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Can .xls files have a virus in them?

Community Guru
David G Member Since: Oct 6, 2011
1 of 10

I received an invite to a job today that was a bit strange. It had the usual upwork message (I would like to invite you...) but there wasn't any description in the job post except for the words "redactor file".

 

I have no idea what this means but I accepted the invitation and told the person that I had no idea what the job was and if he sent me more information, I could figure out if the job was for me.

 

The client then sent me an .xls file titled price.xls but there were no other comments. It was a blank message with the file attached. 

 

I don't want to open the file since this client seems a bit strange but I was just wondering if it was an attempt to send a virus my way. Is there anyway to safely find out if the file has a virus?  The file is 215 kB in size if that information helps.

Community Guru
Christy A Member Since: Dec 30, 2015
2 of 10

I'd assume that since you can create macros in .xls, they could contain a virus.  I'd be really cautious.

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
3 of 10

Viruses attached to these files are in the macros. It's kinda funny that these "viruses" are making a comeback. This was popular in the 90s.

 

The macro then downloads backdoors and sometimes ransomware. That's really bad. By default, MS disables macros and you should leave it that way. When a macro is attached, it will ask you if you want to run macros and you should always say no.

 

A way to get around this if you really want to look at the file would be to view it from Google Drive. I haven't come across this yet but I'm thinking that I might make a rule for myself to start copying the file to G Drive and open it there. What a freakin pain.

Moderator
Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
4 of 10

Hi David,

 

Let me forward the invite you are referring to to our Security Team so they could check and take appropriate actions. 

~ Valeria
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Community Guru
David G Member Since: Oct 6, 2011
5 of 10

Thanks for the help.

 

I just have to contain my curiosity. The google drive thing sounds interesting but I think I'll just leave the whole thing alone--unless Valeria tells me that it's okay of course.

6 of 10

David G wrote:

Thanks for the help.

 

I just have to contain my curiosity. The google drive thing sounds interesting but I think I'll just leave the whole thing alone--unless Valeria tells me that it's okay of course.


A "client" sent me a invitation this week for technical writing with an excel file that should have included more info. I opened if and it contained a virus. I have send it to UW trust and safety who found out that is was probably a macro. I had to change my password and made an extra virus scanning. I am not sure if anything is OK now. Job and account have been deleted but could have been set up again. 

Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
7 of 10

Good call David, action was taken on the account and the job post removed. 

 

-Lena

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Community Guru
David G Member Since: Oct 6, 2011
8 of 10

Lena E wrote:

Good call David, action was taken on the account and the job post removed. 

 

-Lena



Thanks. I'm glad I didn't open the file.

 

Community Guru
Miroslav M Member Since: Jan 21, 2016
9 of 10

I wish I had a virus file which is disguised as an .xls or even better .docx

 

Something very malicious and brutal.

 

I would use it to distribute these to scammers via their beloved Skype as what they expect to be free work. Just because nothing else seems to help remove them from here.

Community Guru
Kathy T Member Since: Jul 17, 2015
10 of 10

If you have a anti virus program on your computer, you should set the security to scan for viruses In addition, you can set the security level (on the Developer tab) to notifiy you if there are macros attached to any Office Program.

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