What is a Macro Virus and How Does It Work

What Is a Macro Virus?

A macro virus is a computer virus that uses the same macro language as software program/s like Microsoft Word and excel. Since a macro virus is written in the same language as your documents, it can infect them and not only infect them but also damage your computer software.

Macro viruses infect these software programs by embedding malicious code in the macros, causing the virus to start as soon as the files are opened. They’re typically spread via phishing emails with malicious code embedded in an attachment. They would almost always attempt to infect all of the forms on your computer.

Worse, the virus will then gain access to your email address and send the infected attachment to anyone on your contact list. Your friends might be more likely to open the email because it appears to be from you, which is why macro viruses spread so quickly.

How Do Macro Viruses Spread?

Macro viruses are often transmitted by phishing emails that contain virus-infected attachments. The virus would gain access to the recipient’s address book files and send an infected email to everyone on the recipient’s contact list.

Many recipients open the email because it seems to come from a reliable source. When an infected macro is run, it can corrupt all other documents on the user’s computer.

When a user opens or tries the removal of an infected text, macro viruses propagate. They do not run on operating systems but rather on applications. The following are some of the most popular ways macro viruses are spread:

  • Using a network to share files
  • Macro viruses, like many other types of viruses and malware, can be challenging to detect.
  • Using a disc to share files
  • Downloading and then opening a file from the internet or an intranet
  • Using an email attachment to open a file
  • Using a modem to download a file and then open it

What Do Macro Viruses Do?

Macro viruses are computer viruses that are designed to perform a variety of tasks. A macro virus, for example, can create new files, corrupt existing ones, transfer text, submit files, 

format hard drives, and insert images. Viruses and malware that are harmful.

Types of Macro Virus 

Macroviruses come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Even though some consider them to be a remnant of the late 1990s, they have made a comeback in recent years, forcing users to be extra cautious.

  • Concept virus

The first macro virus, Concept, was released in July 1995 and targeted Microsoft Word. Macro Viruses eventually became the most common type of virus.

  • Melissa Virus 

Melissa virus made history as the first macro virus with an email worm trait, infecting tens of thousands of people within hours of its release on March 26, 1999. It was one of the most devastating epidemics in the history of the Internet.

Infects Application Instead The Operating System

Macro viruses can infect any operating system, even those on non-Windows machines, since they are based on software instead of an operating system.

What Are Some Symptoms That A Macro Virus Causes?

Enabling Macros, viruses could spread quickly. The first sign that you’ve been compromised will likely be when your contacts start calling you to inquire about a suspicious email you sent.

Other items to keep an eye out for include:

  • Your machine is operating at a slower rate than usual.
  • Your software application’s menu items are incomplete.
  • Your computer is requesting passwords to access files that aren’t normally password protected.
  • Unusual dialogue boxes that you wouldn’t expect to see
  • Files are saved as “templates” on your machine.
  • Your records have been altered unusually.

What to do to get relief from a macro virus using antivirus software?

For preventing the spread of a macro virus, it is essential to delete all infected files.

  • To remove macro malware, start by restarting the infected device in Safe Mode.
  • Delete all temporary files to speed up virus scanning and free up disc space and remove free malware-infected temp files.
  • Finally, check the infected machine for viruses. Use a separate, on-demand scanner to run a macro malware search if a real-time antivirus program is already running on the computer. The running antivirus program may find it difficult to detect the malware. 
  • In the above case, run the on-demand scanner first, then the real-time antivirus software for a complete scan. Any macro malware found on the device should be detected and quarantined using this method.

What To Do to Prevent Macro Viruses From Infecting My Computer?

  • When opening emails or email attachments, be cautious: Open attachments from unknown senders with caution. Even if the attachment appears to be from one of your trusted contacts, don’t open it unless you intend to receive an email with an extension. And, as previously said, be careful of any unusual wording or formatting.
  • Activate any available macro protection functions: Make sure the macro security features in Microsoft Word and Excel are turned on.
  • Use only safe websites: If you visit suspicious websites, malware will infect your device. If you try to access a non-secure site, most antivirus software and web browsers can alert you.
  • Clicking on banner advertising is not a good idea: This might seem to be a rather serious situation.
  • Use robust available macro protection functions antivirus software: The most efficient way to protect your device from macro viruses is to download decent antivirus programs. It will alarm you if it detects any unusual files or connections.
  • Make sure your antivirus program is up to date: Ensure that your antivirus programs are up to date and that all security updates are installed on your device. It will be able to protect your computer from new viruses and malware threats in this way.
  • Activate your email’s spam blocker: This should eliminate a large number of phishing emails that contain macro viruses.

How Does A Macro Virus Work?

Malicious code is embedded in papers, spreadsheets, and other data files through macro viruses. A macro virus infects the computer by substituting malicious code for standard commands. 

So, if you possess a macro virus, you can trigger it by doing simple things like editing a Word document or checking your inbox. The virus will bypass your commands and instruct your machine to perform a different action.

Macro viruses also cause problems with word processors by removing, inserting, or modifying words in your documents. They can even change your hard drive by adding pictures, moving text, and even corrupting it. When you run an infected macro on your computer, it usually infects all of your other documents as well.

Macro viruses can also infiltrate your email account and send emails to your contact list, causing havoc. Since the virus-infected email is sent from your account, many of your recipients are likely to open it in good faith, causing the virus to spread to their computers.

What Is Microsoft Doing About The Macros Issue?

Macros are now disabled by default in all versions of Microsoft Office, starting with 2000. If you open a document containing macros, Office will display a dialogue box asking if you want to use them.

Previously, macros in Microsoft Office were turned on by default. However, as the number of macro virus attacks increased, Microsoft decided to disable them.

It significantly reduced the risk of being infected with a macro virus. On the other hand, cybercriminals are tenacious, and they continue to find new ways to trick users into allowing macros and infecting their computers with malware.


In this article, we provided a lot of knowledge about the macro virus. It should no longer be challenging to remove it from your files. When doing some sort of internet activity, remember a few things: be cautious when opening a word or excel document attached to an email, use reputable antivirus software, and keep your operating system up to date.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the examples of macro viruses?

97M.Melissa.ac This Melissa version tries to format local hard drives and corrupt CMOS memory, and forward remembers a few things via email clients. It has a file called DRIVES.BAT that contains the commands for formatting hard drives.
W97M.Marker Marker is a Word macro virus that logs who it infects and sends that information to a well-known hacker website (now closed). It creates two ASCII text files named NETLDX.VXD and HSFEDRT.SYS as temporary files.

What are the three types of viruses?

Macro viruses: Macro viruses automate activities using built-in programming scripts to remember a few things in Excel and Microsoft Word applications.
File infectors: When users run a compromised application, file infectors are enabled. It may spread macro viruses through networks, the Internet, or discs.
Boot record infectors: Infectors that target programs stored on challenging bootable floppy or hard discs are known as boot record infectors. The virus-infected documents run every time a user starts their computer.

Why are macros dangerous?

When a malicious macro is loaded into an Office application like Word from an infected document, it can take advantage of features like “AutoExec” to start Word automatically or “AutoOpen” to run whenever you open a document. The macro virus will then insert itself into Word and infect future documents in this way.

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