Macro malware is a type of malicious software that uses macro functions in documents from programs like Microsoft Excel and Word to execute harmful actions on victims’ computers. This type of malware was very common in the late 90s and early 2000s. Although its use declined for a while, it has resurged since 2014. Macros, originally designed to add extra features to documents, were quickly exploited by malware creators to execute harmful code, download dangerous files, or send unwanted emails.

The reason macro malware remains effective is due to several factors. Users often trust Word and Excel documents they receive via email and open them without suspicion. Additionally, while antivirus programs are helpful, they can’t always detect this type of malware. Macros are written in a language that allows access to many parts of the computer system, making it easy for attackers to carry out harmful actions. Attackers also use deception techniques to convince users to enable malicious macros in documents that appear harmless. Since 2014, this malware has been used to spread harmful programs like ransomware and banking trojans that steal financial information.

To analyze and detect macro malware, there are several useful tools. One such tool is VBATools, which allows extracting and analyzing macros within documents. Another tool is Oledump, which helps extract information from older Office documents. There’s also the ElevenPaths website, where Office documents can be uploaded to safely analyze macros. Additionally, Microsoft offers options to block dangerous macros in documents from the Internet. These tools and measures help protect users and administrators against this type of threat.