Macro viruses make comeback

Macro viruses make comeback

According to reports, cyber criminals have begun implementing an attack strategy which saw some success in the 1990s.

The macro infection malware utilises Visual Basic, a programming language, when hacking into Microsoft Office’s extensible code.

Digital signatures written for the viruses were integrated with most security software in the ‘90s. Microsoft took further measures by setting the default position for Office’s extensive code as ‘off’ when it updated the software.

Sophos security researcher Gábor Szappanos said that the attack strategy was believed to have sunk into oblivion, mainly due to Microsoft’s default setting modification.

He said, when contributing to the Virus Bulletin, that cyber criminals have managed to re-use the attack vector in order to generate codes for downloader Trojans.

Szappanos added:

“The malware authors have been busy – since the first appearance of this group of malware at the end of January 2014, at least 75 different variants have appeared. A wide variety of document content has been used.”

He said that a single attack strategy sees a report of a transaction included on the content of the document, which entices the user to then enable macros in order to view the content in full.

Both individual users and businesses are open to such widespread attacks, but the advantage many businesses boast is that they have an IT security expert in-house to respond by taking the necessary action. They can also visit a risk and network threat forum to stay abreast of the latest developments. It is more important than ever, in this day and age, to be aware of any attacks in software or online.

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