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SPAM Email alert – MS Office malware

Recently I have received a lot of SPAM emails purporting to be an invoice or remittance advice or similar from companies I have never heard of. All them have a Microsoft Office file attached (usually a Word or Excel document). They actually look quite legitimate but you need to be very wary of them.

Standard SPAM rules apply – DON’T OPEN THE ATTACHMENT !

Security company Bitdefender issued a warning at the end of January (2015) about such SPAM emails. Their examples they gave were apparently pretending to be tax returns or remittance from a bank.

The attached Office documents, should you have been unfortunate enough to open one, appear to be empty but in fact they contain pieces of code called “macros” which, if allowed to run on your PC, can bypass your anti-virus software, connect to a remote server and download malicious code onto your PC.

Typically the software it downloads is “ransomeware” which encrypts all the files on your PC so you can no longer access them and then demands that you pay to get the decryption key. This type of malware is almost impossible to recover from!

If you receive any such emails, delete them immediately.


Steve Wood owns and runs Scalar Enterprises based in Portsmouth in Hampshire. He offers a range of services including Web design, Internet marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) to small businesses and SMEs in Hampshire and the surrounding areas.

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