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What Is a Macro Virus & How Dangerous Is It? [Full Guide]

Colin Thierry Colin Thierry
Published on: November 21, 2022

Here’s the best way to protect yourself against a macro virus:

  • Install trusted antivirus software. My top pick is Norton, which offers excellent protection against malware, including macro viruses. In addition to perfect malware detection, Norton has great real-time protection and web protection so that you can stay safe against all cybersecurity threats.

A macro virus is a type of virus that’s written in the same macro programming language that’s rooted inside software applications on your device. Macro viruses can impact your device’s performance by causing slowdowns, crashing programs, creating new files, and sending infected emails to your contacts without you knowing.

The best way to prevent or remove a macro virus is by downloading a top antivirus program like Norton. Once installed, the program will protect your device from macro viruses, and if your device falls victim to a macro virus, the antivirus will remove any traces of the virus and other malware files. I tested all of the popular antiviruses on the market in 2022 to find the best ones for preventing and removing macro viruses. My top 4 choices were all successful.

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What Is a Macro Virus & How Can It Affect Your System?

A macro virus is a type of virus written in macro, which is a programming language that’s also used for common software applications like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. This virus adds its code to the macros rooted in word processing programs, spreadsheets, and other data files before causing damage to a device.

Macro viruses are able to infect all major operating systems, including Android, iOS, Windows, and even macOS. After infecting a device, a macro virus can impact your device’s performance by causing slowdowns, crashing programs, and creating new files. More advanced symptoms include missing or corrupted data and having infected emails unknowingly sent to your contacts.

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How Do Macro Viruses Get Onto Your Device?

Macro viruses most commonly get onto your device when you open an infected email attachment or click a malicious download link. Macro viruses spread via phishing emails, download links in banner ads and URLs, file-sharing networks, and removable disk drives. Once you open it, a file embedded with a macro virus can infect other files and software programs like Microsoft Office.

Many phishing emails look like they come from a credible source, so you might open them without suspicion. In fact, macro viruses often spread by accessing the original recipient’s contact list, so the infected email could also come from someone you know. After you download the attachment onto your phone or computer, the virus will embed itself into every other document on your device and use your address book to send an infected email to your contacts.

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How Do You Know If You Have a Macro Virus On Your Computer or Smartphone?

Macro viruses can be very difficult to detect. They don’t start working until after you open an infected document, and they use automated sequences to work silently in the background of your software applications and files. Similar to a Trojan virus, a macro virus may not appear harmful, which means you might not notice any impact on your devices at first. However, unlike Trojans, macro viruses can replicate themselves and also infect other computers.

That said, there are still some signs you can look for which indicate that your phone or computer may be infected by a macro virus. These signs include:

  • Your device is running slower than normal.
  • Your device is asking you for a password on a file that normally doesn’t need one.
  • Your device is saving documents as “template” files.
  • Your device is displaying strange error messages.

The best way to check for a macro virus on your device is by downloading antivirus software. Antiviruses use heuristic scanning and analysis to find and alert you to any malware on your phone or computer before removing it. Along with virus scanning, many antiviruses come with extra internet security features like a firewall, phishing protections, a password manager, and more to keep you protected from future infections.

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How to Remove a Macro Virus From Your Device (& How to Prevent Them)

The easiest way to remove a macro virus from your phone or computer is by downloading a top antivirus program. A premium antivirus can run a full system scan and detect and remove all instances of the macro virus and any other malicious files from your device.

In addition to virus scanning, a top antivirus program can prevent future attacks. Premium antiviruses offer malware prevention through features like real-time protections and malicious site protection — they block you from accessing malicious websites and prevent you from downloading infected files or attachment.

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How to Remove a Macro Virus from a Windows Computer

  1. Download a top antivirus for Windows. I recommend Norton because it offers perfect malware detection and a wide variety of extra internet security features.
  2. Sign into the desktop app. After following the installation wizard’s instructions, sign into the desktop app using your account credentials.
  3. Scan the device. Click Scan Device to run a full system scan of your Windows computer.
  4. Remove the virus. After completing the security scan, allow the antivirus to remove all traces of the macro virus and any other malware from your device.
  5. Prevent future attacks. Turn on real-time protections and web protection so the antivirus can protect your Windows computer from future cybersecurity threats.

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How to Remove a Macro Virus from a Mac Computer

  1. Download a top antivirus for Mac. Intego, our top-rated antivirus for Mac in 2022, is my favorite because of its flawless malware detection rates and blazing-fast malware scanner.
  2. Sign into your account. After installing, use your login credentials to sign into the desktop app.
  3. Scan the device. Click Scan Device to allow the antivirus to run a full system scan of your Mac computer.
  4. Remove malware. Once the security scan is complete, let the antivirus remove the macro virus infection and any other related files from your device.
  5. Stay protected. Turn on real-time scanning and web protections in order to keep your Mac device protected from any further infections.

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How to Remove a Macro Virus from Mobile Devices

  1. Download a top antivirus for mobile. Go to the Google Play store or Apple store and download a premium mobile antivirus. I personally recommend Norton — it has 100% malware detection, anti-phishing protections, and scam SMS message filtering.
  2. Sign into the mobile app. After downloading the antivirus app onto your mobile device, sign in using your login credentials.
  3. Scan device. Tap Scan Device, which allows the antivirus to run a security scan of your Android or iOS device.
  4. Remove macro virus infection. Allow the antivirus to remove the macro virus and other malicious files from your phone.
  5. Keep yourself protected. Turn on real-time protections and web protection to keep your Android or iOS device safe from future attacks.

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What Should You Do Once You’ve Removed a Macro Virus?

After removing a macro virus from your device, it’s important that you take additional action in order to stay protected against future cyberattacks. This includes:

  • Installing updates. It’s important to install any available updates to your computer security system in order to stay protected against new cyberthreats. You should also make sure to update your operating system regularly to ensure the best protection. For example, if your computer has Windows 8, you should update to Windows 10 when prompted.
  • Using digital signatures. Digital signatures are a type of electronic signature that encrypts documents with digital codes. They’re also good for identifying download sources, which can help ensure the files you’re running on your device aren’t malicious.
  • Choosing high-quality antivirus software. It’s recommended that you download a premium antivirus in order to give your device a thorough security scan and protect it against cybersecurity threats. Along with malware scanning, a top antivirus will be able to protect your device against future infections through features like real-time protections, including anti-phishing protections, and web protection. I personally recommend Norton due to its perfect malware detection, excellent web protections, wide variety of extra internet security tools, and affordable prices.
  • Keeping your email protected. You can eliminate common macro virus vectors (like email attachments) by using antivirus software to scan your email. It’s also recommended to use your email’s spam filter and to never open any unsolicited emails or attachments.

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Best Antivirus Software for Removing Macro Viruses in 2022

🥇1. Norton 360 — Best for Removing Macro Viruses in 2022

Best Antivirus Software for Removing Macro Viruses in 2022

Norton 360 is my favorite antivirus for removing macro viruses in 2022 — it has flawless malware detection, a lightning-fast malware scanner, and a wide range of extra internet security features that specifically target malware like a macro virus.

Norton uses a unique scanning engine powered by heuristic analysis, advanced machine learning, and a massive malware database to scan, find, and remove all types of malware from your device, including macro viruses. In my tests, Norton successfully detected and removed 100% of the malware files that I had on my Windows PC.

Norton also comes with a wide variety of additional internet security features — all of which are reliable and easy to use. These include:

  • Secure firewall.
  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • VPN (with unlimited data).
  • Password manager.
  • Parental controls.
  • Webcam protections (for PC).
  • Ransomware protection.
  • And much more…

Norton has excellent web protections. I really like its Safe Web browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. In my tests, Safe Web flagged all of the phishing sites I tried to access, alerting me that the web page I tried to visit was unsafe — these are the types of sites that may infect your computer with a macro virus.

Norton’s also has a very strong firewall that uses machine learning to automatically detect any unusual network activity. In my testing, Norton’s firewall was able to block any exploit attack on my Windows computer. I also really like how Norton has its own built-in firewall. Most competing antiviruses, in comparison, only offer customization features for the built-in Windows firewall.

Norton provides a good value. Norton 360 Deluxe provides the best value by covering up to 5 devices for $29.99 / year. For users on a tighter budget, Norton 360 Antivirus Plus offers protection for 1 PC or Mac for $9.99 / year. Norton backs all of its plans with a 60-day money-back guarantee.

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Read the full Norton review

🥈2. Bitdefender Total Security — Best for Anti-Phishing Protection

Best Antivirus Software for Removing Macro Viruses in 2022

Bitdefender Total Security has a very advanced malware engine that uses a massive malware database, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to detect and remove macro viruses and other malware from your device — with a 100% success rate.

In my tests, Bitdefender was able to find and remove every malicious file from my Windows PC’s system. I really like how Bitdefender’s malware scanning engine is cloud-based so it doesn’t impact the speed or performance of your computer while scanning. While scanning for malware on my Windows and Mac laptops, Bitdefender didn’t cause any impact to their systems, even during full-disk scans — though it took a little longer to complete than Norton.

Along with a malware scanner, Bitdefender offers a wide range of extra internet security features, including:

  • Web protections.
  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • System optimizer
  • VPN (200 MB/daily).
  • Parental controls.
  • Password manager.
  • Webcam protection.
  • Ransomware protection.
  • And more…

Bitdefender offers top-notch real-time protection. I’m a big fan of Bitdefender Shield, which checks all of your files and email attachments for malware. You can also enable Bitdefender to monitor your apps, scripts, and archives.

Bitdefender also has a really good anti-phishing tool. It uses a database of millions of malicious sites to check and block access to any phishing sites that you visit with perfect accuracy. In my tests, Bitdefender was able to successfully detect and block all of the malicious sites that I tried to access online (better than Chrome and Firefox’s anti-phishing protections).

Priced at $28.50 / year, Bitdefender Total Security is the best-value plan and offers up to 5 licenses for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Bitdefender Premium Security costs $59.99 / year, which is a bit expensive, but it comes with all of Bitdefender’s features and adds a VPN (with unlimited browsing data). Bitdefender Antivirus Plus ($17.99 / year) is the introductory package and has most of Bitdefender’s premium features, but it’s only offered for Windows. All of Bitdefender’s packages come backed with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Read the full Bitdefender review

🥉3. McAfee Total Protection — Best for Mobile Web Protections

Best Antivirus Software for Removing Macro Viruses in 2022

McAfee Total Protection has an excellent anti-malware engine powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning that’s able to detect and remove macro viruses and other malicious files from your system at a perfect rate.

During testing, McAfee was able to successfully detect and remove every malicious file from my Windows PC. However, unlike Norton and Bitdefender, I didn’t like how its system scan slowed down the speed of my computer, especially while gaming.

That said, McAfee still has a wide variety of internet security features, like:

  • Firewall.
  • Wi-Fi protection.
  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • System tune-up tools.
  • VPN.
  • Password manager.
  • Permanent file deletion.
  • Identity theft protection.

McAfee has strong anti-phishing and Wi-Fi protections. The anti-phishing tool successfully identified and blocked most of the risky sites that I tried to access, which is much better than Chrome and Firefox’s built-in protections. The Wi-Fi protection has an easy-to-read map of all devices on your home Wi-Fi network, which allows you to block access to threat actors.

I also really like McAfee’s mobile protections. On its app for Android and iOS, McAfee offers useful internet security features like real-time scanning and web protections to help stop your phone or tablet from getting infected with a macro virus. For this reason, it’s one of the best and most intuitive mobiles apps out there in 2022, especially for Android devices.

McAfee’s Plus Plan is priced at $39.99 / year and allows coverage for up to 5 devices, while the Premium family package, costing $59.99 / year, adds parental controls and coverage for an unlimited number of devices. McAfee backs each of its plans with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Bonus. Intego — Best for Mac Users

Best Antivirus Software for Removing Macro Viruses in 2022

Intego is the #1 antivirus on the market for macOS devices in 2022. It has perfect malware detection and comes with a wide-range of Mac-focused internet security features to help detect and remove macro viruses and other malware.

In my tests, Intego’s antivirus engine was able to detect and remove all of the malware files on my Mac laptop. I also really like how fast Intego’s malware scans are, as it’s able to scan over 800,000 files in less than 2 hours. Like Norton, it uses a file caching system that ignores already-scanned files, so scans only took me a few minutes.

Intego also offers:

  • Smart firewall.
  • Real-time malware protection.
  • Mac optimization and cleaning tools.
  • Advanced Mac backup options.
  • Network security options.
  • Parental controls.

I really like Intego’s VirusBarrier dashboard. In addition to the malware scanner, VirusBarrier offers real-time scanning protection and a Safe Browsing tool. The real-time scanning option constantly checks for any malware, including macro viruses, in files or attachments (it can even check emails for viruses if you’re using Apple’s mail app). The Safe Browsing tool conveniently makes sure your browser’s anti-phishing protection is enabled — this is good, but I’d rather see Intego integrate built-in anti-phishing tools like the other antiviruses on this list.

The Mac Premium Bundle X9 package is the best-valued security suite Intego offers, and it has all of Intego’s features for $29.99 / year. Costing $19.99 / year, Intego’s Mac Internet Security X9 plan only offers real-time malware protection and a firewall. Intego also offers a Windows package called Antivirus for Windows for $19.99 / year, but it only comes with a simple virus scanner. Each of Intego’s packages are backed with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Read the full Intego review

How do macro viruses work?

Macro viruses work by inserting malicious code into files like spreadsheets and word documents. They’re written in macro, the same programming language that’s embedded inside software applications like Microsoft Office. Macro viruses can spread via attachments in spam emails, phishing links, file sharing networks, or disk drives.

A macro virus can impact your device’s performance by causing slowdowns, crashing programs, and forcing the blue screen error, and it can even send malicious emails to your contacts without your permission.

The best and easiest way to prevent a macro virus from infecting your PC or remove a macro virus from your device is by downloading a top antivirus like Norton — it has flawless malware detection, offers real-time web protection for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices, and comes with useful extra internet security features like a firewall, parental controls, ransomware protection, and a password manager.

Can Macs get a macro virus?

Yes, even Mac devices can get a macro virus. Macro viruses are cross-platform, which means they can infect both Windows and Mac devices with the same code. Any program that uses macros can host the virus, and any copy of an infected program will contain it.

Intego is my favorite antivirus for Mac in 2022 — it has perfect malware detection, provides fast malware scanning, and offers a wide range of Mac-focused cybersecurity and optimization features including a Mac system optimizer, advanced Mac backup options, and a smart firewall.

What are the risks of macro viruses?

The main risk of macro viruses is how quickly they are able to spread. After opening an infected document, all of the other documents on your device can also become infected. Once on your phone or computer, macro viruses can move text, create new files, send files, format hard drives, and insert photos. Some can even access your email account and send infected files to each of your contacts, while others are designed to erase or compromise data stored on your device.

I personally recommend Norton as my favorite antivirus for removing macro viruses in 2022. It has a perfect malware detection rate, a blazing-fast malware scanner, real-time web protection for all major platforms, and key extras like dark web monitoring, webcam protection, parental controls, and a built-in firewall.

What is the best way to get rid of a macro virus?

The best way to eliminate a macro virus on your device is by downloading premium antivirus software. A top antivirus will be able to scan for a macro virus and remove it and any other malware from your phone or computer. After removing a macro virus, it’s important to ensure that you have real-time protections and web protection switched on to stay protected against future cybersecurity threats.

My personal favorite antivirus for removing a macro virus in 2022 is Norton — it has a 100% malware detection rate, lightning-fast scanning speeds, and a wide range of extra internet security features including anti-phishing protection, dark web monitoring, parental controls, a password manager, and a VPN (with unlimited data).

Best Antiviruses For Removing Macro Viruses — Final Score:

Rank
Overall Score
Best Deal
1
9.6
save 72%
2
9.6
save 70%
3
9.4
save 64%
About the Author
Colin Thierry
Colin Thierry
Cybersecurity researcher and journalist
Published on: November 21, 2022

About the Author

Colin Thierry is a cybersecurity researcher and journalist who has written a wide variety of content for the web over the past 2 years. In his free time, he enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling, watching sports, and playing video games.