What is a macrovirus? How can I enable or disable macros in Office?

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Since the beginning of computers, there have been many types of malware. Whereas in the beginning, it was just for fun, creating and distributing malware in the days of QDOS is now a full-time activity, with the same results as any other for-profit company. This article discusses the Macro Virus and explains how to protect yourself against macro malware. Please note that both macro-virus and macro-malware refer to the same.

What is a macro virus

Macro virus that uses Macros running in Microsoft Office applications such as Microsoft Word or Excel. Cybercriminals send you a macro-contaminated document by e-mail and use a subject line that interests you or prompts you to open the document. When you open the document, a macro is executed to execute the task desired by the criminal.

By macroinfected documents, I mean macros specifically designed to download malware or perform certain other tasks. The macro itself can create malware on your computer, duplicate itself, and send it to everyone on your contact list.

After Microsoft discovered the vulnerability, it disabled the default macro function. This means that no macro would run in Microsoft Word until you enable the macros or run them manually. The same is true for macros in other Microsoft applications. There are other programs that also use macros, but they are not that popular and are not attacked by cybercriminals.

If you don’t know, a macro in Office refers to a series of commands and instructions that you combine into a single command to automatically execute a task.

Microsoft has now set the default settings in Office to Disable all macros with notification. Now that the default macro setting is OFF or DISABLED, cybercriminals program the documents so that you are forced to enable the malicious macro. For example, you will receive an email indicating that your package is ready and that you should open the attached document for shipping details and so on. When you open the document, the message

When you turn on the macro, it runs for the purpose for which it was developed and executes the malicious code.

Besides, macro settings in Word are available here. Open Word Document > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Trust Center Settings > Macro Settings.

Here you see the four available settings :

  • Disable all macros without notification
  • Disable all macros with notification (Default)
  • Disable all macros except digitally signed macros
  • Enable all macros.

See also: How to block macros in Microsoft Office 2016 using group policy.

How to protect yourself against macroviruses

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The first thing to remember is to use your own thinking skills. If you receive a document as an attachment, it is always safe to open it in read-only mode. If you open documents from Outlook or another popular email client, open the documents in read-only mode and disable macros, etc. so that they are not affected.

When you receive a message asking you to enable macros, you understand why the message is present and whether macros really need to be enabled. For example, if it is an invoice, there is nothing programmable and therefore no need for macros. In this case, you can be sure that the document is only bait.

In any case, you should never open attachments.

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