Macro viruses are a type of malicious code embedded in macro scripts. Macro scripts are programs written in a scripting language, such as Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).
The programs can automate tasks in applications, such as Microsoft Office products. Macro viruses exploit the ability of macros to execute code without the user’s knowledge or consent.
When a macro virus infects a document or template, the macros can be made to run automatically when the document is opened or closed. The virus can also spread to other users by sending copies of the infected document. Because traditional antivirus programs do not detect macro viruses, they can be challenging to detect and remove.
How Does A Macro Virus Work, And What Is Its Impact?
Macro viruses exploit the ability of macro scripts to execute code without the user’s knowledge or consent. When a macro virus infects a document or template, it can cause the macros to run automatically when the document is opened or closed. The virus can also replicate itself by sending copies of the infected document to other users. Macro viruses can be tough to detect and remove because traditional antivirus programs do not detect them.
Macro viruses can have several different impacts, depending on their design. Some macro viruses are designed to replicate themselves, while others may be designed to delete files or corrupt data. The most dangerous macro viruses are designed to steal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers.
Types and Examples of Macro Virus Macro Viruses
A concept virus is an example of a macro virus that does not harm the computer but only displays a message or alters how information is displayed.
A virus replicates itself by sending infected email messages to addresses found in the victim’s Microsoft Outlook address book. The Melissa virus was first reported in March 1999 and caused significant damage worldwide.
Another example of the macro virus is Conficker, which spread rapidly across corporate networks and the Internet in 2008. The Conficker virus can disable security features on an infected computer and allow remote attackers to take control of the system.
How Macro Viruses Spread
Macro viruses can spread in several ways, including:
Email attachments – Macro viruses often spread via email attachments. Be cautious when opening any email attachments, even if they come from a trusted source.
Downloads from the Internet – Macro viruses can be downloaded from websites or attached to files downloaded from the Internet—download files from trusted sources.
Infected documents – Macro viruses are spread by sharing infected documents, such as Word documents or Excel spreadsheets. Only open files that have been sent to you by trusted sources.
How Do I Know If My Computer Is Infected with A Macro Virus?
Several signs may indicate that your computer is infected with a macro virus, including:
First macro virus symptoms are that your applications may start behaving differently. If your applications are behaving differently than usual, it may be a sign that your computer is infected with a virus. For example, Microsoft Word may open automatically when you start your computer.
Other macro virus symptoms are that your computer gets is slower than usual. A decrease in performance is often a sign that your computer is infected with malware. If your computer is running slowly or crashing frequently, it may be a sign of an infection.
Lastly, you may start receiving strange emails. If you receive emails with unknown attachments or links, it may signify that your computer is infected with a virus. Such emails appear to have come from trusted sources, but hackers may send them in an attempt to infect your computer.
Preventing Macro Virus Infections
The best way to protect yourself from macro viruses is to disable macros in your applications. Most applications, such as Microsoft Office, allow disabling macros. You should only enable macros when you need to use them and should only do so from trusted sources.
There are also several steps that users can take to prevent macro virus infections:
Install and update antivirus software. Antivirus software can detect and remove any viruses, including macro viruses. However, traditional antivirus programs are not always effective against macro viruses.
Disable macros in Microsoft Office applications. By default, macros are disabled in Microsoft Office applications. Users should only enable macros when they need to use them and should only do so from trusted sources.
Do not open email attachments from untrusted sources. Email attachments are a standard method of spreading macro viruses, and it’s advisable to only open email attachments from trusted sources.
Scan downloaded files with antivirus software. Files downloaded from the Internet can be infected with macro viruses. Before opening downloaded files, ensure to scan them with antivirus software.
Be cautious when opening files from untrusted sources. Macro viruses can be spread by sharing infected documents. You should exercise caution when opening files sent to them from unknown sources.
How to Remove Macro Virus from Your Computer
If you suspect that your computer is infected with a macro virus, you should take the following steps to remove it:
1. Install and update antivirus software- Antivirus software can detect and remove any viruses, including macro viruses. However, traditional antivirus programs are not always effective against macro viruses.
2. Scan your computer with antivirus software- Use antivirus software to scan your computer for viruses and remove any found.
3. Format your hard drive, then reinstall the operating system- This will remove all of the files on your hard drive, including any viruses. It should be a last resort as it will delete all of your files.
As macro viruses are not as common as other viruses, they can still be dangerous. By taking steps to prevent infections and knowing how to remove them, you can protect your computer from these threats.