In Command Newsletter Summer/96, Page 5
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Tech Tips

Keeping Your Software Current

This month�s feature is especially appropriate, since CSS is on a quarterly release schedule. Regular updates to F-PROT Professional are posted to our BBS and FTP sites. Additional utilities, shareware and document files are also available to the registered user.

Instructions on How to Download F-PROT Professional are available on this site.

Stop the Spread of Macro Viruses

Concerned about the new macro virus epidemic? Here�s another way to avoid inadvertently spreading macro viruses through document transfer. Besides having a strong, reliable anti-virus product scan your documents, also consider sending e-mail attachments or saving documents in Rich-Text Format (RTF) instead of in Word .DOC-format. RTF will preserve the layout of your document, but macros (and macro viruses) are not transferred through it! This way, you are assured a safe transfer of files which can also be read in many other word processors.

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New Virus: ExcelMacro.Laroux

First reported to Command�s virus research laboratory, the ExcelMacro.Laroux virus was found to replicate in the Microsoft Excel environment via the powerful Visual Basic for Applications macro language. This distinguishes it from WordMacro.Concept, which uses Microsoft Word Basic macros to spread in the Microsoft Word environment. The virus is easily identified by F-PROT Professional, Command�s award-winning anti-virus product.

ExcelMacro.Laroux is a macro virus which affects Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets under Excel 5.0 or later. It does not appear to replicate on the Macintosh or under Microsoft Word. It consists of two macros, auto_open and check_files. The auto_open macro executes whenever an infected Spreadsheet is opened, followed by the check_files macro which determines the start-up path of Excel.

The second macro then performs an infection check and, if there is no file named PERSONAL.XLS in the startup path, the virus creates one. This file contains a module called "laroux". [Note: PERSONAL.XLS is the default macro-record filename under Excel 7.0.] The virus then determines the number of modules in the current workbook. If certain conditions exist, the virus will replicate. Replication is facilitated by an OnEvent procedure within Excel, specifically OnSheetActivate. Macros are copied to the target by adding a new module, which consists of one sheet titled "laroux".

For more information on this virus and how F-PROT Professional is able to detect ExcelMacro.Laroux, please visit the Command Software virus pages.

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