Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Application Security

Microsoft Restricts Excel 4.0 Macros by Default

Microsoft has announced improved security for the users of its flagship Office productivity suite, courtesy of Excel 4.0 (XLM) macros now being restricted by default.

Microsoft has announced improved security for the users of its flagship Office productivity suite, courtesy of Excel 4.0 (XLM) macros now being restricted by default.

Typically created for legitimate purposes, Microsoft Office macros have long been abused in malware attacks. If allowed to run, macros can be leveraged to execute code when an Office document is opened, without user interaction.

Half a decade ago, Microsoft announced that macros were blocked by default in Office 2016, to prevent the unwanted execution of malicious code.

Starting July last year, Microsoft has been providing administrators with the option to restrict the usage of Excel 4.0 (XLM) macros with a new setting in which these macros would be managed the same way as VBA macros.

Now, the company decided to restrict all Excel 4.0 (XLM) macros by default, and the setting has been turned on in the latest Excel version (Build 16.0.14427.10000).

Administrators looking to manage the behavior of XLM macros can head to the Excel Trust Center for that, where they need to modify the Group Policy setting “Macro Notification Settings” for Excel, Microsoft explained.

Furthermore, admins can deploy cloud policies with Office cloud policy service for policies in HKCU. These policies will apply to all users accessing files in Office apps while logged in with their AAD account, regardless of the device they use, the company said.

Redmond’s note said the Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM) can be used to deploy ADMX policies for both HKCU and HKLM policies (which are managed from the cloud in MEM).

Related: Researcher Details Sophisticated macOS Attack via Office Macros

Related: Microsoft Edge Adds Security Mode to Thwart Malware Attacks

Related: Microsoft Office Patch Bypassed for Malware Distribution in ‘Dry Run’

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

Click to comment

Expert Insights

Related Content

Application Security

Cycode, a startup that provides solutions for protecting software source code, emerged from stealth mode on Tuesday with $4.6 million in seed funding.

Cyberwarfare

Websites of German airports, administration bodies and banks were hit by DDoS attacks attributed to Russian hacker group Killnet

Network Security

NSA publishes guidance to help system administrators identify and mitigate cyber risks associated with transitioning to IPv6.

Nation-State

The North Korean APT tracked as TA444 is either moonlighting from its previous primary purpose, expanding its attack repertoire, or is being impersonated by...

Malware & Threats

Microsoft plans to improve the protection of Office users by blocking XLL add-ins from the internet.

Identity & Access

Hackers rarely hack in anymore. They log in using stolen, weak, default, or otherwise compromised credentials. That’s why it’s so critical to break the...

Cloud Security

VMware vRealize Log Insight vulnerability allows an unauthenticated attacker to take full control of a target system.

IoT Security

Lexmark warns of a remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability impacting over 120 printer models, for which PoC code has been published.