The return of macro viruses

furuno
furuno used Ask the Experts™
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Macro viruses used to be widespread around 2003-2008. Then, they seemed to disappear.  Now it seems in the last year or two that they are back. What was the driver for this?
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Top Expert 2016
Commented:
actually the largest growth has been in ransomware virus's as the payload. Anti-Virus detection is pretty good these days and a macro that can access .net runtime can be scanned forever and nothing untoward will be found. One must always be vigilant about any macro enabled document and ensure that it comes from a known safe sender or safe location. Macro Execution is disabled unless the file is from a trusted location and you have had a chance to 'enable macros'.. I've turned off script execution in adobe reader/acrobat for years by default for this reason as well. Not many pdf's need to execute scripting.

The last major macro virus was Melissa in 1999 and due to the security policies in effect at that date it was on a tear and Microsoft had to shut down incoming email to try and stem the tide.

Many experts here on EE will not run any macro enabled documents.

Author

Commented:
Thanks David for that helpful response.

"Anti-Virus detection is pretty good these days"

Why do you say that?
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
FWIW, the anti-virus community is pretty proactive and updates are daily or more often.  The problem being that most ransomware sends out unique payloads so the # of uniques is on the rise. Unfortunately this defeats signature based AV

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