Please don’t stop to smell the (mac)roses

Office files (Word documents, Excel workbooks, etc.) are not always what they seem. When delivered by email attachment, these files can often harbor small snippets of malicious code in the form of macros.

Using Office files containing these macros to spread malware is a tactic that is becoming more common by those wanting to corrupt our data and demand a ransom to fix it. To protect against this type of malware, the Office programs (Word, Excel, etc.) installed on your UNC Health Care computer are set to not run macros by default. However, there are legitimate business uses for macros, so the applications do make it possible to override this setting. The legitimate need for Office files in our day-to-day tasks makes it difficult to use technical controls to prevent the files from arriving in your email. As such, our co-workers are often the last line of defense in this battle. Given that macros are infrequently used these days, please exercise extreme caution when opening any Office file that displays a security warning regarding macros. If the document offers instructions for how to enable macros (such as either of the examples below) it is highly likely that the intent is malicious and no action should be taken to enable the macros. If you are uncertain regarding an Office file displaying a security warning, please contact the UNC Health Care Service Desk at 984-974-4357.

Filed under: