Certainly, macro is a useful command language. Many university students, professional writers, and people working in the legal field use macros to improve productivity and efficiency while writing. But the process behind a macro script is also vulnerable to a macro virus, which spreads fast, infecting multiple documents of the same type on your system.
What is the difference between a regular virus and a macro virus?
A regular virus is a destructive program that piggybacks on other files and corrupts data. Meanwhile, macro viruses use vulnerabilities in the macro language. A macro virus is more dangerous than a regular PC virus because it can have many more dangerous functions.
What makes a macro virus so dangerous?
To keep it short, a macro virus injects itself into the automated script of a macro, typically targeting office programs like Microsoft Word or Excel. Here are a few reasons why it’s so dangerous:
- Spreads rapidly
- Works silently
- Corrupts data
- Modifies texts
- Can insert pornographic mages
- Formats partitions
- Drops more dangerous malware
- It can be challenging to detect and remediate
How do I get a macro virus?
Like so many different types of malware, a macro virus spreads through social engineering attacks like phishing. Phishing campaigns, of course, are fake emails or messages that may carry dangerous attachments like macro viruses. Some phishing attacks can also convince you to open a malicious website that uses a drive-by download to infect your computer with a PC virus without your knowledge.
Macro viruses also spread through shared files. Let’s say you transfer a colleague’s infected Excel documents to your system and run them. Well, you now also have a macro infection.
Some macro viruses use very sophisticated techniques to propagate. For example, the Melissa Virus would send infected documents to people on a victim’s address book. Melissa was so prolific that it caused millions of dollars in damages, and its creator was sentenced to 20 months in prison.
What is the difference between a virus and malware?
Although many people use the terms “virus” and “malware” interchangeably, they’re not the same thing. While a virus is just one type of malicious software, malware is a catchall term for all kinds of malicious software, from adware to stalkerware.
How do I stop a macro virus?
The good news is that Microsoft has disabled macros by default in its Office software to prevent macro viruses from becoming a threat. You can steer clear of macro viruses by keeping it that way. And if a strange document on your email asks to enable macro, don’t do it.
You should also screen emails for red flags. Any email that uses strange addresses, carries suspicious attachments, or offers links to deals that appear too good to be true could be a phishing attack with a macro virus.
Keep your guard up when torrenting files. In particular, steer clear of unlicensed productivity software as it could be a Trojan. You can always use free word processing software to mitigate your risk of contracting a virus.
Downloading advanced anti-malware software that can stop everything, from a legacy computer virus to a macro virus to more dangerous malware like Trojans, worms, spyware, and rootkits, will protect your computer. Additionally, use a browser guard to protect yourself from browser attacks and dangerous websites that carry malware.