Cybersecurity News

Microsoft Disables Internet Macros in Office Apps by Default to Block Malware Attacks

Microsoft on Monday said it’s taking steps to disable Visual Basic for Applications macros by default across its products, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Visio, for documents downloaded from the web in an attempt to eliminate an entire class of attack vector.

“Bad actors send macros in Office files to end users who unknowingly enable them, malicious payloads are delivered, and the impact can be severe including malware, compromised identity, data loss, and remote access,” Kellie Eickmeyer said in a post announcing the move.

While the company does warn users about permitting macros in Office files, unsuspecting users – e.g., recipients of phishing emails – can still be lured into enabling the feature, effectively granting the attackers the ability to gain an initial foothold into the system.

As part of the new change, when a user opens an attachment or downloads from the internet an untrusted Office file containing macros, the app displays a security risk banner stating, “Microsoft has blocked macros from running because the source of the file is untrusted.”

“If a downloaded file from the internet wants you to allow macros, and you’re not certain what those macros do, you should probably just delete that file,” Microsoft cautions, outlining the security risk of bad actors using macros.

The updates are expected to be applied to Microsoft 365 users in April 2022, with plans to backport the feature to Office LTSC, Office 2021, Office 2019, Office 2016, and Office 2013 at a “Future date.”

Stay on Top of Cyber Threats!
Subscribe to our monthly bulletin to stay updated on major cybersecurity risks.

Recent Cybersecurity News

Tell us about your needs.
Get an answer the same business day.

Tell us about your needs.
Get an answer the same business day.

Got an urgent request? Call us at 1-877-805-7475 or Book a meeting.

What happens next:

  • We reach out to learn about your objectives
  • We work together to define your project's scope
  • You get an all-inclusive, no engagement proposal

No engagement. We answer within 24h.
Scroll to Top

BOOK A MEETING WITH AN EXPERT

Enter Your Corporate Email