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In the area I live and work, viruses in outdated and pirated windows systems are absolutely rampant. (Moreso even than in the "normal" world). It's utter madness to plug in a USB drive anywhere. Almost 100% infection instant USB rate anywhere public.

Unforunately, I have to work with a lot of files with MS Office documents transferred by USB from students, which are generally equally as virus ridden. I know for a fact several of the Excel files I've gotten have contained VB macro viruses.

I have some concern about opening these even on a Linux machine, but it's unavoidable.

Is there any reason for concern that VB macro type viruses could infect a Linux machine using OpenOffice?

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Microsoft Office macros and OpenOffice macros are not compatible, you would need to rewrite a Microsoft Office macro for it to run in OpenOffice.

Also, macros in OpenOffice 3 are disabled by default.

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    Note that this doesn't mean you can't write OOffice Macros or that everyone has Macros disabled in Open/LibreOffice. But: it should be relatively possible for virus scanners to remove harmful macros from office documents completely. – Marcus Müller Mar 6 '17 at 17:06

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