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Malware Defense History

by Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov.

Copyright: Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov 1994-2013. Unpublished notes. Version 0.80.October, 2013

Contents : Foreword : Ch01 : Ch02 : Ch03  : Ch04 : Ch05 : Ch06 : Ch07 : Ch08 : Ch09 : Ch10 : Ch11 : Ch12 : Ch13

Chapter 5: Macro Viruses

Using F-macro


F-macro is currently one of the free tools for disinfection of documents infected with macro viruses. This freeware program is available from  in ZIP format and is updated biweekly. F-macro is a DOS program and that means that it has some limitations due to inability to see long names. But this is a minor problem. There was also Windows counterpart for this program called F-MACROW.EXE, but I am not sure if it still maintained. Both use the same MACRO.DEF file

To run the F-macro one needs 2 files to be present in the directory that is available via PATH: F-MACRO.EXE and signature file MACRO.DEF.

I generally prefer command-line tools and thus macro is a very useful tool for me despite all its shortcomings. I can say that GUI-based versions as often as bad as F-macro much more clumsy to use ;-)

How to obtain the latest version of F-MACRO

Let me stress it again. Success with F-macro much depends on whether you have latest version or not. So if you have macro virus problem, please download and use the latest version of F-macro. Never use old version because for new viruses it could produce strange or incorrect diagnostic messages or even corrupt files during disinfection. Again, please use the latest version available from

First download ZIP archive FMAC<.ZIP for example: FMAC208.ZIP.

Then copy it to the temporary directory (C:\TEMP) and unzip the file with PKUNZIP or similar utility, for example:


After that please copy files MACRO.EXE and MACRO.DEF to the C:\UTILS\FPROT directory if you have local version of AV package installed, or ask you LAN support person to copy these files to the Y:\DOS\UTILS\FPROT directory. In this case new version will be available in all users and all batch files, for example FMACRO.BAT (see below).

As of late 1998 F-macro is still a better detection tool for macro viruses that F-prot.exe. F-prot detects a lot of so called false positives.

False positives are files that AV program considers to be infected, but in reality they are not. Usually they just contain search string, that if the signature for the macro virus is pretty primitive that AV "believes" they it had found a virus, but in reality this is an error in its recognition engine. 

F-macro is a rather simple macro scanner/disinfector that is able to detect and in most cases correctly disinfect macro viruses. Disinfection capabilities are not impressive but adequate. For example if virus is slightly modified it will refuse to disinfect it automatically.  In cases f-macro has problems one often delete virus macros directly in MS Word (this is actually the most safe method to deal with a macro virus that has visible macros) or convert the document into RTF and back for disinfection. Current version does not provide options for deleting one or several macro with given names, so to certain extent it is weaker disinfection tool that MS Word Tools/Macro Delete button ;-)

F-macro is useful for disinfection of macro virus on the whole hard drive; it is quicker than scanning with MS Word and is more or less reliable (earlier versions sometimes were not able to scan the whole harddrive, aborting with code 4000, but such cases are now quite rare).

There are some problem with wildcard in F-macro and in current version its incorrectly work if you try specify pattern like *.RTF in the command line.

Again, old versions of F-macro could corrupt documents when disinfecting document from the new macro virus.


You can also type this command from the DOS prompt. FMACRO.BAT will call F-macro utility that will then scan user hard drive and disinfect all infected documents.

Fmacro <name of the directory or file>

For example:
    fmacro C:

Attention: In case user is using MS Word 6.0, after F-macro will disinfect files user need to install SCANPROT macro package (see below) and protect NORMAL.DOT template with attribute READ_ONLY.

If macro virus is only detected and cannot be disinfected with available version of F-macro, there is a possibility to remove macros anyway by using option /REMOVEALL(see below).

Option /REMOVEALL) gives the possibility to remove even unknown macro viruses, but basically it is equivalent to conversion to RTF, so the latter is much more safer and the way to go if the document does not contain pictures


That will remove macro in all macros from the document. So you better backup original copy of the file before disinfection.

Sometimes one needs to protect file in subdirectories from removing macros. In such cases one can use command


In this case F-macro will remove macros from all files in the current directory only (without subdirectories).

It should be stressed that option /REMOVEALL will removes all macro, not only virus macros. Usually this should not be a problem as most MS Word documents do not normally contain any macros. But if it is you can always restore original (infected) document from the backup (file with the same name as original, but extension .BAK)

If you have found virus on one drive please check other drives too

If virus was found and disinfected on one drive, for example C: drive, one need to check all other drives that contain documents, for example if you use network drive and it is mapped as Z than you need to check Z: drive.

Important: if user backup documents on removable media (floppy, ZIP-disks, etc.) he/she needs to scan all disks as well in order to eliminate possibility of reinfection from stored documents.



Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy


War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes


Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law


Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Haterís Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D

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