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The MS Excel Virus Search 1.2 Add-In

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Updated December 11, 1996

Click here to access we1280.exe

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Installing the Microsoft Excel Virus Search 1.2 Add-In
Laroux
Sofa
Frequently Asked Questions about the Microsoft Excel Virus Search 1.2 Add-In

Installing the Microsoft Excel Virus Search 1.2 Add-In

  1. Copy the Microsoft Excel Virus Search 1.2 Add-In files to your machine

  2. From Explorer double-click the WE1280.exe file

  3. Open the README.TXT and save the file into a known directory (e.g. C:\My Documents)

  4. Exit Microsoft Excel

    Copy the xlscan.xla to your Microsoft Excel Library folder:

    • For Microsoft Excel 95, download the file to the MSOffice\Excel\Library folder.

    • For Microsoft Excel version 5.x for Windows, download the file to the LIBRARY directory under the EXCEL directory.

  5. Follow the Installation Instructions in the README.TXT file to complete the process.

Note: The Microsoft® Excel Virus Search 1.2 Add-In is a tool that protects users against the ExcelMacro/Laroux and Laroux B macro viruses and will help identify other possible macro viruses, including Sofa.

Laroux

In July 1996, Microsoft learned that Microsoft Excel was the target of a non-destructive, non-harmful macro virus called ExcelMacro/Laroux. This macro does not harm data but does replicate. In November 1996, a variation of the virus called Laroux B was reported. Laroux is the only replicating macro virus ever discovered that affects Microsoft Excel. Laroux affects documents created in Microsoft Excel version 5.0 for Windows95 and Windows NT.

® 3.1, Microsoft Excel version 5.0 for Windows NT™, and Microsoft Excel version 7.x for Windows

Though Laroux does not harm data, Microsoft has moved quickly to develop a tool to address the problem. The Microsoft Excel Virus Search 1.2 Add-In tool developed by Microsoft will automatically detect and remove Laroux from infected Microsoft Excel workbooks when the user opens the infected file.

Even though Laroux is the only replicating macro virus ever discovered that affects Microsoft Excel, the Microsoft Excel Virus Search 1.2 Add-In does provide additional protection against possible infection by future macro viruses. When the user opens a Microsoft Excel document that contains any macros, the user is alerted to the potential risk of macro viruses. The user is given the choice of removing the macros from the file, opening the file as is, or opening the file without executing the Auto_Open macro, which is the macro most likely to be used in a macro virus.

Sofa

On December 9, 1996, Microsoft learned of a non-destructive macro virus called Sofa that affects Microsoft Excel. Infected files display the header "Microsofa Excel" instead of "Microsoft Excel." The virus does not harm Excel data in any way. Sofa has only appeared in one customer site, and Microsoft Product Support Services has not received any reports of the virus. Microsoft is ways to counter Sofa and other macro viruses and will make new information available through this web site. If you're using Microsoft Excel 5 or 95, you can install the Search 1.2 add-in utility to help detect viruses. Although this utility will not remove the Sofa virus, it will warn users of possible infection from macro viruses. Functionality from the add-in utility will be built in with Microsoft Excel 97, which will be released on January 16, 1997.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Microsoft Excel Virus Search 1.2 Add-In

Q: What is the Microsoft Excel Virus Search 1.2 Add-In?

A: The Add-in is a tool developed by Microsoft that will detect and remove the ExcelMacro/Laroux or Laroux B macro virus from users' systems. The Add-In also provides protection against possible infection by future macro viruses that may appear.

Q: What is different about version 1.2?

A: Version 1.2 of the Add-in was released on September 18, 1996. It is less intrusive and more robust in its ability to scan complex files. The core functionality has not changed.

Q: Does the tool remove Laroux B?

A: Yes. Laroux B is the same virus as Excel Macro/Laroux, with only a few differences.

Q: Does the tool remove Sofa?

A: No, it does not remove the virus but will detect it. Microsoft is working with the antivirus community to develop a solution that will remove the Sofa virus.

Q: Who should install the Add-In?

A: If you know you are infected with Laroux, you should install the Add-In. Users who frequently exchange Microsoft Excel files with others are at the highest risk for infection and should consider installing the Add-In. Laroux and Sofa are the only replicating macro viruses ever discovered that affect Microsoft Excel, and there have been very few reports of customers infected with either.

Q: What does the Microsoft Excel Virus Search 1.2 Add-In do?

A: The Add-In automatically detects macro viruses. It will also remove the ExcelMacro/Laroux or Laroux B macro virus when the user opens an infected workbook. In addition, it alerts the user to the presence of any macros in a workbook that are opened and gives the user the option to disable these macros; this helps users guard against infection by other macro viruses that may affect Microsoft Excel in the future. This Add-In does not protect against any other kind of virus except for Macro viruses in Microsoft Excel. It is not a replacement for existing anti-virus tools users might already use.

Q: Does the Add-In change my files?

A: The Add-In makes no changes to files without explicit user permission. The Add-In is capable of removing the ExcelMacro/Laroux or Laroux B virus from a spreadsheet if it is infected; removal does not affect data or any other element of the document. At the user's option, the Add-In can remove macros from a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. While this ensures that no macro viruses are present, it can change the way a spreadsheet operates. However, it will not affect the underlying data in the spreadsheet.

Q: How can I protect myself if I don't want to use this Add-In?

A: Users can manually remove the Laroux virus and can take steps to prevent infection by this or any other future macro viruses. Details are available in the Readme below and on www.microsoft.com. In addition, users can purchase anti-virus software from third party vendors to protect against this and other viruses.

Q: Will other version of the Add-In be released?

A: Microsoft will continue to evaluate customer needs and will revise the Add-In as necessary. Any revisions will be clearly marked in the version number and will be available on www.microsoft.com.

Q: Which versions of Microsoft Excel does the tool run on?

A: Microsoft Excel version 5.0 for Windows® 3.1, Microsoft Excel version 5.0 for Windows NT™, and Microsoft Excel version 7.x for Windows 95 and Windows NT. This functionality is built in to Microsoft Excel 97, which will be available in January, 1997.

Q: Where can I get the Macro Virus Protection tool?

A: The tool is available from the following sources:

  • The Microsoft World Wide Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/msoffice

  • Customers can also get the tool by calling Microsoft AnswerPoint Information Services: 206-635-7070 in the United States. Outside the Unite States, contact your local Microsoft office.

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