Microsoft Office finally blocks dangerous macros

Microsoft slowly rolled out a security change for Office apps that would have blocked VBA macros in downloaded documents. The update was put on hold earlier this month, but it’s now available again.

BleepingComputer reports that Microsoft has resumed rolling out a long-awaited change to Microsoft Office that automatically blocks VBA macros in documents downloaded from the Internet. This feature had been put on hold in early July, due, according to Microsoft, to negative feedback. The company has now “made updates to both our end-user and admin documentation to make it clearer what options you have for different scenarios. »

MICROSOFT OFFICE DELAYS BLOCKING DANGEROUS DOWNLOADED MACROS

VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) macros, which are available on the Mac and Windows versions of Office (but not the mobile or web versions), date back to Office 97. They can be used to automate document editing and interface with the underlying operating system, as well as to send data between Office applications. The unrestricted nature of macros, coupled with the popularity of Office applications, has made them a popular choice for malware distribution. For example, a computer can be compromised if someone downloads a Word document and allows the macro to run when prompted.

After rolling out the new security feature, macros in downloaded documents will be automatically blocked in Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Visio and Access. Microsoft has previously said it will roll out this change to all currently supported versions of Office, including Office LTSC, Office 2021, Office 2019, Office 2016, and Office 2013.

There is no specific date for when this change will roll out to everyone, but it should happen soon. Microsoft also allows admins to change the behavior of their organizations, so if you’re using Office at work or school, the behavior might be different (or it might already block macros).

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