View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you

Office macro exploits on the rise, says Trend Micro

Hackers use automated code to carry out dirty work.

By Jimmy Nicholls

Hackers are increasingly using Microsoft Office macros to deliver malware to victims, according to the security vendor Trend Micro.

Appearing as a seemingly benign attachment, the Excel and Word documents come embedded with a set of instructions, or macros, that are supposed to automate repetitive tasks, but are in fact malevolent.

Maydalene Salvador, anti-spam research engineer at Trend Micro, wrote on the firm’s blog: "Spam with macro-based malware typically make use of social engineering lures like remittance and invoice notifications, emails related to tax and payment slips, payment confirmation, purchase orders, etc.

"Most of the spammed emails even contain so-called shipping codes in the email subject to appear authentic."

Attackers are now using macro-based malware to install data-stealing malware such as Upatre and malawe used to install other viruses such as Bartalex, which has been programmed to behave differently depending on which operating system it is run on.

Figures from the company show a rise in macro-related spam since October last year, indicating the firm that it may continue to rise over the coming months.

As such users are advised to be cautious about opening email attachments, even if they are familiar with the sender, and to ignore emails from unknown sources.

Content from our partners
Rethinking cloud: challenging assumptions, learning lessons
DTX Manchester welcomes leading tech talent from across the region and beyond
The hidden complexities of deploying AI in your business

Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.
THANK YOU