A CYBERSECURITY firm has flagged false Microsoft Office documents as carriers of malware.
Users with outdated versions of Microsoft Office are most at risk.
Microsoft Office is used by over a billion people worldwide.
Netskope, the cybersecurity specialists, published a blog detailing almost 1,000 malicious Excel files spread during just a 12-day window in June.
The bad sheets are spread by phishing emails.
The dodgy excel documents will come as an attachment in a phishing email modeled after a payment service.
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The code is meant to power a malware program called Emotet.
Emotet is designed to be a “macro-enabled” malware that slips into a system unnoticed to steal banking and financial information, according to Malware Bytes.
Macros are algorithms written into Excel cells that can communicate with other parts of a user’s neural network.
In Excel, the script for the malicious code is buried in distant cells that the user would not come across by chance.
TechRadar reported that Microsoft recently altered Excel’s default settings to prevent hackers from running tasks without being cleared by the user.
That’s why users with outdated software are still at risk.
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The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) says the Emotet encounters cost governments up to one million dollars to mediate.
“Emotet continues to be among the most costly and destructive malware affecting state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments, and the private and public sectors,” CISA wrote in a post from 2018.
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No person is immune to a phishing email landing in their inbox – political operatives have fallen into phishing traps with disastrous consequences.
Do not open files in your inbox unless you are certain of the sender.