Office documents randomly corrupting - possible malware issue.
Posted on 2013-01-31
I have a really worrying issue that emerged yesterday with two independent customers. The first one was a laptop that was running extremely slow and then apparently some of the office documents had become unreadable. I immediately assumed adware / virus infection but was unable to remotely access it due to connection / stability issues and so could not confirm this. I got the customer to email me several of the affected documents (word, excel and publisher). Sure enough when I attempted to open them i got the same message as them: The file cannot be opened because there are problems with its contents. Details: The file is corrupt and cannot be opened.
Given that the laptop showed all the signs of being infected with some kind of malware I assumed at this stage that it had somehow corrupted some of the office documents. Within two hours I got a report from another customer (totally unrelated) that some of their office documents had become corrupted. I did have remote access to this machine and logged in to find exactly the same error message as on the laptop. I scanned for viruses and found nothing.
This is where I currently am. Could this be a new virus that is corrupting Office documents? I have attempted to repair one of the files using the office repair component of Ontrack Data Recovery. It repaired the header but then the data was unreadable. However my main concern is identifying the underlying cause.
Any suggestions or feedback would be welcome.