What is Macro Virus ?

A macro virus is a computer virus written in the same macro language used for software programs, including Microsoft Excel or word processors such as Microsoft Word.

It adds its code to the macros associated with spreadsheets, documents, and other data files in a system

When a macro virus infects a software application, it causes a sequence of actions to begin automatically when the application is opened.

This computer virus is application-oriented. Hence it can typically infect any computer running any operating system, maybe macOS, Linux or others. It causes a sequence of actions to begin automatically when the application is opened.


How Macro Virus Spread ?

Macro malware is transmitted through phishing emails containing malicious attachments. The macro virus spreads quickly as users share infected documents.

Security experts compare them to the Trojan virus because it might appear benign and users may not instantly identify any ill effects. Unlike Trojans, however, macro viruses can replicate themselves.

Melissa virus

Melissa virus is a Macro virus, one of the first major Word viruses, originated in 1995, and is now 25 years old. Even today office viruses follow almost the same pattern as they did back in the 20th Century.

Melissa was a Word macro virus that infected computers then spread itself by emailing copies to people or groups in the Outlook contacts list.  The email appeared to have come to the infected user with the SUBJECT: Important Message From…

Melissa’s damage was to email systems. Windows now have Windows Defender which automatically checks all files as they arrive. But Melissa Virus has become smarter.Now it has become a Backdoor Virus from the “front door” computer virus and keeps on infecting the applications.

The “concept” was the first macro virus that appeared in the year 1995. Its primary target was Microsoft’s Word. 

Nuclear macro virus

Discovered in September 1995, the Nuclear macro virus was similar to Concept, but because the malicious macros in Nuclear were designated ExecuteOnly, they were encrypted by Word and couldn’t be viewed or edited, though they were visible in the macro list. The message carried by the Nuclear virus was only displayed on the last page of a document when it was printed, but only if it was printed during the last four seconds of any minute, i.e., 56, 57, 58, 59.

First observed in 2014, Hancitor (also known as Chanitor) was a macro-based malware downloader hidden in Word documents that were delivered via a phishing email. The main purpose of Hancitor was to download malicious payloads such as banking Trojans and ransomware on contaminated machines.

The main risk of macro viruses is their ability to spread quickly. Once an infected macro is run, all other documents on a user’s computer become infected. Some of these viruses cause abnormalities in text documents, such as missing or inserted words, while others access email accounts and send out copies of infected files to the first 50 of a user’s contacts, who in turn open and access these files because they come from a trusted source.

These viruses can also be designed to erase or compromise stored data. In addition, it’s important to note that macro viruses are cross-platform; they can infect both Windows and Mac computers using the same code. Any program that uses macros can operate as a host, and any copy of an infected program — sent via email, stored on disk or on a USB drive — will contain the virus.

To remove these viruses, users should rely on security software that provides specific macro virus detection and removal tools. Regular scans will clean any infected documents and ensure no new computer viruses are downloaded.

  • System running slower than usual
  • Unknown password request to access a file which usually doesn’t require one
  • Documents saved as “template” files
  • System showing unknown error messages

How To prevent a Macro Virus ?

  • Use a spam filter for emails
  • Use a strong antivirus program
  • Ensure that computers are running current software versions and that all security patches are installed.
  • Do not open attachments from unknown senders
  • Activate the macro security function on Microsoft Word and Excel.
  • Disable macro scripts entirely.

How To remove a Macro Virus ?

Stay safe from macro virus attacks by warding off infected links, it is recommended to install stong antivirus software.

1. Reboot the infected computer in Safe Mode.

2. Deleting all temporary files will help speed up the virus scanning, as well as freeing up disk space and removing any malware-infected temp files.

3. Scan the infected computer for virus scan with strong /updated antivirus software

if you think a Word or Excel document contains a macro virus: Press “Shift” while opening the document. This opens it in Safe Mode. It allows you to check if there are macros present in the document. If you find anything, you can remove it manually.