicious emails can cause a great deal of harm to your business.

In most cases, someone you do not know or a company you have never dealt with will be the one that will sends you a malicious document, however even trusted sources can have an infection that spreads to you via email. Be diligent and always consider what type of document you are opening or where a link is taking you to ensure you keep your computer, files and network virus free.

Microsoft Office Macro Tips

  • A plain text document with simple text should never require Macros, so there is no need to enable
  • If you do not need to update data within a document, never enable Macros
  • A document with advanced features and calculations or one which extracts data from external sources may require Macros. Always confirm the document has come from a trusted source before enabling Macros