In this article we look at Macro viruses which essentially include malicious code in a programmatic language, most notably VBA, which is readily executed by Outlook and other Office programs.
Viruses come in various hues and Macro viruses have distinct characteristics that make them immensely dangerous for Outlook users. A Macro virus uses the programming language present within an application to spread its footprint. In case of an Ms Office user, a Macro virus can prove to be rather contagious. Take the famous case of the Melissa virus which infected millions of PCs by sending copies of itself to Outlook contacts. Since Macro viruses inherently are directed at documents, they can spread across platforms. Identifying Macro viruses can be a challenge and you would need a top of the line antivirus application to detect them. Yet in some cases if you receive strange error messages while opening documents or observe unwanted content getting inserted within a document then it is a clear hint of a possible Macro virus infection. Over the years several Macro viruses have come to light that have used the Outlook application to spread and this makes it absolutely necessary for you to protect yourself against such threats.
Do Not Click Suspected Attachments Even from Contacts
If you receive an attachment with a strange user name or an unexpected message body from even a contact, simply avoid clicking on them. Some Macro viruses tend to include attachments with names like AAZZ, Auto Open etc which are an indicator of a dubious payload. If you have doubts about whether a file was genuinely sent by a contact, you should connect with the individual and confirm whether such an email with the suspected attachment was sent by him or her.
Do not Ignore Macro Virus Warnings
Macro Virus warnings are typically displayed when you open a file that contains embedded macros. If you receive a warning, make it a point to scan the file with an antivirus tool, before opening the same.
Enable Email scanning in your Antivirus tool
As a matter of rule you should keep email scanning enabled so as to avoid Macro viruses from entering your system. Also you should keep your antivirus application updated.
After you have removed the Macro Virus you may need to recover your data
In case you have successfully used an antivirus utility to remove the malicious Macro virus from your system, you still may need to recover your data. Virus infections that typically affect the Outlook program can make changes to the underlying data compromising its integrity. So after you have removed a virus, it is ideal run a pst recovery tool like the highly advanced DataNumen Outlook Repair to get back your data in perfect shape. The tool incidentally can also be used to locate a PST file whose usual location may have got changed. Further it can even dig up data from a compromised file which is stored in a virtual drive or a Norton Ghost image file. Also the tool is effective against an array of media types including flash media disks.
Alan Chen is President & Chairman of DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including sql recovery and outlook repair software products. For more information visit www.datanumen.com/products.htm