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  1. #1
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    Macro Viruses in Access (All)

    The organization I work for has just expanded the blocking of "executable" attachments coming across our SMTP gateway. Included in the list of newly blocked attachment extensions are the MS Access file types (ADE, ADP, MDB MDE). The other Office file types (DOC, XLS, PPT etc) are NOT being blocked (yet).

    Not being really up on my macro viruses, I did a search of some of the online Virus Information Libraries and found that of the known macro viruses, only approximately 2% are transmitted via MS Access. (2% are transmitted via PowerPoint, 1% via Visio, 23% via Excel, and 72% via Word according to what I found).

    Unfortunately my experience has not yet included the later versions (2K, XP) of Office products to any great extent so there may be virus vulnerabilities that I'm not aware of. However it does seem to me to be a bit strange that we are only blocking one of the Office products least likely to cause an infection.

    My questions are - Are there any major virus vulnerabilities in the later versions of Access that I don't know about? Has anybody else run into a similar situation? If so, is there a reason?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: Macro Viruses in Access (All)

    I haven't heard of any viruses be transmitted by Access. I reason, I suppose, is that it is not a convenient mechanism for transmitting viruses, primarily because not everyone has Access. After all, how many times have you gotten unsolicited Access databases? I've never gotten one, but I think I would probably be suspicous of any database I got, especially if it was named AnnaKournikova.mdb!
    Mark Liquorman
    See my website for Tips & Downloads and for my Liquorman Utilities.

  3. #3
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    Re: Macro Viruses in Access (All)

    <hr>especially if it was named AnnaKournikova.mdb!<hr>
    <img src=/S/rofl.gif border=0 alt=rofl width=15 height=15>
    But seriously folks, if I remember correctly there was threat of a macro virus in Acc'97 mdb files years ago, but it was rather benign. I really don't think there's anything to worry about. Virus clowns tend to attack the most vulnerable. There just isn't enough audience for an Access viral infection.

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    Re: Macro Viruses in Access (All)

    Echoing the others, I've not heard of any viruses spreading via Access since a very limited macro virus in Access 97. It would be a rather limiting vector to choose for writing a virus. To be blocking Access files and not Excel and Word, why, that's just wrong. Cuff your mail admin's about the head and neck a bit.

    Note: As talented admin's are an endangered species, neither Shane nor the folks at Woody's condone their abuse in any way, shape, or form. In fact, buy them a drink, and ask to see what's ended up in the Quarantine folders.
    <font face="Comic Sans MS"><font color=blue>~Shane</font color=blue></font face=comic>

  5. #5
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    Re: Macro Viruses in Access (All)

    Yes I think everything I've been able to find elsewhere agrees with what you guys are saying. There just aren't many Access viruses out there and the ones that are are not really "current". Nor are there any really glaring holes in Access XP that cause concern (at least regarding virus vulnerability <g>).

    Now I just need to convince our mail system administrators of that ...

    Thanks,

  6. #6
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    Re: Macro Viruses in Access (All)

    Over the years, I've encountered scads of infected Word docs and Excel spreadsheets, but nary an Access database with a virus. Access databases are definitely NOT executables, so present your administrator with the facts and tell them to get a decent antivirus with active protection and stop playing games. Of course, if you zip the attachment, it should go through anyhow.
    Charlotte

  7. #7
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Macro Viruses in Access (All)

    With this unanimous opinion, you have to wonder why MS chose to make those attachments inaccessible in the "security" patch?

    The reasoning is simple (simplistic): "The 'unsafe' category represents any extension that may have script or code associated with it." <A target="_blank" HREF=http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q262/6/31.ASP>Q262631</A> Apparently the likelihood of this being a problem was not a factor.

  8. #8
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    Re: Macro Viruses in Access (All)

    That may be true, but any application that hosts VBA, VB or VBS, let alone Java and JavaScript, are potential "carriers". It doesn't make sense to block the least likely vector and leave the others wide open.
    Charlotte

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    Re: Macro Viruses in Access (All)

    Just a thought. There are other nasties out there besides viruses - Trojan horses are much easier to set up since they don't replicate.

    Word, Excel, and Powerpoint warn you if there are macros embedded in a file you open (assuming you have the appropriate settings turned on). Access doesn't, for obvious reasons.

    If I can persuade a novice user to open a "nasty" Word document that I've e-mailed to him, he'll at least get a warning (again, assuming appropriate settings). Admittedly there is the issue of teaching the user what to do under those circumstances, but at least that's better than nothing.

    If I can persuade a user to open a "nasty" database, then all bets are off, since they will NOT get any warnings. It doesn't need to be a virus, just a trojan horse.

  10. #10
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    Re: Macro Viruses in Access (All)

    It's still a user education issue. Most users like to turn off the macro protection in Word and Excel to avoid those nagging messages. Fat lot of good they do then. <img src=/S/shrug.gif border=0 alt=shrug width=39 height=15>
    Charlotte

  11. #11
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    Re: Macro Viruses in Access (All)

    As an aside, Groupshield running on our Exchange 5.5 (SP4) box opens up zipped files, checks the contents, and takes appropriate actions. Imagine the evasive help desk calls when users couldn't mail zipped .mp3 files or executables! <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    Not something we'd want our users to know, but you simply have to change the extension to .txt and let the receiving party know what extension to change it back to. Not really on topic for this thread, or this forum for that matter, but I seem to have happy fingers this morning!
    <font face="Comic Sans MS"><font color=blue>~Shane</font color=blue></font face=comic>

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