If your business uses Microsoft Office or similar word-processing apps, you should take precautions to prevent macro malware infections. Research shows that a staggering 1 billion plus people worldwide use Microsoft Office. While some people use it for personal purposes, others use it for business-related purposes. Software apps such as Microsoft Office, however, are potential vectors for macro malware.

What Is Macro Malware?

Macro malware is a type of malicious software that uses macros within software apps. It’s been around for many years. The first type of macro malware specifically targeted Microsoft Office. Since then, other types of macro malware have emerged. Regardless, all types of macro malware leverage infected files that trigger macros within software apps.

Macro malware can perform the following malicious tasks:

  • Delete data
  • Create corrupt data
  • Copy and steal data
  • Lock files
  • And more

How Macro Malware Works

When you open an infected file in the respective software app, such as Microsoft Office, the macro will run. There are different types of macro malware, each of which works in a different way. With that said, most of them are classified as viruses. Virus-based macro malware works like other computer viruses by replicating itself. The macro will facilitate the malicious code, thus allowing the macro malware to spread.

Ways to Safeguard Your Business From Macro Malware

You can safeguard your business from macro malware by taking some basic precautions. If your business uses Microsoft Office, for instance, make sure macros are disabled by default. You don’t want macros to run automatically when you open files. If a file is legitimate, macros won’t cause any issues. But if you unknowingly open an infected file that’s part of macro malware, macros can harm your system.

Microsoft Office now comes with macros disabled by default. However, it allows users to enable them. If you or someone else at your business has enabled macros with Microsoft Office, you may want to change this setting. Disabling macros by default will protect your system from macro malware.

According to Microsoft, macro malware is often spread through emails. Emails can contain file attachments. If you receive an email with a file attachment for a Microsoft Office file, it could be macro malware. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. If you don’t trust the sender of an email, don’t open it. Opening the email and downloading the file attachment may infect your computer with macro malware.