'Your Company's Debit' Excel Macro Malware
According to this email, your company has a debit of $35,000. Supposedly, the unidentified sender has 'made all the necessary calculations' and included the information in an attached Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
The email asks that the payment be processed as soon as possible.
However, the email is not a legitimate payment request. Instead, it is an attempt to trick you into infecting your computer with malware.
Because the attachment is a seemingly innocent Excel (.xls) file, at least a few recipients may open it without realising the risk. If you do open the attachment, you will receive a message claiming that you need to enable macros before the contents of the file can be viewed correctly.
But, enabling macros as requested will allow a malicious macro to run. The macro can download and install other malware components. The exact nature of this malware may vary depending on the goals of the criminals distributing it. But, typically, such malware can steal information such as banking passwords, download even more malware, and allow the criminals to use the infected computer for there own purposes.
Details, such as the subject line, the attachment name, and the amount of money supposedly owed may vary in different versions of the malware emails.
Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the term 'macro' in a computing context? A macro is a set of instructions that can act as a single command in order to automatically accomplish a task. Macros can save time by making repetitive tasks easier to carry out. Microsoft Office programs and other types of software allow you to create your own macros as required to aid your workflow.
However, macros can also be used maliciously. In times gone by, macro virus threats were common. However, later versions of Microsoft Office disabled macros by default thereby lessening the threat posed by macro viruses.
But, in recent months criminals have returned to the tactic. Users tend to trust Microsoft Office files such as Excel or Word documents and may therefore open them without due caution and enable macros when requested.
Unless you have a specific need for macros, it is best to leave them disabled. Be cautious of any message that claims that you must enable macros to view a document.
Subject: RE: debit
I made all the necessary calculations and your company's debit is $35,000.
You can find everything in the attached sheet.
We need the payment processed as soon as possible.
Attachment name: debit_calculations.xls
Last updated: July 15, 2015
First published: July 15, 2015
By Brett M. Christensen
Macro Virus Threat Returns - Beware Emails With Malicious Word Attachments