Scam emails distributing malicious MS Office documents
12 November 2014
Alert Priority High
A scam email campaign is currently circulating that features attached Microsoft Office documents with malicious macros.
Opening the attachment and enabling the macro could lead to ransomware or other banking malware being downloaded and launched on your computer.
A macro is a small program or set of instructions which your computer can automatically execute. Macros are a built in feature of Microsoft Office, used to help automate simple or repetitive tasks. They have also been used by scammers for many years. They are disabled by default in Microsoft Office as a security precaution.
The circulating scam emails vary widely, current examples refer to financial themes such as outstanding invoices, bills or credit card charges from organisations such as Amazon or PayPal, but most are from lesser known organisation. The email asks you to refer to an attached document for more detail.
An example of the spam email
For the malicious macro to run, you need to open the document and enable the macro. Enabling unknown macros to run on your computer is extremely dangerous as you do not know what actions it will perform.
The wording of the attached document seeks to trick you into enabling the macro. Examples vary; some may notify you that you have an outdated version of Word, others more simply state you need to enable macros to view the content.
Do not click Enable Content or enable macros.
An example of the Word document. Do not enable the macro.
A different example of the malicious Word document. Do not click 'Enable Content'.
Other Office documents such as Excel or PowerPoint may also be used.
Be suspicious of any messages you receive from unknown or untrusted sources. Do not click on links or attachments in a message unless you are completely confident about its content. You can always contact the original website or source yourself—independently of links in the message—to cross check its information.
The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone's circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.
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This information has been prepared by Enex TestLab for the Department of Communications ('the Department'). It was accurate and up to date at the time of publishing.
This information is general information only and is intended for use by private individuals and small to medium sized businesses. If you are concerned about a specific cyber security issue you should seek professional advice.
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