Microsoft institute new security policies for activating Office macros

In February, Microsoft announced an upcoming change for Office 365. Designed to improve the security processes around activating macros in Office 365 applications, the change adds a warning message and mandatory confirmation check before the macro is successfully activated.

The change applies to Microsoft Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio and Word, with the update being pushed to Office 365 first. The update will launch in April, starting with preview version 2203. Later, it will also be applied to Office 2021, 2019, 2016, and 2013, as well as Office LTSC, but no date for this rollout has been announced yet.

If you are a user who relies on a variety of macros for Office, this change will only slightly alter your user experience. The warnings won’t apply retroactively to your existing macros. You will only receive warnings when you attempt to activate new macros.

Why has this change been made?

As Microsoft’s vast investment in cyber security solutions and research has continued, they have identified that Office files, especially macros, are common vectors for malware to infect devices.

To protect users, they’ve put these changes in place to educate users about risky macros. Highlighting this, the new messages include a checklist of typical social engineering questions to see whether or not the macro may have been sourced from an illicit location.

From a business perspective, this can help organisations in their fight against cybercriminals. Macros were a relatively easy way for hackers to gain access to systems, leading to data breaches and other forms of cyber-attack. By educating employees and users on social engineering tactics, this reduces the likelihood of a related breach.

Interested in adopting Office 365 or improving your current solution? Get in touch with us today. Our Microsoft experts will be happy to talk you through our Office 365 services and answer any questions you might have.

If you would like to chat about your Businesses needs, get in touch with our IT experts.

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