Friday, April 24, 2009

Top 10 Viruses Related to Microsoft Word

Back in the early nineties, 84% of virus attacks were aimed at Microsoft Word. This was all down to what are called macros, which are small computer programs that do flashy things like changing the way a display looks or performing calculations.

Microsoft Word allows macros within Word documents, which wasn't a poor idea to begin with but all went wrong when the virus makers discovered how easy it was to make macro viruses. Their macros do snazzy things too, like adding malicious files and editing other files that determine how your computer runs.

The problem has declined now because the latest versions of Word (2000 on) do a decent job of protecting against Word macro viruses. Older versions (Word 6 and earlier) are poor. Word 7 is somewhere in the middle.

If you run an old version of Word, you should certainly run a virus checker too. If you don't want to do this, then you must take a lot of precautions over which Word documents you open.
The safest thing to do is open any strange Word documents that you receive by email or on disk in WordPad first. They won't open properly and the first 30 or more lines will be code garbage, but in the middle you'll find most of the text of the file, enough to check whether it's a genuine file that you need to open the proper way.

Modern versions of Word will inform you that a document contains a macro and offer you the option "Disable Macros" before opening. Always choose this option without fail. You can always open the document a second time, with macros enabled, once you've established that it's a genuine document and you need the macros to run.

Microsoft Word Viruses

See Also
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