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Macro virus

(also macro-based malware, macro-enabled malware)

Macro virus definition

A macro virus refers to malicious software propagating via contaminated macro-enabled files, like those in Microsoft Word or Excel. This type of malware takes advantage of an application's macro programming features to execute harmful code, leading to a range of detrimental actions on the affected system. These actions include exfiltrating confidential information, damaging files, or introducing further malware.

See also: anti-malware, computer virus, network security protocols

Macro virus examples

  • Melissa: A widely known macro virus that emerged in 1999, and which spread via email, targeting Microsoft Word documents. Once activated, it sent itself to the first 50 contacts in the user's address book.
  • Babyk: A macro virus that infected Word documents and emailed itself to all the addresses found in the victim's Outlook address book.

Preventing macro viruses

  • Avoid opening unknown email attachments and only download files from trusted sources.
  • Disable macro support in your office applications or set the security level to only allow macros from trusted sources.
  • Keep your antivirus software up-to-date and use NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature to scan downloaded files for malware.