Macro Virus: What Is It and How to Remove It
Here at Fromask, we recommend you follow our blog to learn about Macro viruses. When it comes to viruses and malware, few threats are as sneaky as macro viruses. If you’re not paying close attention, you may find yourself in a situation where your computer stops responding or suddenly becomes very slow. Macro viruses can infect a device from things as harmless as Microsoft Word documents. The most important thing how to remove viruses from Mac and remember about macro viruses is that they infect devices without permission, meaning that the user has given no obvious consent for the virus to invade their system.
What is a macro virus?
A macro virus is a dangerous computer program that can be written and hidden within normal-looking files. For example, they could appear in Microsoft Excel documents or Word files. Macro viruses spread silently and are designed to infect specific types of software – making it easy to access personal information without you knowing about it. This makes them perfect for stealing your banking details, passwords, and PIN codes. What’s more, is that many people tend not to pay close attention to what they’re opening when they begin using a new program for the first time.
Cybercriminals exploit this by dropping malicious files into instant messenger programs like MSN which link to PDF documents or word docs that may contain macros that could infect all of your office equipment as well as any other device you have connected including smartphones.
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How does a macro virus work?
Macro viruses work by infecting your computer. They interfere with your projects and potentially cost time and money because they corrupt files by adding malicious code to them. Macro viruses are generally transmitted in Microsoft Word documents, so it’s important to be suspicious when opening document attachments that come from outside sources. While not as severe as some cyber threats on the rise like ransomware attacks, macro viruses can still do damage and lead to loss of time or revenue if left unchecked.
Luckily, there are malware protection solutions including antivirus solutions that scan for all different kinds of cyber threats. Avast Free Antivirus uses smart analytics to detect and block all kinds of computer viruses including macro viruses before they can do any damage.
What programs are most affected by macro viruses?
Because of this, cybercriminals have begun using social engineering tricks to spread their nasty work. They’ll send you an infected attachment from someone you trust because it’s more likely that “mom” or your “friend” needs your help than a stranger. Once the file has been opened and macro viruses are in play, hackers can leverage our natural curiosity about what family members and friends want us to see – rather than software vulnerabilities to infect our computers with macros. Your Microsoft programs like Word can be particularly susceptible to these naughty attacks and may make your Mac vulnerable as well because they too are used for writing documents.
How to prevent a macro virus
Always be wary of what you’re downloading and don’t open any attachments if you’re not expecting them. Hackers use email attachments as a way to spread macro viruses or other malware, so it’s best just not to risk it if you know somebody who might have a grudge against you could be sending you something unsavory. If your passwords are the same across multiple accounts, a hacker could easily break in, and even if they aren’t there’s still nothing stopping the attacker from spreading macro viruses or other malware with your access.
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Macro virus examples
The Concept virus
The Concept virus was a novel, yet widespread word processing program that spread very easily in casual emails. The concept first began spreading around 1995, and all a person had to do was attach an email containing the virus to an unsuspecting email recipient of their own. All that is required for the virus to spread is for the recipient of a vulnerable version of the word (MS Word 97+) to open up the infected file, which unleashes the virus into their system. A slight downside, however, is that the Concept generally became less widespread starting around 1997. This means that most users are not at risk nowadays.
The Melissa Virus
The Melissa virus marked a turning point in the history of computer viruses. Known as “the email that ruined your day,” it attacked computers and evolved into an aggressively spreading self-replicating worm. That year, Melissa broke all records for a virus in terms of speed, traveling from computer to computer at an alarming rate. It quickly became the most rapidly spreading virus of its time, inspiring future mass mailers types of malware. The Melissa virus was so destructive that its creator later served time in prison for his work.
Macro virus symptoms
Macros can be a tricky area, so let’s get all of the information in one place and see if this helps you to diagnose whether you’re having issues with them, as well as what you would need to do to solve the problems. These include:
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- A device that’s running unusually slowly
- Strange error messages appearing
- Files asking for passwords when they usually don’t require one
- Your device saving documents as template files
All these symptoms can gradually slow down and haunt your computer performance.
How to remove macro viruses
While there is no way to ever be a hundred percent sure that your computer has been infected with a macro virus, you can delete macros using the following steps:
Manual macro virus removal
To remove a virus manually, open either Word or Excel in Safe Mode by pressing the left Control key while clicking the program. Select Yes when prompted. In Safe Mode, the macro commands will be disabled so you can see if there are any viruses in your documents. If you find an infected file, do the following:
- Click View to see the infected file and select Macros.
- Click Organizer.
- Select the infected macro and click Delete
To ensure that your Microsoft Office suite is malware-free, you can use Repair. To do this, you can go to the Control Panel of your computer, right-click on Microsoft Office from the list of programs, and select Repair. This should remove the macro virus and its effect on the entire Office suite.
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Automatic macro virus removal
A lot of people don’t like dealing with the headaches caused by macro viruses. Getting rid of these viruses manually can be stressful and exhausting. Luckily, there’s an easier way to put a stop to these destructive files – you can remove them automatically with a comprehensive antivirus program. With antivirus software, you can easily run a scan to detect any trace of a macro virus – and once this problem has been found, it is easily taken care of as well because antivirus programs will provide you with details about the location of the offending file so that you can get rid of it permanently.
Protect against macro viruses with Avast Free Antivirus
Avast Free Antivirus is a must-have for all devices. This software not only protects you against viruses but also automatically scans your device and easily removes all malware.